Thursday, June 28, 2018

Maximizing syncopation rhythms

This is something I was doing with a Skype student recently. We're working on jazz solo vocabulary, currently getting fluent with common jazz rhythms using basic drum set orchestrations— developing a basic Billy Higgins/Frankie Dunlop-like solo vocabulary (the non-technical end of their soloing, anyway) using my simple solo method from a couple of weeks ago. This is an exercise to get the most real vocabulary from the one-line exercises in Syncopation (pp. 34-37), by isolating parts of the rhythms.

These examples will use this line from Syncopation— p. 34, line 3:

Which we would generically play like this, on the snare drum, with the hihat played on 2 and 4:

First just play one measure of the pattern, stopping on the following 1, while continuing the hihat through the rest:

Or you could leave off the 1:

The first three notes of the pattern are easy enough to isolate:

And the whole ending of the measure, with or without the 1:

The middle of the measure:

Don't always front load the two-measure phrase— put the space at the beginning sometimes:

You should be using the basic orchestrations the whole time you do this, mixing them up freely. Do this with perhaps a dozen lines of exercises from the book— that should be enough to teach you this way of thinking, so you can begin improvising naturally. All of the rhythms resulting from this system occur other places in Syncopation, so it's not necessary to work this through too rigorously just to learn rhythms.

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