In Part 1 of this exercise I wrote about using the snare drum, on and off the beat, to accent simple phrases played on the ride cymbal. Part 2 will deal with similar ideas using ride cymbal phrases that have four eighth notes in a row.
Here are the four patterns we’ll be working with on the ride cymbal:These are pretty much taken right from lesson 4 in Ted Reed’s Syncopation. Just like in Part 1 we’ll start by either accenting on or off the beat.
Instead of adding the bass drum before or after these notes (though you can totally do that) I’d like to bring in the first couple pages of George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control for ideas. We’ll orchestrate the bass drum and snare drum using R = Bass Drum, L = Snare, the trick is to only play during the eighth note pattern. Here’s #1 RLRL and #2 LRLR followed by #5 RLRR (LRLL) and #6 RLLR (LRRL). Again, I’m keeping parameters pretty strict. Finishing any of those phrases on the snare, bass or even crash works great.
Work on alternating phrases like this with an empty bar (just quarter notes on the ride, probably hi-hat on two and four as well.) Use phrase ideas like ABAB, ABBA, AABA or even, ABAC (you can bring in a measure or two from Part 1 to open up the phrasing even more).
Here’s a phrase you could hypothetically improvise using ideas from Part 1 and 2; the snare accents the eighth notes in the ride cymbal pattern; off the beat in measure one and four, on the beat in measure two and three. The bass drum is played an eighth note after the accent note in measure two and three and a quarter note before in measure one and measure four, then a quarter note after at the end of measure four and finally, we accented using a paradiddle (#5 in Stick Control) in the second half of measure three.
That may be a lot of explanation for four bars of comping, but you certainly wouldn’t ever think that way on the bandstand. Practicing these ways of accenting your hi-hat pattern will expand your comping vocabulary. The more you work on the actual phrasing of your cymbal pattern (another post on that is forthcoming) the more your overall comping will flow from phrase to phrase.
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