5/4 FOUR-WAY INDEPENDENCE
Playing groups of five through eighth-note triplets
If we’re playing in an eighth-note triplet rate and want to play groups of five notes, with a bit of simple maths (five notes multiplied by three notes per beat) we arrive at the conclusion that it will take 15 notes to return to the downbeat, so five beats of eighth-note triplets. Hence why all of this lesson’s examples are written in 5/4. You could alternatively play the groups of five in 4/4 and feel them moving over the barline (and resolving after five bars). We don’t have the space here, although it’s definitely worth looking at.
Our first example shows the groups of five, in which we’re playing the first, third and fifth notes, moving through our bar of 5/4. This creates quite a syncopated rhythm in itself, which can take some getting used to and in the video (print and iPad only) you’ll see a few different ways of developing this and moving it around the kit. Next in Example 2 the coordination challenge starts as we begin playing the groups of five in the left hand while the right hand plays a shuffle rhythm. You could also play this and the remaining examples with the right hand playing jazz time, though they will now take two bars of five to resolve. In Example 3 we then begin orchestrating the fives around the kit while in Example 4 the four-way coordination challenge really kicks in as the bass drum is now filling in any of the missing eighth-note triplets. Notice here that to makes things a little easier the left hand has moved back to the snare, with Example 5 finally showing the challenge in all its four-way and orchestrated glory.
Of course, by its nature this kind of material is unlikely to be something directly applied in a playing situation, however the coordination and syncopation it develops will undoubtedly open new doors.