Monday, July 03, 2023

Subtractive method: one practice approach

A lot of commitments right now, and posting will continue to be light through next weekend.

Congratulations to Justin in Omaha for getting the 22" Extra Special Janavar “Emilia”— there is now one of those remaining. I'll just keep shamelessly hustling the Cymbal & Gong cymbals, on faith that you'll thank me when you get one— as instruments, they're the most satisfying cymbals I've ever owned.

Tim @ C&G was talking to an endorser recently, asking him if he needed anything; his response was, no, he's content[!!!] with the set he got six years ago, that he has been using constantly since then. I understand the feeling. When you get the true right instrument, the greed for more stuff kind of goes away. I haven't bought another cymbal for myself in three years. 

So anyway, some real content: 

The “subtractive method”, as I'm calling it, is a system for splitting up a rhythm between the snare drum and bass drum (or any two sounds). Starting with an 8/8 drum pattern— here we'll use BSSB-SBBS*— you hit only the notes sounding in the rhythm you're playing. 

* - B = bass drum / S = snare drum 

We do that with a cymbal/hihat ostinato of some kind— e.g. a jazz rhythm, Mozambique, Guaguanco, or Baiao, which I was doing this week. This pattern is really well suited for all of those styles— though at times it may make a funk groove out of your jazz time. 

With a fairly complex base pattern like that, you need to work through it completely starting with some simple rhythms so you can do the interpretation accurately— especially if you're using a complex ostinato, like that Mozambique. 

So, reading out of Syncopation, I'll use the simple quarter note and 8th note pages (pp. 6-7, 9-10) as well as the usual more complex rhythms on pp. 30-45. With 8th note pages 9-10, you can break it down further from what's written by playing just the 8th notes, and/or the 8th notes and the note after: 

Here's how each of those rhythms would be played with the BSSB-SBBS voicing: 

I also played the complete pattern one time, starting on each note of the pattern, with the ostinato continuing:

You can spend a long time on that, but luckily you don't need to do a lot of different base patterns this way. And, after doing one hard one like this, the other ways are easier. 

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