Thursday, November 24, 2022

Reed tweaks: kicks and setups with RH lead triplets

An online student in Europe is working on his reading with me, in preparation for an audition, and we're talking about kicks and set ups. There's a minor tweak to a common Reed solo/fill method— right hand plays melody on drums/cymbals, left hand fills in triplets on snare— that will help with that. 

Part of that method is that any time RH notes are spaced greater than a quarter note, which would require multiple LH notes to fill the space, we break up those multiples by bringing the RH to the snare drum. I've written before about how we do that. Many of those spots are also places you would do a set up if you were reading an actual piece of music. 

Look at p. 38 in Syncopation, and pretend we're interpreting a big band chart, and find the syncopated hits that would require (or suggest) a set up from the drummer. We're looking for long notes on an &, with a long space before them. The second note, on the &, is the kick— you could pencil in housetop accents over each of those. Or print the page out and mark them.  

You can see most of them consist of a quarter note, an 8th rest, and then a quarter, dotted-quarter, or tied note. 

Here's how to play that, with 1) all the filler with the LH, 2) breaking up the filler with the RH, 3) playing that filler RH as an accent on the downbeat before the kick, 4) two note set up:

There are a couple of spots where there are two &s in a row— in the third and fifth lines. All through Syncopation they're just on the & of 1/3, in real life they'll often be on the & of 2/4. 

Again, how you would play that: 1) all filler with the LH, 2) filler broken up normally with the RH, 3) set up falling on the left hand, this time, 4) two note set up: 

Normally with this system the right hand is on the snare or toms, or cymbal + bass drum. To do this tweak, whatever you're hitting for the rest of the page, play the set ups on the drums, and the kicks on the cym + BD.  

Here's how you would play the second and third lines of p. 38, with the right hand playing the small tom for everything but the kicks: 

Or playing the two-note setups: 

There are other possibilities for what to do with the set ups, which we'll talk about later. The idea here is not just to play the thing, it's to read differently, to be able to identify the figures that need support from the drummer— syncopated hits after a long space. 

Next I'll have some suggestions for marking up Syncopation for this kind of practicing. 

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