Saturday, October 09, 2021

Subtractive patterns for jazz hihat

What this new subtractive method is good for: making it easy to create and communicate rather specific, specialized orchestration/voicing systems on the drum set. Like, for the hihat in jazz— I have never cared for the normal Dawson methods, and I never came up with anything else really satisfactory on my own.  

With this method you can pick the exact thing you want to work on with the hihat, and get plenty of practice doing it, and variations of it, with a pretty realistic jazz texture overall, with normal density on the snare drum. 

To summarize the method again: the patterns below represent one measure of 8th notes, with S = snare drum, H = hihat played with the foot. Reading the top line rhythm from pp. 10-11 and 30-45 in Syncopation, play only the notes of the patterns that correspond with the rhythms in the book. See the previous posts for a more thorough explanation. Add a regular jazz cymbal rhythm. 

Warm up with these:


Then these— note that the hihat will be on beats 2 or 4 in each of them:


Then try these more complex patterns: 


I usually don't want to mess with doubles with the left foot. I never do two triplet-rate notes in a row on the hihat at anything faster than ballad tempo. But you can practice that using: 


You'll find this works exceedingly well with the dreaded Exercise 2 (p. 39 in current edition of Reed)— it's very dense and is generally a pain in the neck, but these systems break it up nicely, and give you ample opportunity to practice the actual ideas behind the patterns. The sparser pages in Reed fragment the patterns so much that there would likely be a lot of redundancy. Play Reed Exercise 4 using SHSS-SHSS and then with SHHS-SHHS and you'll see what I mean. All this means is that, lucky us, we don't need to do endless systems this way. 

The systems above are mostly easy to interpret, and could be written as simple rules instead of a Stone-type pattern. You could describe SSSH-SSSH as play the hihat on any & of 2/& of 4 in the book rhythm, play everything else on the snare drum. But that's long winded when we're already used to memorizing these Stone-type patterns. You'll figure out the verbal rule as you practice them, which will make it easier to do them.  

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