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WORKSHOP

InsideCissy Strut
And Beyond
By Todd Bishop
ANTICIPATING THE BROKEN, linear playing of the 70s and 80s in
an incredibly loose, earthy way, The Meters Cissy Strut, performed by the venerable funk master Zigaboo Modeliste, would
make anyones short list of historys funkiest drumming pieces.
Galactic drummer Stanton Moores new DVD and book, Groove
Alchemy, offers a valuable new insight into the Cissy Strut
groove. With information he gained through interactions with the
master himself, Moore reveals the unusual, frequently misinterpreted stickings behind the its deep feel.
The following lesson expands on where Moore leaves off. It is a
method for beginning to explore and improvise based on Modelistes approach in this song, and using Ted Reeds definitive Progressive Steps To Syncopation book as a rhythm source.

In the original groove, Modeliste plays a linear pattern largely using natural sticking,
in which the right hand lands on the eighthnotes (on the downbeat and on the &s), and
the left hand on the following sixteenthnotes (the es and ahs). Heres an example
of this from the A section of Cissy Strut,
stickings courtesy of Stanton Moore.
To begin, lets do a little warm-up from
pages 1011 of Syncopation, played in cut
time on the hi-hat. The right hand plays
quarter-notes, and the left hand plays
any written &s. Heres an example of
using the first four measures of the 20 Bar
Exercise (Reed, p. 11).
Then make a basic half-time-feel funk
groove out of this by moving the right hand
to the snare drum on beat 3, and adding
the bass drum on beat 1.
Once this feels comfortable, apply the
same concept to the one-measure syncopated patterns (Reed, pp. 3031, 3337),
then to two- and four-measure excerpts
from the eight long exercises (pp. 3845),
and finally to the complete long exercises.
To help illustrate the concepts involved,
our first source phrase will be a modified
version of a well-known passage.

86

Zig strutting his stuff

Ex. 1
Ex. 1
Ex. 1

Ex. 2

Ex. 2

Ex.
Ex. 21
Ex. 3

R L R R R

R R L R R L

R R R L R L

R L R L R R L

R L R R R

R R L R R L

R R R L R L

R L R L R R L

Ex. 3

R L LR RR R
R
L R R R
Ex.
Ex. 32
Ex. 4 R L R R R
Ex. 4 R L R R R
R L R R R
Ex.
4
Ex. 3

R L R

R L

R L R L

RR RR LL RR RR LL RR RR RR LL R
R L
L

R L R L R R L
R L R L R

R L

R L R L R

R L

RR LL RR LL R
R R
R L
L

Ex. 5
Ex. 5

R L R R R
Ex.
5
Ex. 4 R L L R R
Ex. 6 R L L R R

R R L R R L
R R R L L

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R L R L R L R L R R L
R L L R L R L R L L

R L

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R L

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L R

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Ex. 6 R L

L R

Ex. 6 R L
DRUM! November 2010 drummagazine.comEx. 5
Ex. 7 R L
Ex. 7 R L
R L
Ex. 7

D173_86_88_Workshop_v2.indd 86

R RR L R RR L L R R RL L R
R L
R L R R L R R R L R L

9/10/10 11:36:46 AM

Ex. 2
Ex. 21
Ex.
Ex. 22
Ex.
Ex.
Ex. 221
Ex. 2

First, play the pattern on the hi-hat with


both hands, again using natural sticking:
The right hand plays on the beat while the
left plays the &s. Play the snare drum on
beat 3 with the right hand. If the pattern
contains a rest or tied note on beat 3, insert a snare hit as in the second measure
of the example.

Then add the bass drum on beat 1.

When this feels comfortable and youve


got it grooving nicely, introduce some
basic bass drum variations. Start with the
following patterns, or similar ideas of your
choosing.

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Ex. 3
Ex.
Ex. 321
Ex.
Ex.
Ex. 33
Ex.
Ex. 332
Ex. 3 R L R
R RL LRLR
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Ex. 4 R
Ex.
3
Ex. 42 R
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Ex.
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Ex. 443
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Ex. 5
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Ex. 435 R L R
Ex. 55
Ex.
Ex. 455
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R L RL
R L
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Ex. 6 R
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Ex. 46 R
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Ex. 566
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Ex. 756 R L L
Ex.
Ex. 77 R L L
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Ex.
Ex. 776
Ex. 7
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7
Ex. 6 R L L

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RRRRR
R R
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RR RR

RR RR LL RR RR LL RR RR RR LL R
R L
L

RR LL RR LL R
R R
R L
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R L R L R

R R
RR RR
R R
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R R
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RR LL RR
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RR L
LL R
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R L R

R R
RR RR L
R R
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R L

R L R L

R L

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LL R LL
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RR LL RR
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L R
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R L
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R L
L R
R L
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R L
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R L

R L R L R L

L R

R L

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R L R L R L

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Ex. 7
R L
Ex. 7

Then combine bass drum patterns to


make two-measure phrases. Here is
this concept applied to one- and twomeasure hand parts.

Since youll often play these grooves in 4/4,


be aware of how the rhythms will convert
into eighth- and sixteenth-notes.

Next, well develop the linear style used


in the original groove, using this passage
from Syncopation.

Play the hand part on the hi-hat as before,


with a snare drum hit on 3. Add the bass
drum to any gaps to make a continuous
eighth-note rhythm.

Add to that a bass drum hit on beat 1 of


every other measure ...

Ex. 8
Ex. 8
Ex. 88
Ex.
Ex.
Ex. 88
Ex. 8 R
R
R
Ex. 9 R
Ex.
8
Ex. 9 R
Ex.
9
Ex. 9 R
R
Ex. 899
Ex.
Ex. 9 R
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Ex. 10R
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Ex. 10
89 R
Ex.
Ex. 10
10R
Ex.
R
Ex.
9
Ex. 10
10
Ex. 10
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R
Ex. 11
Ex.
10
Ex. 911R
Ex.
Ex. 11
11
Ex. 10
11
Ex.
11
Ex. 11R
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Ex. 12R
Ex. 10
11R
Ex.
12
Ex.
12
Ex. 12R
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Ex. 11
12
Ex.
12
Ex. 12R
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Ex.
12
Ex. 11R
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Ex. 12

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R L
L R L
R RL L L LR RL R
R
L
L
R L
L R
R L
L
R
R RL
LL L
L LR
R RL
L R
R L
L R L

R
RR
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RR
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L
L

L
L R
R RR R RL L L LR RL R

R
RR R

R L
L
R

L
L RRL LR RL LR RL L L L

L R R R L

R R

R L

L R L R L R L L

L R L

R
R
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L
L
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L R
LLRR
L R
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L R
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L R

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LR
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R R L
RL RR L
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R R L

L R L R L RL
L R LRR L RR LL
L R
R L
R L
L R
RL
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L R
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L R
R L
L R
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L R
RL
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L R L R L RL

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L R L R
RR L R L RR LLR L
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R L
L R
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R L
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RL
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R L
L R
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L R
RL
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L R
R L
L R
R
L

Ex. 12R L

L R

RL

R L

R L R L RL

L R L R

R L

L R

RL

R L

R L R L RL

L R L R

drummagazine.com November 2010 DRUM!

D173_86_88_Workshop_v2.indd 87

L
L
L
L
L
L
L

R L R L R L L
RRL LR RL LR RL L L L
R
R L
L R
R L
L R
R L
L L
L
R
RRL
L LR
R RL
L LR
R RL
LLL
LL
R L R L R L L

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87

9/10/10 11:36:47 AM

WORKSHOP
Ex. 13

... then on every measure


It should be noted that in this method,
the bass drum is inferred from the hi-hat
part. In actual playing it will often be the
other way around, with the hi-hat filling in
around a bass drum pattern predetermined
to fit the song. You can practice this by
converting familiar grooves to this style
(14a) ... becomes (14b).

Here are some options for displacement of


the backbeat when there is a rest or tied
note on beat 3. Experiment with these as
you work through the exercises.

Ex.
Ex. 13
13
Ex. 13R
Ex.
Ex. 13
13
Ex. 14
R
R
Ex.14aR
R
Ex.
Ex. 14
14R
Ex. 14
Ex. 14
14
Ex.
Ex. 15

L R

RL

R L

L
L
L
L
L

L
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L

R
R
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R

R
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R
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L
L
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L

R L R L RL

L L
L R
R L
L
L
L Ex.14b
L R L
L
L
R
L L R L
L
L R
L
L
L
L
L

Ex. 15
15
Ex.
Ex. 15
Ex.
Ex. 15
15

R
R
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L R L R

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R L

L R L

L R

R L

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R

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L
L
L
L
L

Ex. 16
You can also experiment with catching
snare hits with the left hand. On Cissy
Strut, these notes are generally not
ghosted. Play them nearly as strong as
the backbeat.

Ex. 16
16
Ex.
Ex. 16R L
Ex.
Ex. 16
16

Finally, you can make a fill at the end of a


phrase by moving the hands to the snare
or toms, as in measures two and four.

From here you can start improvising by


combining the previous concepts and adding accents, hi-hat splashes, drags, and
other embellishments.

Ex. 17
R
R
R
R
R
Ex. 17
17
Ex.
Ex. 17R
Ex.
Ex. 17
17
Ex. 18R
R
R
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R
Ex.
Ex. 18
18
Ex. 18R
Ex.
Ex. 18
18
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L R

RL

R L

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L R L R

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RL

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RL

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L R L R

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Inside Edition

Learn more about your favorite drummers than you ever thought possible.
DC DVDs feature intimate interviews, insights and behind-the-scenes
footage that will educate and inspire you. For free previews and a complete
list of DCs world class DVDs go to www.drumchannel.com.

Distributed by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

DVDs available at www.drumchannel.com, alfred.com/drums and your favorite pro drum shop.
2010 Drum Channel, LLC.

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