Monday, May 25, 2015

Partido Alto practice loop and basic grooves

Another practice loop, sampled from the tune Partido Alto, from the Azymuth album Light As A Feather. Ivan Conti is on drums. As I mentioned before, Partido Alto is the name of a Brazilian rhythm, a songstyle or genre of samba using standard instruments, a tune title (more than one, I'm sure), and a fusion-like drum groove. It probably refers to some other things, too— my factual knowledge of Brazilian music is not that deep. In this case, we're dealing with the 70s fusion tune, the drum groove, and the rhythm.

I'll say it is one of the great rhythms in music, which doesn't get the same attention from north American drummers as does clave, its Caribbean relative. Clave has a built-in resolution, so it's almost like a repeating “shave-and-haircut” ending— I was embarrassed to relate clave to something so hokey, but apparently the similarity has not gone unnoticed by actual serious Cuban music people. That's where its power comes from. But Brazilian music is nothing if not about forward motion, and, especially, continuation, and the Partido Alto rhythm does not have that built-in stop, and keeps skipping ahead, forever. Come to think of it, despite its similarity to clave, the Bossa rhythm (so-called “Brazilian clave” or “Bossa clave”) is the same way.

Anyway, here's the loop:




Here's the basic rhythm as it occurs in this tune; it's easy to get lost at first, so it may help to note that (in this case) there are 4 notes on the downbeats, and three on the upbeats. The half notes are just for reference, but you can play them along with the rhythm to help keep track of the downbeats.




Also try this variation, with a couple of notes added:




Also see this page for some insight on the construction of the rhythm generally.

After the break are some basic things you can play on the drums:




Get the pdf to print out these grooves. Also see my transcription of Airto playing this tune for more ideas, and context. You can also practice other samba rhythms with the standard bass drum rhythm along with the loop; just listen to how the they fit— you may need to reverse the measures of the samba rhythms to make them work together.

Here's a basic form of the groove played on the drums:




The same drum part with 8th notes on the hihat:




On this version of the tune, and Airto's, there are some open hihats:




With some extra cymbal notes:



Another 8th note groove, with those extra notes played on the drums:




Whether or not you're going to play a lot of Brazilian music, getting a feel for this rhythm introduces another way of phrasing into your playing, which will influence how you play all kinds of music. Certainly it will change the way you feel about the barline.

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