Here's another straight vs. swung brush pattern, very creatively named, "Straight Vs. Swung #2"!
No, please, we must continue……….
In both versions I filmed (one on the snare, and the other one divided between the toms) the right hand is sweeping straight 8ths, the downbeats heading to the right and away from us, the brush on the head the whole time. The left hand is also constantly on the drum and is making clockwise circles in the "Jazz quarter note triplet" rhythm.
The other day I was watching another instalment of John Christopher's great interview show, Live From My Drum Room, this episode was with Clem Burke. ( See below.)
It's a great interview in general, but one of the things I twigged onto was when Mr. Burke mentioned that often when he's playing hand to hand 16th notes on the hi-hat, he leads with his left hand. Like Clem Burke, I am a left handed person playing a right handed drum set up, so when I first started playing, I would play 16th notes this way myself. I later trained myself to play this idea the "conventional way", meaning playing the down beats with my right hand, but this interview got me thinking….
If one plays a hi-hat pattern with both hands and leads right handed, all the backbeats on the snare drum (meaning beats 2 & 4) are played with the right hand but in almost any other situation, this is played with the left hand. I've always found it challenging to get the same sound on the snare with my right hand as with my left, and if one isn't leaving the hi-hat that much, I find moving over to the snare much more comfortable with my left hand. So, I started experimenting with this, and even trying beats where the the toms or cymbals are involved. I'll enclose some examples to try below but generally I found if we consider the LH facing "in" in this situation and the RH facing "out' , as most RH players turn to their left slightly when using both hands on the HH, beats where upbeats are played on the "outer" part of the drum set work better with left hand lead, and rhythms with downbeats on the toms and/or cymbals work well the other way around.
Before we get to the examples I've written, a great way to practice this is to play along with the song Clem Burke made famous, Blondie's classic "Heart of Glass" .Even though the original groove is mainly 8th notes played with the right hand, you'll notice most of the fills are left hand lead, so it's a perfect song to introduce oneself to the concept. You can even try it with 16ths on the hi-hats with your left hand leading, as it's not too fast and the hands don't move around that much. Check it out.
And as promised, here's a couple of ideas where the hands are moving around a bit more.
My apologies for the "natural font', I just jotted these down in a hurry. The open note with a dot in the middle is the snare, everything else should be self-explanatory. Examples 1 & 2 are left-hand lead, 3 & 4 lead with the right. For extra practise, try a bar of either 1 or 2 followed by a bar of 3 or 4, sticking in a double stroke near the end of the bar to change the hand leading. I find this greatly increases flexibility with this, and then the decision of whether to lead 16ths with the right or left is purely a matter of what works best for the particular piece one is playing. Have fun!
P.S. The inclusion of "Heart of Glass" the day before Valentine's Day is no reflection on my current personal life or my strong belief in love! Have a great day tomorrow everyone!
The current population of Sydney Australia is about 5 million people, which may seem like a lot, but the current world population is 8 billion. What does this have to do with these wise words from Mr. Big Foot? Well, current estimates tell us that there are approximately 5 million drummers in the world. Again, that may seem like a large number but it actually accounts of only 0.06% of the world's population, like Sydney compares to the rest of the world. In other words, individuals like us that can create magic with 2 pieces of lumber and make inanimate circles of wood and metal sing are quite rare indeed. You are special and what you do is unique and needed in the world. Keep at it! :)
It's interesting. I don't have much patience for excessive drama in my personal life, but I often feel like it's lacking in some drumming. What do I mean by this? Oxford defines drama as an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances. So, to keep an audience engaged, let's think about ways we can create these types of events or circumstances.
1.Dynamics! Dynamics! Dynamics!
The drums have a massive dynamic range, and we rarely use the extremes, or vary them as much as we could.
2. Strength of time feel
The music doesn't reach its full potential if the time feel is off. If it's erratic or sluggish, it will lack the intensity to be truly dramatic.
3. Use of space!
Music becomes dull if we always play with the same density of sound. Just because we can play super fast and use all 4 limbs doesn't mean we should all the time! Using space in the music creates interest.
4. Clarity of ideas
If we are telling the story of the music without unnecessary ornamentation we can get our point across much more effectively. Better storytelling = more excitement.
5. Big Picture Thinking
If we are just thinking about playing an impressive lick rather than the architecture of the tune/solo/set/evening of music/recording in it's totality, the whole thing isn't going to hold together very well, and thus will lack, you guessed it, drama!
So, next time you play, think about how you can create more drama. Just leave it on the bandstand though.