Phrasing over the bar line in 3/4

Here’s a Simple idea to get some phrases happening over the bar line when you’re playing in 3/4. This idea came as an extension of something I first heard Max Roach play. He’d trade 4’s of time, playing 4 bars of a waltz feel then 3 bars of a straight 4/4 swing feel (which you can think of as 4 bars of 3/4 or 2 bars of 6/4.) Take a look:

max in 34

This got me thinking about what to play with that 4/4 ride pattern. For source material I opened up Ted Reed’s Syncopation. I use Syncopation Set 2 often for work on both phrasing and limb coordination. In this case, for a first step, we’re just going to exchange measures 5-8 above with 3 measures of the first exercise in Set 2.

ex 1-1

When you play an idea like this it sounds like you’re playing in 4, the rest of the players on the bandstand will feel the “pull” of your 4 against their 3. If you change your ride pattern you can take the same phrase and make it feel like a longer idea played over the bar line in 3/4 time.

ex 1 in 34

Once you have the general coordination down add accents to play with the time feel and phrasing. The bass drum on each down beat is a good starting place, it will anchor the feeling of 3. Accenting the first beat of each “measure of 4” will emphasize the feel of 4 over 3. I like the sound of the last quarter note in this phrase, try each note on the snare out and see what catches your ear.

ex 1 with accent



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