Following on from my articles which appeared in Modern Drummer magazine there are a number of exercises for Snare Drum and Drum Set. Check 'em out.
by Roger Odell
One of the more recent developments in drumkit technique is the increasing use of the hi-hat pedal foot in an independent way. With the advent of the cowbell bass pedal mount, or Gajate Bracket, all drummers can now explore ideas that have previously been the domain of the Latin or contemporary Jazz player.
Those who are unfamiliar with the concept of clave, it will be useful to outline the three rhythmic patterns that will be explored in this article. ''Son'' clave is the basic form of clave from which all the others are derived. This is normally presented in a two-bar, cut-time format, referred to as 3:2 or ''forward'' clave (three notes in bar one, two notes in bar two):
By starting the pattern with the second measure and then playing bar one, a pattern known as 2:3 or ''reversed'' clave results:
Both of these can be ''reduced'' by halving the value of each note and rest to produce one bar phrases. (This approach will be helpful later on when we apply it to drumset patterns.)
Taking the 3:2 son clave as a starting point, play the following pattern with your left foot on the hi-hat and introduce a simple two-beat bass drum figure.
Whan you have these parts ''synced-up,'' play an 8th-note ride cymbal line, and then add the standard left-hand snare part.
Now let's consider three other bass drum patterns to be intergrated with the 3:2 son clave.
You can also experiment with different ride patterns, like off-beat 8th-notes or 16th-notes. For instance, if you have a spare bass pedal and cowbell bracket to use for your left-foot, loosen your hi-hat clutch and play the 16th-note hi-hat parts as alternating hand-to-hand patterns.
Now's a good time to go back and repeat all of the above variations with the alternate clave patterns. For example, use the 2:3 rumba clave with the last bass-drum pattern and an off-beat ride:
Another interesting coordination challenge is to play ''forward'' clave in the bass-drum with''reverse'' clave in the left-foot, omiting the bass where it coincides with the snare as in the ''son'' and ''rumba'' versions. The bossa nova clave with hand-to-hand 16ths for example, produces this groove:
This last example uses a non-traditional clave pattern with a simple funk bass-drum.
Don't let the antics of monster left-foot clave experts like Horacio ''El Negro'' Hernandez and Akira Jimbo put you off. You can introduce another colour into your grooves in a relatively simple way - and without the need for extensive brain surgery!
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