tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties… lay­ered cow­bell grooves

Chal­leng­ing open-handed cow­bell grooves

Rhythm - - HOW TO -

The ex­am­ples in this is­sue’s Tech­ni­cal Dif­fi­cul­ties re­quire a cow­bell to be placed on the op­po­site side of the kit to the hi-hat, per­haps mounted on the bass drum or above the floor tom. The ba­sic con­cept is to main­tain an eighth-note groove be­tween the hi-hats and snare in the left hand while the right hand plays a dif­fer­ent rhythm on the cow­bell. David Garibaldi’s ex­cel­lent book Fu­tureSounds fea­tures a sim­i­lar prin­ci­ple, as does this is­sue’s per­for­mance of ‘Honky Tonk Women’.

The first two ex­er­cises are mainly in­tended to de­velop the ini­tial in­de­pen­dence with Ex­am­ple 1 play­ing a 4 over 3 rhythm be­tween the right and left hand, with the right play­ing dot­ted eighth-notes, which move over the beat. Ex­am­ple 2 is based around this same rhythm only now adding a ‘pick-up’ note to each cow­bell note, es­sen­tially cre­at­ing a shuf­fle rhythm played through the 16th-notes.

The re­main­ing ex­am­ples then used this in­de­pen­dence to cre­ate three Latin-style grooves with the first in Ex­am­ple 3 fea­tur­ing a cas­cara rhythm in the right hand. Next Ex­am­ple 4 changes the right hand pat­tern to a Mozam­bique with the left hand now con­vey­ing a half-time feel, hit­ting the snare just on the first beat of bar two.

Fi­nally, Ex­am­ple 5 fea­tures a Bembe/ Afro-Cuban 6/8 bell pat­tern in the right hand while the left plays a half-time shuf­fle. In or­der to avoid the quick move­ment be­tween the hi-hat and snare back­beat an open hi-hat is placed on beat 2.

This con­cept of­fers an in­ter­est­ing al­ter­na­tive to sim­ply play­ing a reg­u­lar ride line on the cow­bell; it’s also de­pen­dant upon the hi-hats re­main­ing tight. If they’re not, the miss­ing 2 and 4 will be­come more ap­par­ent, cre­at­ing holes within the eighth-note pulse and de­stroy­ing the il­lu­sion of two parts be­ing played si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

your tu­tor Pete ri­ley p.ri­ley@mac.com

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