UPDATE: I made a couple of small changes which I found helpful in practicing the patterns— in the first set of exercises there are some optional notes in parentheses, and I've changed line 6. I've also posted the practice loop. Get the new pdf here.
People, we've got a series going here— several pages aimed at getting basic vocabulary together for an up tempo 7/8— specifically, Solitaire, from John Zorn's album O'o. It's not usually that challenging an odd meter, but this tempo makes it not-easy in a couple of ways. Don't take this attention we're lavishing upon it to mean that I think this is a really important subject; but if you're playing a lot of modern music, someone's probably going to hit you with a fast 7/8, sometime. Maybe. Today we're looking at staying oriented playing the super-useful, super-familiar 3/8 pattern RLF:
The goal here is just to be able to improvise with this 3/8 pattern in 7/8 without getting lost— it won't be a technical challenge; everyone can play RLF at the speed required. You really need a point of reference, so it's best to play this page along with the practice loop, or with a metronome that can give you a dotted-quarter/quarter/quarter note rhythm.
The method here is very straightforward— just repeat each pattern many times, listening closely to the loop/click. You can your hands around the drums as you like. Also play these with the measures reversed, as well— it's easy to feel the two measures of 7/8 as one measure of 7/4, with a riff of 1-2-3--&-&-&--, which obviously can put the second measure on slightly odd footing.
Get the pdf