Thursday, September 29, 2016


The most irritating stock photo I
could find to accompany this post.
By the way, I want to give a shout out to some people who have donated to the blog since August— Peter, Benoit, and Antonio—and people bought my books lately, and Rachael, who did a Skype lesson: thanks, everyone!

Anyone else tempted to show your appreciation with a cash donation, please do. Like, if everyone who thought about donating $5-20, but never followed through, actually went ahead and donated— hey, that'd equal some substantial support.

So go ahead and do it. Help us continue.

Very occasional quote of the day: it's an instrument

“You don't beat the drums— you play them.”
- Kenny Clarke

Thanks to Scott K. Fish for the quote— be sure to follow his excellent blog Life Behind The Cymbals.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Basic funk ideas: four iterations - 03

Another page of this modern funk method— we're going to need a better name for this thing, as we're getting well beyond basic. This is turning into quite an epic. Normally, working on fairly demanding materials, I like to practice a full page at a time— working through a full page of stuff pretty thoroughly in 15-30 minutes of practicing. With this we're now looking at about 15-30 minutes per numbered row of exercises— doing all the combinations, using all three pages. So you could take nine days to get through the whole thing; it is a solid method and I think it is worth that level of commitment— I encourage you to actually do that.

The method, again: After getting basically familiar with the patterns by playing them several times individually, begin combining patterns as follows, playing each lettered pattern 4x, 2x, and 1x:

AB, AC AD... BC, BD... CD...

Do that across all the pages, so you'll be combining all patterns from the same numbered row on all three pages. Not a small assignment. It wouldn't be a bad idea to play through each page by the vertical column, just playing the patterns 4x each. No need to do combinations when working that way.

Our relation to the original patterns is getting slightly less obvious, so here's what's going on: Column A is a groove with a baiao-style hihat rhythm; column B has the cymbal in unison with the bass drum on beat 1, in unison with the snare drum on beat 2; column C has open hihat on single bass drum notes, and on the second bass drum note of any doubles; column D is alternating sixtuplets, playing cymbal accents in unison with the bass drum— this will be harder to do at faster tempos, so I would cut that from the routine rather than let it prevent me from doing the system fast.

Get the pdf

Friday, September 23, 2016

Negotiating for prostitutes

Not to hire one, to be one— good not to have too many illusions about our economic place in society, as musicians. From the Quartz web site, an excellent piece on business negotiation as practiced in one of Nevada's legal brothels, from which musicians can learn a lot. If you've ever led a commercial band, or tried to book a tour, you'll recognize many of these situations immediately, and hopefully see what you're doing wrong, and what you can improve on in the future. There are also some good angles to think about in structuring your teaching business. Do go read the entire piece.

1. Establish a connection. The negotiation begins the moment the counter-party lays eyes on the escort. She smiles, says her first and last name, displaying a confidence and warmth that puts the customer at ease and projects value. Almost no one likes to negotiate. The woman’s friendly self-confidence not only makes the counter-party more comfortable, it puts the escort in control.

After the lineup, the woman takes the customer by the hand, the first point of physical contact. They walk side by side—never one in front of the other, as they tour the ranch. As they walk, they talk about why he’s there, his background, and his hobbies and interests. One escort got a large booking ($6,500, up from her usual $1,000) because during the tour they connected over a similar childhood in the Southwest. Forging a connection creates power in the negotiation. If a customer is attached to an individual, he is more likely to meet her price.

2. Don’t talk about money or time initially, just the service you’ll provide. The women are instructed to describe an ideal scenario while touching the arm, leg, or hair of the client. They don’t bring up money or how long it will take until the client is hooked and wants the full service. Instead of leading with how much they’re worth, they describe their value in a way that’s appealing to the counter-party.

Hof described it this way:

'The guy’s, like, “Well, I need four hours and I need to do this and I need to do that.” What I would tell her to say is “We’re not going to have to worry about time. We’re going to have plenty of time together, all the time that you want, because I’m not rushing you out of here because I want you to come back.” Now, you just eliminated the whole discussion about time. Then the guest says, “Well, how much time do I get?” “You get what you need. I’m not rushing you out of here.”'

3. The most controversial question is whether to say the number first or let the client. The younger women always make the client say what he’s prepared to spend first. It’s hard to tell how much money a client has. Some of the less flashy looking clients ended up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. If they say the number first, they risk low-balling themselves.

But Hof and the older women like to say the number first. They say it sets the tone and takes control of the negotiation. They don’t worry about saying a number that’s too low, because if the client readily agrees they then go in for the more expensive service and still get more.

I asked negotiation expert Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business school, about who is right. He studies the power dynamics of negotiations in other industries. He agrees with Hof that it is better to say your number first. That’s especially true when pricing is not transparent (as it is in the brothel). It gives the seller more power if she throws out the number first. It also frames the discussion and puts the prices in a higher range. “It is better to make an ambitious offer and give yourself room to concede—unless the other side has more information [on pricing].”

Continued after the break:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Transcription: Joe Dukes - Hallelujah Time

I was rooting through some early George Benson the other day, and turned up this smoking number, which I had never heard before: Hallelujah Time, played by Brother Jack McDuff, with his long time drummer Joe Dukes killing it. He's actually doing a lot of things I like playing on fast tempos these days, so I wrote it out— just his playing on Red Holloway's tenor solo. The audio is not great, so there are likely some things going on that didn't make it to the page. No matter, the only things that really concern me here are the time and the big accents.

Some notable features of his playing here: Likes starting a chorus with accents on 1 and 4. Big, simple punctuations, often on 1, 4, 1 and 2, or 1 and 3. One-measure fills at the end of phrases. Mostly straight quarter notes in the cymbal pattern, sometimes plays several measures with the skip note added only on 2. Rim click on 4 frequently, or light 2 and 4 on the snare drum— ghosted, really. Relentless, driving hihat on 2 and 4 all the way through. Little conventional bebop independent-style comping on the snare drum, and not until later in the solo. Overall, very half note and quarter note oriented.

The transcription begins at 0:55 on the track. The tempo is around half note = 163— cooking, but not insanely fast.

Get the pdf

After the break there are a couple of more versions of this tune.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Daily best music in the world: Breezin'

Here's something very great: Harvey Mason playing Breezin', written by Bobby Womack, on George Benson's album of the same title in 1976. As far as I'm concerned there's really no higher artistry in drumming than this— I don't care who you're talking about. And it doesn't matter that this is just a light little commercial tune.

Some observations: The groove is very deep, and of a totally different quality than you hear in current music— it's interlaced these with rhythmic microtensions that are the result of live musicians pulling a groove out of the air. The time is not precisely metronomic: the body of the tune starts at around 83 beats per minute, relaxes somewhat over the first couple of minutes, and by the end has settled to around 80 beats per minute. Later in the tune Mason repeatedly accents on the crash cymbal on the e of 1, playing off the primary riff you hear played by the flute— which is very audacious. Not the type of thing you would normally dare to play over and over on a commercial record. I'm basically in awe of the fills. Not just anyone can be that deep in the pocket when filling. Mason is digging in, but he's not playing loud. It's not a hard sound.

Gabor Szabo recorded the same basic arrangement of this tune in 1971 with Jim Keltner on drums. It may be a hipper overall rendition of the tune, but there's something different going on with the groove. There's more forward momentum: the tempo starts at the same tempo as the Benson version, 83 bpm, but speeds up to around 87 bpm by the middle of the track. The bass and maybe the guitar seem to be driving that, with the drums laying back; the snare drum especially is way on the back of the beat. It's not really a comfortable groove for me to listen to. Keltner plays very simply, with no fills at all. On Benson's version the drums are featured in the mix with the guitar; here they're balanced with the tambourine.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Very occasional quote of the day: Bozzio studies

I always loved this photo from the
original interview. First copy of MD
I ever read. Also had Jim Keltner
and Ed Blackwell.
In his 1981 Modern Drummer interview with Robin Tolleson, Terry Bozzio discusses his study methods when he was in school, and the books he worked out of:

[I] studied Haskell Harr's books. And then I got into Stick Control, which I thought was a little bit better practical application of that, rather than having all the fancy notation. And I studied that, and I studied out of Ted Reed's book Syncopation, and Louie Bellson's books, and this other book Portraits In Rhythm by Anthony Cirone. That's a real good book for dynamics, and classical snare drumming. [...] I studied [...] that Morris Goldenberg snare drum book.  
So I would go up there with head phones and a cassette recorder, and practice and work out Tony Williams Lifetime licks from this tape thing, and write them all down. My whole way of learning at that point was sort of to take all the drummers that I loved, like Tony and Eric (Gravatt) mainly, and whenever they would do a lick that I thought was really cool, I would write that lick out, and practice it, and learn the technique involved, and then make up my own licks using those techniques. And that's probably the main way I learned to do what I do, at least musically. That's a good thing to do, because that way you don't get stuck with just doing their licks, but it does open up a lot of doors. Because when a lot of people start, they hear things and they don't know what
the hell is going on. You just have to listen to that section over and over to get it.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Creative tips from Brian Eno

From, a creativity site, retweeted by the actual Brian Eno, an article about a few of Eno's creative strategies:

1. Freeform capture.
Grab from a range of sources without editorializing. According to Tamm, one of Eno’s tactics “involves keeping a microcassette tape recorder on hand at all times and recording any stray ideas that hit him out of the blue – a melody, a rhythm, a verbal phrase.” He’ll then go through and look for links or connections, something that can form the foundation for a new piece of music.

2. Blank state.
Start with new tools, from nothing, and toy around. For example, Eno approaches this by entering the recording studio with no preconceived ideas, only a set of instruments or a few musicians and “just dabble with sounds until something starts to happen that suggests a texture.” When the sound texture evokes a memory or emotion that impression then takes over in guiding the process.

3. Deliberate limitations.
Before a project begins, develop specific limitations. Eno’s example: “this piece is going to be three minutes and nineteen seconds long and it’s going to have changes here, here and here, and there’s going to be a convolution of events here, and there’s going to be a very fast rhythm here with a very slow moving part over the top of it.”

4. Opposing forces.
Sometimes it’s best to generate a forced collision of ideas. Eno would “gather together a group of musicians who wouldn’t normally work together.” Dissimilar background and approaches can often evoke fresh thinking.

5. Creative prompts.
In the ‘70s Eno developed his Oblique Strategies cards, a series of prompts modeled after the I Ching to disrupt the process and encourage a new way of encountering a creative problem. On the cards are statements and questions like: “Would anybody want it?” “Try faking it!” “Only a part, not the whole.” “Work at a different speed.” “Disconnect from desire.” “Turn it upside down.” “Use an old idea.” These prompts are a method of generating specifics, which most creatives respond favorably to.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Daily best music in the world: Puddles Waterworld tribute

Last week I got to see Puddles Pity Party, a one man show with video accompaniment, by a depressed clown who happens to be an amazing singer. After a lengthy setup where he attempts to conjure Kevin Costner on the video screen, he gave us this number, and it's been stuck in my head all week. Put this on full screen so you get the full majesty of the video presentation.

Go see him if you get the chance, he's awesome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Form and spirit in art

Piero della Francesca
And now for something completely different— I can't just dump 50 pages of practice materials all at once. So here is a piece of art writing that has been very important to me. It's a portion of a longer piece by Aldous Huxley, Meditations on El Greco; the excerpt released in Huxley's collected essays was entitled Form And Spirit In Art:

A painter or a sculptor can be simultaneously representational and nonrepresentational. In their architectural backgrounds and, above all, in their draperies, many works even of the Renaissance and the Baroque incorporate passages of almost unadulterated abstraction. These are often expressive in the highest degree. Indeed, the whole tone of a representational work may be established, and its inner meaning expressed, by those parts of it which are most nearly abstract. Thus, the pictures of Piero della Francesca leave upon us an impression of calm, of power, of intellectual objectivity and stoical
Cosimo Tura
detachment. From those of Cosimo Tura there emanates a sense of disquiet, even of anguish. When we analyze the purely pictorial reasons for our perception of a profound difference in the temperaments of the two artists, we find that a very important part is played by the least representational elements in their pictures—the draperies. In Piero’s draperies there are large unbroken surfaces, and the folds are designed to emphasize the elementary solid-geometrical structure of the figures. In Tura’s draperies the surfaces are broken up, and there is a profusion of sharp angles, of jagged and flame-like forms. Something analogous may be found in the work of two great painters of a later period, Poussin and Watteau. Watteau’s draperies are broken into innumerable tiny folds and wrinkles, so that the color of a mantle or a doublet is never the same for half an inch together. The impression left upon the spectator is one of extreme sensibility and the most delicate refinement. Poussin’s much broader treatment of these almost non-representational accessories seems to express a more masculine temperament and a philosophy of like akin to Piero’s noble stoicism.

In some works the non-representational passages are actually more important than the representational. Thus, in many of Bernini’s statues, only the hands, feet and face are fully representational; all the rest is drapery—that is to say, a writhing and undulant abstraction. It is the same with El Greco’s paintings. In some of them a third, a half, even as much as two thirds of the entire surface is occupied by low-level organic abstractions, to which, because of their representational context, we give the name of draperies, or clouds, or rocks. These abstractions are powerfully expressive, and it is through them that, to a considerable extent, El Greco tells the private story that underlies the official subject matter of his paintings.

Continued after the break:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Practice loop: The Meters / Doodle-Oop

Oh, and you might want a slightly slower loop to hang with the sixtuplets on the new page of funk stuff, so here's some more Meters. The tempo is about 90 BPM, and the NOLA-style swing feel si happening, but it'll work well with those pages. The drummer, our beloved and revered Zigaboo Modeliste, is playing a combination of street beat and funk groove, so this will also be great for working on those recent street beat methods I posted.

Basic funk ideas: four iterations - 02

I'm liking this format— like Stick Control for funk drumming— so we'll see a few more of these. This page takes the same series of patterns from the last two items (“mixed stickings” and “four iterations”) and does some more orchestrations/modifications/interpretations with them. Whichever word you like. We're getting a little beyond basic, though; maybe standard is a better word; these are all standard tools for funk/fusion drumming since the 70s.

Column A uses a new ride pattern; Column B does the inverted, hands-together thing with open hihat, John Guerin-style, with both feet in unison on the close notes; Column C puts the pattern into a sixtuplet rhythm, with a basic cymbal pattern, and Column D does the sixtuplets with RH/RF in unison, and the left hand filling in on the snare drum. I said before I wasn't going to explain these things— if you play them, the relationship of the patterns to the basic idea should be obvious.

Combining the patterns is the whole point of this— we want to be very fluent going from one thing to another. For each line of exercises, after playing each measure individually several times, play every two-measure combination of measures: AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD. It's not a terrible idea to do both “iterations” pages together, so you'll be doing all combinations of columns ABCD from both pages. That takes considerably longer to get through, so you may only work through a couple of numbered rows per practice session.

For each of those combinations, play each measure 4 times, then 2 times, then 1 time... playing each of those ways four or more times. So to thoroughly cover, say, the AB combination:
||: A - 4x / B - 4x :|| - repeat 4 or more x
||: A - 2x / B - 2x :|| - repeat 4 or more x
||: A - 1x / B - 1x :|| - repeat 4 or more x

You could do combinations between lines: 1A/2A, 1A/2B, 1A/2C, etc. I think it's unnecessary. It will demand plenty of practice time just doing it the way I suggested.

Except where there are open hihats specified, the cymbal parts can (and should) move freely between the hihat and ride cymbal. Feel free to catch a crash cymbal on any transitions you want. Stickings are always RH on cymbal / LH on snare drum, except where indicated.

Get the pdf

Monday, September 12, 2016

EZ Reed interpretation: another triplet lick

I like these Reed interpretations using the early part of the book. You can just play through fifteen lines of exercises, plus a 16-20 bar exercise, and be done with it. FINITE ASSIGNMENTS, people. Not as sexy as some of the fancier things using the heavier reading later in the book, but I'm really appreciating the value of a potent quarter note pulse. Doing these easy methods using this portion of the book really reinforces that, and helps you learn to be creative with it.

For the uninitiated, I'm talking about applying an interpretation to things written in the book Progressive Steps to Syncopation by Ted Reed, something jazz drummers do all the time, and which I've been looking to apply more to rock and funk drumming. Today we'll be developing some fluency with the eternally popular rock & roll floogeda-floogeda lick. I think Elvin Jones was actually the first person to do it, but the rock people have really run with it, right into the ground. But it's still fun to play, and sounds impressive, so:

Look at the triplet and quarter note section of Syncopation, pp. 14-15, which I think is called Lesson 5 in the new edition of the book. We'll use line 5 for all the examples:

Ignoring the stems-down part, play the written triplets RLB, with the hand notes played on the tom toms. Play the quarter notes on the bass drum:

On the quarter notes we're going to add some notes that aren't on the page— we're going to play triplets on those beats, too. Keep doing what you were doing, but now filling out the last two notes of the triplet with the RL on the drums:

Basically then, book triplets = triplets played RLB, and book quarter notes = triplets played BRL.

These are meant to be played fast, so play them in cut time, with your metronome clicking half notes. If you're having trouble getting them up to performance speed consistently (around half note = 90-140ish) play some running RLB unisons— all three limbs at the same time— at quarter note speed at your target tempo for a few minutes every day:

Once you can play through the exercises perfectly without stopping at a reasonable performance tempo (anything above about half note = 90), you can play a time feel during the first two or three measures of each line. I've written out some basic possibilities for moving the hands around the drums on the fills:

Improvising a slightly more complex groove on the first three measures:

You can also do these in a jazz feel, of course— alter your touch, and play a swing feel during the time portions. You guys know what you're doing, I don't need to write it out. I should also direct your attention to this companion EZ triplet method, to which the “another” in the title of this piece refers. Have fun!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Zachariah blow by blow

There's a famous-among-drummers scene from the early 70s film Zachariah— a “psychedelic” cowboy movie with a big musical component. It features a purported drum solo by Elvin Jones, which gets shared around the internet as an example of what a great drummer he was:

You can get a glimpse of what it was like to see Jones in action in the forgotten (and forgettable) 1970 movie, Zachariah. [In it,] Elvin Jones, a towering, massive, frozen-faced figure, strides into the saloon in an O. K. Corral outfit, settles in behind an enormous drum kit, and proceeds to spend 10 minutes exploring its possibilities. It’s a thrilling, classic few minutes of film, like the snippets from early talkies that preserve some of the performance style of Louis Armstrong or Bessie Smith[.]

Unfortunately, no. You get to see him shoot a guy and move his arms a little bit in the presence of a drum set. The scene is actually so brutally edited, with another drummer playing much of the audio— the sound editors even have him playing over Elvin— that whatever it is, it is not a film of Elvin Jones playing a drum solo. As a representation of Jones's playing, it's much more akin to this:

Earl Palmer, the studio legend and the other drummer in question, says he was told there were problems with the original sound, and that he was asked to record some overdubs. They had him play along with the video, matching what Elvin was playing as best he could. But the scene is so crudely lashed-together, with so little regard for matching the audio with what's happening on screen, I suspect the filmmakers finally just edited it the way they wanted, and covered their tracks by layering in some more drumming noise. Obviously nobody present when cutting/mixing the final product thought they were dealing with an actual musical performance, and that they had any duty to preserve its integrity.

I don't blame Palmer, by the way. I hesitate to even refer to him by name, because he had an extremely difficult job, and his playing is not any more fairly represented here than is Elvin's. I can't believe that what we see in the final cut is something he would have approved of. In his biography Backbeat, Palmer calls it “The hardest session I ever did.”, and says he had to be talked into doing it:

Jimmy Haskell was the composer. [He was the] kind of guy [who] works the shit out of you, because he's aiming to please. He'll go past breaks, rush you, come in with the score half-written and write the rest right there. [...] 
Anyway, somehow or other the sound got messed up. The drum solo had to be played all over again. Jimmy told the producers, “Oh yeah, we can do that.” 
I said, “Wait a minute, I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to fucking do this, man.”

I wanted to figure out what the hell is happening on this thing, so I listened to it a number of times, and wrote up a cue sheet indicating what we're hearing, and when. It's the type of thing we do here. It turns out that in two minutes of a purported Elvin Jones drum solo, there are at least sixteen edits. There is never more than ten seconds at a time of Jones actually playing solo, and no more than 30 seconds total of just Elvin— including several very short snippets. There are at least four different drumming entities in the audio:

1. The unknown person who plays the rock vamp with the band, recorded pre-production.
2. The actor playing the drummer playing live (we probably only hear him for a moment, when he and Jones are trading places at the drum set).
3. Elvin Jones playing live.
4. Earl Palmer overdubbed, recorded during post-production. 

So here we are. Cue the video up to 1:25 (maybe open it in a new window) and follow along with my comments after the break:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Practice loop: The Meters / The Same Old Thing

A new funk practice loop, sampled from The Same Old Thing, by The Meters. Use this with these two recent pages, or any of my funk stuff. The tempo is about 106 bpm. The 16th notes are swung slightly, in that New Orleans kind of way; don't worry about copying it, just listen and play and you'll start to acquire it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Linear phrases in 7/8 - two measures

Dropping the other shoe here, so to speak, following the one-measure linear patterns in 7/8 from last week. I think we've got all the two measure patterns here that can't be made by combining the previous phrases. Or maybe I had to make a selection to fit it all on one page. I forget. It doesn't matter— one page is enough.

See the previous entry or consult your teacher (or me) if you need any instructions. This mathematical framework is Gary Chaffee's— look it up in Vol. 3 of his Patterns series of books. Using it requires a little bit of caution: viewing these phrases as series of numbered patterns all adding up to two measures of 7/8, it's easy to play abstractly and lose the beat and the barline. You should be putting a little emphasis (mentally, at least) on the downbeat and on the “4”— which is actually the 2 since we're in a fast 7/8, and really feeling it in 2, as 3+4/8.

The pdf includes a second page with the same patterns beamed with the more common 2+2+3 phrasing. If you don't mind the way the notes are beamed, you can also play these as one measure of 7/4, of course.

Get the pdf

John Cage's 10 rules for students and teachers

From Open Culture, an amazing site you should visit, 10 rules for art students and teachers, written by Sister Corita Kent, and popularized by John Cage:

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for a while. 
RULE TWO: General duties of a student: Pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students. 
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher: Pull everything out of your students. 
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment. 
RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined: this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way. 
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make. 
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things. 
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes. 
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think. 
RULE TEN: We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities. 
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything. It might come in handy later.

I like 4, 6, 7, and 8. The “always be around” hint is reminiscent of Thelonious Monk's “Don't sound anyone for a gig— just be on the scene.”

Monday, September 05, 2016

Basic funk ideas: four iterations - 01

A companion to our Basic funk with mixed stickings page from the other day. Here we take that same set of patterns, run them through some standard funk/fusion orchestrations, and learn to transition smoothly between them. I think you'll see the logic of each orchestration as you work through them— it's easier to get it that way than by me long-windedly explaining what's going on.

You can see that underneath all of the other stuff, the cymbal part in column A is just 8th notes; feel free to substitute any other standard ride rhythm you want. With column B you can accent the 2, or accent the cymbal notes and play the snare drum notes as filler. Column C is an inversion of the other rhythms;

Here's how I work on this page. I play through each line:
- Each measure 8 times.
- Each measure 4 times, 2 times, and 1 time in the following combinations: AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD. For example, the AB combination would be played:
||: A 4x | B 4x :||
||: A 2x | B 2x :||
||: A 1x | B 1x :||
You could also try something like:
||: A 2x | B 1x | C 1x :|| 
||: A 2x | C 1x | D 1x :||

The patterns should flow easily into each other, except there are a few places where you have to do three BD notes in a row, or you have to play a double stop on the SD/FT on the 'a' of 2, followed by a cymbal or hihat on the downbeat. At faster tempos you have the option of smoothing those transitions by omitting the circled note— or anything else that's slowing you up.

Get the pdf

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Linear phrases in 7/8 - one measure

More fun with linear patterns in 7/8 time, with more to come. Using Gary Chaffee's 3-8 note linear patterns, we'll look at the only three possible combinations that fit in a single measure of 7/8: 3+4, 4+3, and 7, along with all possible inversions— the same phrases starting on each note of the first pattern. We've done this before. I've beamed the patterns the patterns in the 3+2+2 phrasing for use with our favorite John Zorn practice loop; on page 2 I wrote them out in the more common 2+2+3 phrasing.

The idea is to use these for soloing or timekeeping, so you can move your hands around the drums, or play with your right hand on a cymbal and left hand on the snare drum. Do whatever you like with your left foot; play the hihat on the first and/or fourth notes of the measure.

Also play all two-measure combinations of the first versions of each measure:
3+4 / 4+3
3+4 / 7
4+3 / 3+4
4+3 / 7
7 / 3+4
7 / 4+3
You could do two measure combinations of equivalent inversions, but that's getting a little much— unless for some reason you particularly like the inversions starting on the left hand, or starting with the bass drum.

Get the pdf