Li’l licks II

More ideas to ex­pand your mu­si­cal vo­cab­u­lary

Rhythm - - DRUM LESSONS -

Last month we ex­plored some of the ap­pli­ca­tions of a sim­ple four-note lin­ear stick­ing pat­tern (RLLF). In this is­sue we will ex­plore the same stick­ing pat­tern in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent rhyth­mic con­texts.

Through the use of rhyth­mic sub­di­vi­sions, orches­tra­tion and dy­nam­ics we can get a lot of mileage out of a sin­gle mu­si­cal idea. In this case, that idea is a stick­ing pat­tern (RLLF). One sure-fire way to ex­pand your mu­si­cal vo­cab­u­lary is to play fa­mil­iar things in un­fa­mil­iar ways. For in­stance, take a fa­mil­iar stick­ing pat­tern and play it in a dif­fer­ent con­text. That con­text could be a par­tic­u­lar time feel or a rhyth­mic sub­di­vi­sion. Once we grasp the fact that a stick­ing pat­tern can be played through any rhyth­mic sub­di­vi­sion, the pos­si­bil­i­ties be­come vir­tu­ally end­less.

Ex­am­ple 1 shows the orig­i­nal four-note stick­ing pat­tern. This works very neatly in 16th notes. Ex­am­ple 2 shows the same stick­ing pat­tern as group­ings of four through triplets. Practise this on a snare drum or prac­tice pad (with and with­out ac­cents) against the steady pulse of a metronome; 100bpm is a good start­ing tempo. If pos­si­ble, tap your hi-hat foot in quar­ter-notes and count out loud in or­der to re­in­force the un­der­ly­ing pulse. No­tice how the ac­cents do not fall on the pulse aside from beat ‘one’ of the bar. Ex­am­ple 3 il­lus­trates how to or­ches­trate the ac­cented notes by throw­ing them to other voices of the drumkit. Ex­am­ple 4 puts the phrase into a mu­si­cal con­text as a fill with a sim­ple, triplet-based groove. Ex­am­ple 5 il­lus­trates how to play the ac­cents on the hi-hat. Ex­am­ple 6 puts the stick­ing into sex­tu­plets in con­text with a swung funk groove. Ex­am­ple 7 il­lus­trates how to play the same pat­tern in 32nd notes. Ex­plore in­ver­sions as well.

Erik Stams


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