Thursday, September 16, 2021

Reed interpretations: special voicing - 01

This came out of the groove part of my recent Country Rock thing. It's a kind of subtractive method for voicing the snare drum and bass drum. Not unlike my John Riley-inspired “that with interruptions” pages, not unlike the natural sticking concept, where you stick mixed 8th/16th rhythms according to which hand would have been playing that note if you were just doing alternating 16ths.With the Riley thing we started with a simple snare/bass pattern— SSBB— and eliminated some notes, keeping the remaining structure. 

We'll take that a couple of steps farther, using a more complicated foundation pattern, BSSB-SBBS, and learning to use that voicing while reading rhythms from Syncopation. Relax, it's doable, and I think it's worth the effort. 

Here's how you would voice some basic rhythms, following that pattern: 

Warm up with the above patterns along with the cymbal rhythm of your choice, then practice the system using Reed pp. 4-5, 10-11, 30-32, 34-45, revoicing the top line part from the book accordingly. If doing the complete pattern is too difficult at first, try doing just BSSB-BSSB, or SBBS-SBBS. Warm up with beats 1-2 or 3-4 in the examples above, repeating. 

I started doing this as a 2/2 funk/rock system, but there are a lot of other possibilities. It would work fine as a jazz thing. The bass drum part sketches an embellished tresillo rhythm, which makes it useful for some broken New Orleans funk type rhythms, or Baiao, or especially Songo— or whatever other Cuban-type styles/settings where creative funk-like playing is appropriate. The snare drum part makes a cut time funk rhythm, but also suggests the 2 side of a clave rhythm. There is the tantalizing possibility that if you made a two measure system out of it, reversing the pattern in the second measure, SBBS-BSSB, you'd have a complete clave rhythm. BSSB-SBBS-SBBS-BSSB. Play that, check it out.

Just within a regular funk setting, some of the more fragmentary rhythms in Reed create some interesting displaced groove patterns. Many of the rhythms lack that cut time back beat on 3— those patterns are useful for working on open hihat punches with the bass drum. Practice patterns that have a note sounding on beat 3 will sound most like a funk groove.

I'll be interested to try this with the other paradiddle inversions: BSBB-SBSS, BBSB-SSBS, BSBS-SBSB. At some point I imagine we'd get diminishing returns with this kind of thing, or possibly it just gets much easier and we can choose one way or another just based on what it's good for stylistically. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A few rare items

I found some interesting things on one of those shady pdf download sites— a couple of rare books, and very old versions of a couple of unusual books. Worth getting if you're into that sort of thing:

An old hand copied version of Alan Dawson's Rudimental Ritual.

A 1963 version of Marvin Dahlgren's Drum Set Control with the layout done on a typewriter. For awhile this book (and a lot of other of Dahlgren's books) was available on Ron Keezer's Really Good Music Publishing site, but Ron passed away last year and the site has been down. I need to write to his son Geoff Keezer and find out what's the status of that company, and if the books can still be gotten. 

An old version of Vernel Fournier's Drum Techniques— or Drum Technique's, as it is written on the hand drawn cover. Doesn't include the Poinciana transcription that is in the current published version.

Handwritten, hand-stapled version of John Lombardo's Rockin' Bass Drum. It's a good old rock book, probably better than Funky Primer, except for the archaic style of notation. It's still usable. And this version looks cool. 

Fred Albright's Rhythmic Analysis for the Snare Drum. I believe this is completely out of print. Maybe it's an early version of his Polyrhythmic Studies for Snare Drum, I don't know— I don't own that book. Includes a good, very extensive explanation of polyrhythms, and a lot of very challenging snare drum solos, some including a bass drum part, a la Reed.  

I don't know why these pdfs are only on this site. Someone must have scanned his dad's/grampaw's drum book collection and uploaded it. Grab them fast, who knows how long this site will remain in existence. Let everyone know in the comments if you find anything else interesting.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Page o' coordination: yet another Elvin 5/4

Here's a page o' coordination based on Elvin Jones's playing on Lazy Afternoon, from Grant Green's album Street of Dreams. It's a medium slow 5/4— the tempo is about 109. He plays the ostinato below fairly regularly, with many small variations. I've given the approximate default thing he plays on the snare drum, and then my usual kind of independence exercises with the ostinato:

Try my dopey old Jesus Christ Superstar loop with this one. Once you learn the patterns, move your left hand around the drums— improvise the moves, or use this set of stock moves I do with all of these. Add the circled bass drum note in the ostinato if you feel like it. 

See my other Elvin-like POCs, based on his playing on Your Lady (adapted into 5/4), a variation on that, and on That 5/4 Bag

Get the pdf

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Best books: Rudimental Primer by Mitchell Peters

Mitchell Peters is becoming the guy for snare drum literature, for me— his books form a thorough and complete vocabulary for the snare drum as it is played in the real world. They're adequately challenging for most players, but they never get into the technical/reading absurdity we get from some other authors. All together they're cleanest presentation of the core craft of snare drumming I've found. 

Peters is well known in conservatory percussion, but his books are somewhat low profile in the broader drumming world— they're published by the Professional Drum Shop in Los Angeles, which is not super aggressive about promoting them. 

Rudimental Primer seems like a rudimental book for the non-rudimental world— concert percussion and drumset musicians. It covers all 40 of the Percussive Arts Society's list of international drum rudiments. Each rudiment gets two dedicated, very dense pages, with some preparatory studies for learning the the basic movements, and a number of short exercises in different rhythms and meters, plus a few short solo etudes. This is the real format for learning rudiments— not simply playing the through the PAS list

The solos are quasi-traditional, not unlike those in Haskell Harr. But these don't have that general stink of tradition. Everything in them is there for a reason. It's a modern book, and he includes solos in non-traditional meters, like 3/4 and 5/8. Peters generally doesn't try to do the teacher's job in the text— this book, like his others, is virtually 100% music. There are no hand movements (upstrokes and downstrokes) or dynamics marked in, apart from the stickings and accents. It's a book for the practice room— you could practice for half an hour without turning a page. Nothing needs to be filtered. 

Haskell Harr's and Charley Wilcoxon's books are my other most frequently used rudimental books, but they each have their drawbacks. The Buddy Rich rudiment book, which I never use, is not terrible, but it's overloaded with extraneous stuff, short on studies preparing for and developing many rudiments. Corps people will want to use a book with drumline-type hand motions written in, like Matt Savage's Rudimental Workshop. 

Rudimental Primer is a serious practice book for mature players and teachers, who know how the fundamentals of do this stuff, and how to teach teach it; and for pretty serious students— teenagers and up— who need to learn the rudiments.  

71 pages. Distributed by Professional Drum Shop, Inc, published by Try Publishing. 

I also recommend: 

Elementary Snare Drum Studies

Intermediate Snare Drum Studies

Advanced Snare Drum Studies (though I don't use it much)

Odd Meter Calisthenics (thanks Ed!)

Odd Meter Rudimental Etudes

All are available from Steve Weiss Music, and from the Pro Drum Shop

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Transcription: Roy Haynes feature

UPDATE: I have extreme quality readers. Jim in the comments pointed out a bunch of errors in this, and figured out the insane Mystery Lick on the second page. The corrected pdf is up now. 

New Arrival is a tune by Nat Adderley, from the record Introducing Nat Adderley, that heavily features Roy Haynes on the drums. He's got a long intro, a solo, some fours, and then a solo break on the head out. It's a nice tight little nightclub arrangement. Haynes is in full blown “snap crackle” mode, and everything is very hip, very slick, very tidy. Except one thing in the middle of the solo where I needed some help from the community (see above) to figure it out.  

Most of the running 8th notes are played straight, non-swinging; the syncopated rhythms swing. There are a few spots where both hands are played in unison on the snare and tom, which may not be happening in actuality— there's a lot of sympathetic vibration from the snares, and it can be difficult to tell. None of that is difficult to play, so no harm if the way I wrote it is wrong. He uses a splash cymbal, and there are a few special articulations— at the beginning he muffles the snare drum with his hand, later on there are some cymbal chokes, and pitch bends on the tom toms. He does feather the bass drum sometimes, but it's not really in time.  

Get the pdf

Blogger is being a pain about letting me embed video, so listen here if this record isn't already in your collection. 

Friday, September 03, 2021

CYMBALISTIC: A lot of new cymbals!

CYMBALISTIC: I've just posted a bunch of new cymbals on the site— six Holy Grail Jazz Rides, 20-22", a HG 16" crash, a 20" Janovar— inspired by Giant Beat, in B20 bronze— and a couple of 18" custom Turk Light Rides. 

The Turks are really cool. They're modeled after a one-off cymbal “Toshiro” from a couple of years ago. Slightly different than their usual style making Turks— these are a little darker. The current two 18s are already spoken for, but I'll probably be ordering more in the next batch, in about 3 months. 

There are a good selection of 20" Holy Grail Jazz Rides now—any one of which would be the best cymbal somebody ever owned. Some of them are a little stronger as primary cymbals, some may be better in a “left side” role— send me a note about that if you're considering one of them. They each have slightly different strengths. 

The 20" Janovar is interesting— it's a brighter cymbal that fits somewhere between the Leon Collection— airy, musical, lush— and the Mersey Beat or American Artist series— which have (relatively) a stronger “A-type” sound. The Janovar is very lush, and with a little aggressive edge. I may experiment with adding a patina to it, possibly rivets. 

Aggressive is the wrong word. I mean a little more cutting, a little wilder tessitura— meaning there are some more random harmonics in the overall sound. With too many prominent wild overtones you have a really noisy, ugly sounding cymbal; when they're more restrained, they just give it a little edge. The Janovar would make a good left side cymbal, contrasting a larger, darker main cymbal.