Li’l licks II
More ideas to expand your musical vocabulary
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.