Drum­ming es­sen­tials

Ev­ery­thing you need to know be­fore you start play­ing the drums

Rhythm - - DRUM LESSONS -

Matched Grip

Both hands hold the sticks in the same man­ner: thumbs on the side of the sticks; fore­fin­ger op­po­site the thumb; mid­dle, ring and lit­tle fin­gers curled un­der the sticks; palms held down, fac­ing the floor.

TRA­DI­TIONAL GRIP

The right hand is as matched grip, but the left-hand stick is held dif­fer­ently (vice versa for left-handed play­ers). The stick is lodged in the fleshy bit be­tween the thumb and fore­fin­ger and the fore and mid­dle fin­gers curl over the stick, while the ring and lit­tle fin­gers curl un­der to sup­port the stick.

QUAR­TER NOTES

Also known as ‘crotch­ets’. If a stan­dard bar of mu­sic is re­garded as a ‘whole’, then four evenly-spaced notes within that bar are re­garded as ‘quar­ters’, hence the term ‘quar­ter note’ (in other words, four beats in a stan­dard bar).

EIGHTH NOTES

Clas­si­cally re­ferred to as ‘qua­vers’. If a stan­dard bar of mu­sic is re­garded as a ‘whole’ and four evenly-spaced notes within that bar are re­garded as ‘quar­ters’, then eight evenly-spaced notes within that bar are re­garded as ‘eighths’, hence the term ‘eighth note’ (in other words, eight beats in a stan­dard bar).

Eighth note TRIPLETS

The mu­si­cal def­i­ni­tion of a triplet is ‘three evenly spaced notes oc­cu­py­ing the same space as two evenly spaced notes’. With eighth note triplets, three eighth notes would be played in the same amount of time as you’d usu­ally play two eighth notes.

OSTINAT O

An os­ti­nato is a re­peated pat­tern. This is usu­ally not very long, and is of­ten made up of three or four notes played over and over again in the same pitch. One of the most fa­mous clas­si­cal drum os­ti­natos is the snare drum pat­tern in Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, but con­tem­po­rary drum­mers of­ten re­fer to ‘bass and hi-hat’ os­ti­natos.

16th notes

Also known as ‘semi-qua­vers’. If a stan­dard bar of mu­sic is re­garded as a ‘whole’, then 16 evenly spaced notes within that bar are re­garded as ‘16ths’, hence ‘16th note’.

CROSS-STICK

Played on the snare by hold­ing the stick at the tip end, lay­ing it across the drum and strik­ing the rim with the ‘butt’ end, keep­ing the tip in con­tact with the head.

RIM SHOT

Played by strik­ing the head and the rim of the drum at the same time. It makes a loud, sonorous sound, good for ac­cents in a snare pat­tern or heavy rock back­beat.

HEAD types

The ‘bat­ter’ head is the drum head you strike and the ‘res­o­nant’ head is the head on the un­der­side of the drum that gives it a full and res­onat­ing sound.

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