Sunday, May 29, 2016

EZ Reed interpretation: triplet lick

Here's an easy practice method for use with Ted Reed's Syncopation, developing a triplet lick. What I like about these things is they're finite. You do the fifteen lines, plus the long exercise, and you're done. You've given yourself a good workout with whatever one little lick you're learning.

Today we're using the rarely-used triplets-and-quarter notes portion of the book— pp. 14-15. We're going to revoice the melody rhythm (the top/stems-up part from the book, ignoring the stems-down part) between the snare and bass drum, and add a basic part on the cymbal and hihat. For starters, we'll play the first two notes of the triplet on the snare drum with the left hand, the last note of the triplet and the quarter notes on the bass drum. So for this exercise from the book:

The rhythm would be voiced:

Or play just the first quarter note after the triplet on the bass drum, and all of the other quarters on the snare:

Or you could just do all of the quarter notes on the snare, too. It becomes a slightly different lick in that case:

Or mix the quarter notes up freely. Do what you want— these are just options. This fun little workout quickly becomes quite tedious if you decide to be a pill about running every single possibility.

We'll want to add quarter notes on the cymbal:

Add hihat on 2 and 4 to make a jazz-like feel:

In which case you may want to go ahead and play a complete jazz cymbal rhythm— swing the 8th notes here:

If the incessant quarter notes get to be a drag, you can just play the triplet(s) plus the quarter note right after it/them, eliminating the other quarter notes:

In real playing, beware of too many licks ending strongly on the beat, especially on beat 1. Follow the usual dynamic guidelines for jazz— balance everything with the cymbal voice; play the snare drum softly (unless you choose to add some accents) and go easy on the bass drum, especially on the quarter notes.

Playing the hihat on the 1 and 3, is more funk-like, emphasizing a cut-time feel:

In that case, you'll really be thinking of these licks as 16th note triplets and 8th notes. Be aware of how they translate:

You also have the option of playing the triplets RLB— you'll have to come off of the cymbal to do that, of course. Feel free to move that onto the toms as well.

Terry Bozzio does that a few measures into the “yowza” interlude on Dancin' Fool, by the way— RLBB with no cymbal on the end. He's got two bass drums, but it doesn't matter...

When you're doing it that way, it's easy enough to fill out the triplets for the rest of the measure, with your left hand:

There you are. Pick 1-3 ways above that make sense to you, and get to smoking through lines 1-15 plus the 16 bar exercise from pp. 14-15 of Syncopation. This is a pretty easy lick you should be able to play blazing fast with a little practice.

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