Saturday, May 23, 2020

Three voice / four note patterns

Continuing in the vein of the recent three voice/three note patterns item. Let's call this series “things I have always been against writing that I am now writing.” I've been playing around with an online combination generator, making some Stick Control-type patterns for the drum set, including combinations of limbs. I'm trying to do it in a rational way; it would be easy to produce an insane collection of patterns that would be totally unusable.

This is a practice-able collection of four-note patterns, written for three drum set voices, including single notes and RH-LH and RH-RF unisons. It adheres to my usual rules for what makes something very playable: no more than two SD or BD hits in a row, and no more than three cymbal hits. It's similar to things found in Dahlgren & Fine, and Chaffee, but different.

So: what is this good for, and how do we practice it?

1. There are 120 patterns, so you have to move as quickly as possible. Try to cover all of the patterns in 15-30 minutes.

2. Use to develop an ECM-type texture, or as conditioning for breaking up a normal funk texture. Could also be played with a swing feel, addressing some possible coordination/timing gaps.

3. The patterns are written as 8th notes in 2/4, but you can play them on a four note or three note subdivision, as 16th notes or triplets. Doing them as triplets, it helps to know how the cymbal portion of the pattern lies in 4/4— a separate cheat sheet for that is coming soon...

4. Try these moves:
• Play the written cymbal/snare unisons as snare/tom unisons, or as flams on any drum— I suggest doing them left-handed, meaning the right hand lands first.
• Play cymbal/bass drum unisons on a different cymbal than the plain RH cymbal notes.
Doing those moves makes this very similar to what I do with my harmonic coordination improved system, except with more potential for speed.

5. Add hihat in unison with the left hand only notes, or the right hand only notes, or the bass drum only notes. Or add hihat in any basic rhythm suitable for the style you're playing.

5. Combine patterns from different sections to make linear funk grooves. Play patterns starting with a bass drum first, and patterns starting with a snare drum second. I arranged them on the page to make that fairly easy— sections A and B combine well, and C and D combine well. You can also do A/D and C/B. Section E could come first or second. That creates a vast number of combinations, which... there may be better ways of working on that sort of thing. I'm not a proponent of endless systems. But it's a possibility.

Get the pdf

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