Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Dotted Rhythm Coordination

This sheet can be used at any tempo, really, but what I had in mind when I came up with it was the "Uptempo Studies" from John Riley's Beyond Bop Drumming.  Whereas the examples in BBD are all on the beat and designed to clean up unisons, I thought it would be nice to augment that with syncopated rhythms often heard by drummers like Philly Joe, and Jimmy Cobb.

What makes this awkward for some is not necessarily the tempo.  It's the fact that the coordination changes when we reach a certain tempo.  The same way a roll has a "check pattern" or "skeleton", so does our ride cymbal pattern.  When we play a double stroke roll, for example, we hear 32nd notes, but our arms move at the rate of 16th notes.  So, on the ride cymbal at slow and medium tempos our arm is playing on all four beats while our hand and/or fingers control the skip note.  Using the first example on the sheet, that makes the coordination like this:

But when we get to faster tempos we tend to throw the stick on beats 2 and 4, and get the skip note on beats 1 and 3 with rebound and fingers.  That changes the coordination to this:

Not necessarily harder, just different.

So, if you're finding this exercise difficult, try reading it as written while just playing the ride cymbal on beats 2 and 4 along with the hi-hat.  Then add the other notes as you feel comfortable.  Drop me an e-mail if you'd like a PDF.