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Ostinato Studies

by Joe Morello
Transcribed by Marvin Burock

The following exercises involve playing an ostinato (or repetitive rhythm) with one hand while improvising with
the other. Over the years I've used many ostinato patterns in my drum solos. Improvising against an ostinato is an
excellent way to develop good coordination.
The first exercise is based on exercise 11 from the "Ostinato Studies" section of my book Master Studies and
page 39 of Ted Reed's Syncopation. The idea here is to play the ostinato on the snare drum with the left hand
while playing the line from Ted Reed's book on any tom-tom with the right hand.

The second example is similar to the first exercise. However, it's based on exercise 5 from the "Ostinato Studies" section of my
book and page 40 of Reed's book.

Once you've mastered the first two exercises, try the following examples for more of a challenge. While playing the ostinatos from
examples 1 and 2, try playing the line from Ted Reed's book on the snare drum and bass drum; play all of the short notes (8th notes)
on the snare drum and all of the long notes (quarter notes and dotted quarter notes) on the bass drum.

With practice, you'll eventually have total freedom and be able to play anything against the ostinato. Good luck and have fun!