Tuesday, May 09, 2017

EZ Zigaboo method

Should have included this when I first made this up way back when, but... here's an EZ entry into my quite challenging and extensive Zigaboo Modeliste/Cissy Strut-style practice method. It's a way of playing funk grooves with a mixed rhythm on the hihat, played with both hands, which is how Modeliste played the very famous groove on Cissy Strut. Credit to Stanton Moore for writing about this in his book Groove Alchemy.

It uses the syncopation section (pp.32-44) of Ted Reed's Progressive Steps to Syncopation, but you can also use pp. 29-31— the 8th note rest portion— or pp. 10-11, with 8th notes and quarter notes. The crux of the method is that you play the book rhythms in natural sticking on the hihat and snare drum, and add bass drum. The method is in cut time, so, to make a funk groove, the snare drum is played on beat 3, or if there's a rest on 3, the closest note to it. In the original method the bass drum played an array of stock patterns; with today's EZ method, we're just going to play it in unison with the hihats— exactly the same as the book rhythm, except you don't play the bass drum when you're playing the snare.

Natural sticking, you'll recall, means that you play all the notes on strong beats (in this case, the 1, 2, 3, and 4) with the right hand, and the weak beats (all the &s) with the left hand. It's a very good system for playing mixed 16th note rhythms accurately— or their functional equivalent in cut time, mixed, syncopated quarter note and 8th note rhythms, as we're playing here.

Tempo for this method is roughly half note = 60-100. I suggest doing this two different ways— first by playing the snare drum on 3 all the time, no matter what's written in the book. So with this familiar line of music from Reed:

You'll play this— notice that on measures 2 and 6 there's a rest on 3, and the end of a tied note on 3, and we're playing the snare drum there anyway:

Then do it playing the book rhythms exactly. When there's a rest on 3, play the closest note to 3 on the snare drum, with whichever hand it falls on— usually the left. Usually you'll want to play the note before the 3 if possible— & of 2 is generally preferred to & of 3. So for the same passage above, you would play this:

Here's another line of music from the bottom of the same page:

Here's what you would play the always-play-the-3 way:

And here's what you would play the exact-rhythm way:

I neglected to put in the stickings on those examples, but remember: 1-2-3-4 = RH, &s = LH.

Pretty straightforward once you have natural sticking figured out, and can read the rhythms. We don't call these EZ methods for nothing. When do this with all of the first eight full-page syncopation exercises (pp. 37-44), you can take a crack at the more challenging original method, playing the hands as in this method, along with this page of bass drum ostinatos.

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