This exercise is an extension of a ride cymbal phrasing exercise that I developed using one of the earlier pages of Ted Reed’s Syncopation. Lesson four would usually be used to teach eighth note reading, which is probably what I was doing when I realized that read top to bottom, it’s just a catalog of the eighth note patterns you can play on a ride cymbal. I’ll write out the original phrasing exercise before too long, but today I was working on a simple idea that sounds pretty hip so I want to get it down here.
This exercise has two parts, each will use two different ride patterns alternating with a measure of quarter notes. Here’s what we’re working with for part 1.
Add the snare drum to accent the pattern, this can be done on the beat or off the beat. Here’s what that looks like using pattern number two. You could also accent on or after the quarter note of each phrase if you wanted to go beyond what I’ve got here.
It doesn’t look like much as is, but if you alternate each idea with a bar of quarter notes on the ride we start to get some phrasing that can sound pretty hip. Here’s one example, though there’s four that you can play around with.
Once you’ve got that down we’ll add bass drum. We’re going to work with an eighth note before and after, and a quarter note before and after.
I’ve kept the parameters pretty tight on these examples, there’s a lot of room to interpret these ideas. For instance, if you’re going to play the bass drum on beat four, a quarter note before the accented ride pattern (third example above), you might as well play it on beat four afterwards. To my ear that makes sense, leaving it empty sets up all sorts of other possibilities though; play the eighth note after the last snare, play a bass drum on the “and of four” followed by a crash/snare on beat one of the following measure, play something on the toms at the end of the bar, or just leave it empty and move on to the next phrase. Sky is the limit as they say.
Part two will deal with ride cymbal patterns that have more than two eighth notes in a row. When you combine the two exercises along with some “empty” bars, you can start to put some pretty serious phrases together on your ride that go way beyond the usual da daga da daga da thing.
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