Monday, January 02, 2017

Stick Control in odd meters - 01

One thing about practicing odd meters: they really force you to know what you're playing. You have to understand rhythm and you have to know exactly where you are all the time— unless humiliating trainwrecks are your “thing.” This carries over into your usual playing in 4 and in 3, and is a good thing for your overall solidity and awareness— it's good stuff to practice even if you're not doing a lot of odd meter playing in real life.

There are good books on the subject, like Even in the Odds, and Odd Meter Calistenics, but I also like doing odd meter mods based on standard books: Stick Control in 5, Dahlgren & Fine in 5, Dahlgren & Fine in 7. What we'll do today is use the “short rolls” section of Stick Control, roughly p. 24-45; by adding or ignoring tuplet indications you can create odd meter rhythms.

Like Exercise 1 from page 24 of Stick Control:

If you play those six 16th notes as two 16th note triplets (each of which are one 8th note long), that will give you a meter of 5/8, phrased 3+2:

So the exercise would look like this— you can play the accents or not; they may help you keep the time solid:

An advanced option is to play the book 8th notes as a triplet (which is two eight notes long), and play the three-8th-notes-worth of 16th notes as written. That would give you a meter of 5/8, phrased 2+3:

So the exercise would be played like this:

More after the break:

It's rather challenging at first to play that triplet accurately in 5/8; hopefully you have a metronome that can click on the first and third 8th notes in the measure.

The right hand column exercises on p. 24 have a rest at the end:

If you're playing the exercises on drumset, you could do this with them: play the downbeat on the cymbal, plus bass drum, and play a bass drum in the rest. Here's how it would look for the first interpretation above:

Do the same thing on any exercises ending with a rest.

Starting on Ex. 13 on p. 25, there are some “octuplets”— it's a 9-stroke single stroke roll on beat 2 of a measure of 6/8:

If you take away the numeral 8 signifying a tuplet, you've got three 8th notes plus eight 16th notes, which adds up to a meter of 7/8, phrased 3+2+2:

Those exercises would be played:

You can do these modifications with all of pp. 24-26 of Stick Control— on practice pad you can ignore the exercises ending with a rest. You also have the option of substituting whatever paradiddle-type stickings for the roll portion of the exercises— the 16th notes. More practice ideas coming soon in part 2.

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