Saturday, May 15, 2021

Reed tweak: four beats per drum, cycling

Here's an easy way to modernize your melodic phrasing when playing an ordinary thing using Syncopation— everyone knows about playing the melody parts from the book on the snare drum and bass drum, along with a jazz cymbal rhythm, yes?  This tweak on that method is similar to a 2018 post “Maximizing syncopation rhythms”, except doing it this way is more efficient. 

Start by playing the melody on the snare drum in the first measure, and on the bass drum in the next measure. Then play it again, switching drums one note earlier, and so on, for each of the remaining notes in the measure. Here's an easy one to illustrate the formula:

The title of this post is a little misleading— we're cycling by the note, not the beat; so there will be the same number of inversions as there are notes in the measure. Here's the complete cycle with a more complex rhythm, from p. 34: 

It's quite easy once you get the hang of it. There's basically no reason not to do this all the time— use it as a regular variation when you practice that basic method. 

Mostly we're talking about playing the one line exercises starting on p. 34, but you could so something similar with the full page exercises by switching drums on, say, the second note of every measure, or the last note of every measure.

Here's the first line of the famous p. 37 (now p. 38) exercise done both of those ways:

...and so on, however far you want to take it— switch after the second note in the measure, or switch two notes from the end of the measure. Possibly you'll have learned everything there is to learn from this tweak well before you get to that. 

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