Thursday, August 12, 2021

Backbeat variations

Raising awareness about rhythm here, with some variations on the typical backbeat rhythm— the 2 and 4 and 4/4 time— written in 4/4, 2/2, and 3/4. Does a waltz have a backbeat, technically? I don't know, don't care. It does have the typical high part on beats 2 and 3, and that's what we're basing the 3/4 rhythms on. 

So you might hear these on any given pop/rock/soul tune, played on the snare drum, and/or tom toms, or other sounds fulfilling that role. Or you may hear them played or suggested by the rhythm guitar or bass, even if the drummer is playing a straight 2 and 4 on the snare drum. They're rhythms that fall under that backbeat role, with the low drum centered around beats 1 and 3, and the high drum centered around beats 2 and 4. 

Normally you learn these from hearing them in action, from listening to a lot of records— I watched a lot of MTV in high school. The same stuff is all over classic rock or oldies radio today— there are countless examples of these rhythms being used effectively. 

Some of them aren't backbeats in the normal sense of playing a stock 4, 2, or 3 feel; they may function more as specific hooky drum parts. There's a pop craft motivation for using them. 

Play them with the cymbal rhythm of your choice, start by playing the bass drum on 1 and 3 in 4/4, on 1 in 2/2 and 3/4, and vary that as you see fit. Mainly do a lot of listening, listen for suggestions of these rhythms in the drum track, or elsewhere in the rhythm tracks. 

Get the pdf

No comments: