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t P R E F AC E
pi' r' I n l h e p o s t fe w ye o rs, ro ck h o s ceosed to be the illegitim ote offspr ing of t he
m o r e s o c i o l l yo cce p to b l efo rmso f music.lt hos becomeqn oulhentichybr id of Blues ,
Jozz, ond more recently,Gospel ond Countrymusic.lt hos emerged unscothedfrom
t h e Sh o o - b o p,S h o o -b o pe ro q se por qteond legitim ote music for m, still in its i n-
foncy gronted, but nevertheless,
on honestform with o new direction.

R h y t h m i c o l l y,
R o ckh o so d vo n ce dby leopsond bounds.As o r esult,muchem phos i s
h o s b e e n p l o c e d o n th e d ru mme r.T hisis one in q ser iesof booksond it deqlswith one
of ihe most imporlont ospectsof rock drumming: RHYTHMIC
IMPROVISATION.

The object of this text is to encourogeond develop the drummer'sqbility to creqie


ond develop his own ideos from o bosicformot. Rockmusicis, or shouldbe, o form of
personolexpression,Therecqn be no right or wrong woys to ploy. Everythingmustbe
reducedto ihe individuol level. Thereshould be very few generol rules.lf something
works for on individuol, then for thot porticulor drummer it is right. lf something
works for you, do it!

Wq
Er.,

o 1S72By MEL BAy pUBL|CATIONS,


tNC.pACtFtC,MO.
INTERNATIONAI
COPYRIGHT SEOUFED.ALL RIGHTSRESERVED. PFINTEDIN U.S.A.
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1I
II
TABLEOFCONTENTS
I
j
I
THEROCKFEELING:An explanation of someo{ the different"Jeels"usedin rock.A few exetcises:
showingthreebasichighhat patterns,
andtheirrelationshipto the overallteelingof a rhythm.

THEVARIATIONS ANDDEVELOPMENT OFA BASICFIGURE:A methodot obtaining from


variations
the tonalstructureot a figure2) Changing
a basicfigureby 1) Changing the rhythmicstructureot a
fisure.

RHYTHMIC lI\4PROVISATION; A studyintothe conceptof improvising


rhythmically.
lmprovising
off
of a basicrhvthmicstructuremuchin the mannerof melodicimprovisation.

ONE: Variations
CHAPTER of a basicbeat.
A seriesot eight8 Bar solosbuiltfrom
the exercisesin ChapterOne.

CHAPTER
TWO: Variationsof a basicbeat.
A seriesof eightI Barsolosbuilttrom
.
the exercisesin ChaDterTwo, I

CYI\4BAL VARIATIONS WITHTHERIGHTHAND:A tewexercises demonstrating


the technique
of vary.
ing the rhythmot the righthandand integrating
it intothe overallrhythm.

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THEROCKFEELING

Betoregoinganyturther,an attemptmustbs madeat explaining howto te6l a rock rhythm.


Everydrummerhashisownwayof feelinga tigure,but in generaltheyall mustgivea rocksound.
Technical execution is not nearlyas importantas the leelinggenerated by the drumm€r.The
mostprevalentfeelingin the newertunesis borrow€dtrom the BlackMusicol today.lt is a com-
binationot threeor four feelscombining togetherto giv€an overalleffect.
Tempois of utmostimportance wfen discussing
feeling.Thefiguresin thisbookweredesignod
to be playedno fusterthan between., : 112to 120.As a generalrul6,it wouldbe advisablato
playev€ry{igureat manydiff€renttemposrangingbetween J: 60 and 112.ANYTIMESPENT TRY-
INGTOPLAY THESE FIGURES AT RIDICULOUS TEMPOS ISWASTED!!

(A) Exceptfor th€ obviousdifferencessuch as shufflesand 6,/8 figures there is alwaysan "8 to
the bar" feeling.Usuallyit is playedwith the right hand,eitheron the ride cymbalor on a closedhigh
hat. On occasionit is not so necessary to playthis figureas it is to IMPLYit. As in alltyposof music,
whatthe bandis doingwill governwhatyou,the drummer,will playbehindthsm. Whetheror not you
chooseto actuallyplaythe "8 to the bar", that feelingmust alwaysb€ ther€. Sometimesstraight
quarter notessuit the arrangementmuch better but they are still felt in €ight. Don't think of iust
stra i g h te i g h thnotes i n4/4butota n S / S t im e s ig n a t u r e . T r y c o u n t in g L 2 S 4 S5 T S,i n stsa d o
r&2&3&4&.

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Note:Playeacheighthnotewith an upstrokeratherthan a downstroketeeling.This giv€sthe rhythm


a lift and emphasizes
the 8/8 feel.

o Coprndt1972bt Mll E.r Puhlic.tioN,


lic .] hhmllloial CopyithtS6cur.d.:. Pidld inU.S.A.:. tttf,tl|ib [$!rvid
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THEROCKFEEIiNG(Coni.)

(B)..Superimposed on top of (A) is a cut time or upbeatfeeling.When ptayed,it is most often done
by the highhat, or on occasion, on the bassdrum.Usuallythoughit is merelyinsinuated.

rl! 1.e1e
XX x
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1
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(C) Nexlis_lhee\/erpresent "4lo the bar" feeling.lt is mosteffectivewhenplayedby the highhat


with the left toot, leavingthe rightfootandtoth handsfreeto ptaythe re$ df tie figirre.onie agai
rt rsnt so necessary to playit as it is to IMPLYit.

ill' x x x x x x x x . ll

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(D) Lastbut not least,is the steadysixteenthnotefigurethat rideson top o{ everythingelse.lt isn,t
n€cessarilyusedin everyarrangement. somethingssound better with an eighti notJ ride and not
th€ sixteenthfigure. lt can be playedby the tambourineor whenthe tempoand the arrangementwill
allow,it can be playedby the right hand.lt is mostetfectivewhen playedon a closedhigf, hat.

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(Cont.)
THEROCKFEELING

Note: Whenpracticing the right handcymbalrhythmalone,countingin 8/9, (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 g) can


be o{ greathelpin lindingthe intended upstrokefeeling.However, to be realistic,most rocktunes
arewrittenin 4/4 but playedwith the upstrokefeeling.Theyare not as a rulewrittenin an 8,/8time
signature.Therefore to avoidconfusion, Jromthis pointon, all figuresshouldbe countedin 4/4 (t &
2&3 &4 &).

Thefollowingsimpleexercises
shouldhelpclarifywhatis meantby an "upbeat"teeling.

Playa steadyeighthnotepatternon the ride cymbalwith the right hand.Thenalongwith that


pla yth e h ig h hat(w i thani c eti ght" c h ic k " s o u n d ) o n t h e o f f b e a t e ig h t h n o t es.( l &2 &3 &4 &)
Notethat the high hat patterngivesalmosta cut time etfect.

Usingthesetwo cymbalpatternsas a basis,


H.F.#
r)/II|1L
VVVV
Try playingsomesimple4/4 snareandbassdrumfiguresagainstthem.

)=tz.
sN.
&D

H.H.lt y r
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VIVY
Y Fl l ffi vyvy

Repeat theaboveexamples,usingthe samesnare,bass,andhighhat patterns,onlythis timechange


the ridecymbalfigurefrom eighthnotesto steadysixteenth
notes,This givesthe examples an en-
tirely newsoundand feeling.lt cannotbe stressed
enoughthateveryexerciseandfigurein thistext
be playedagainstbotha steadyeighthnoteandsixteenth noteride rhythm.

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THEROGK
FEELTNG
(Cont.)

patternplayedby the H.Hat,.whether


.. . . The it be "2 and4, L 2 3 4, or 1 & 2 & 3 g 4 g, is essen.
t9 tf." overalrfeeling_.of
the rhvthm.A.change in the H. Hai f"tt"in
1'91 in the pulse
ence causea markedditfer.
of the figurebeingplayedon the drums. "un

Example
#l hasan upbeatJeeling. Example#2 has a more straightahead
''4 to the bar" feel.

HT,W rffi

Thereare threebasicpatternsthat canbe playedon the H.Hat.Thev


are:

12
ffiwiTir, ffi
E"Tll_*:::"19:._l.difl:r:ll feetinsto the rhythm.Theieerssenerated
by thesedifferent
H.
11,"t*TT:fl.,::
2€nd^4, i::1,::plf1:Ll
butprayins
o'.ir,"y
.inuJ._o,uiil.
#";;;il1dil;ft"dJ';l;:i;l
theridecymbat
witntreupGit-reeii;fiilil;;ffi'd tg'lt i eiTt"ji
panern.

Note:lr ls IMPERATTVE
THATEAcx oNEoF THEABovETHREE
IN CONJUNCTION
HrcHHATPATTERNS BEpLAyED
WITHEVERYEXERCISECOMAINEO IN CiN}iiii Or'rENNOrWO.
ir
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THEVARIATIONS
ANDDEVELOPMENT
OFA BASICFIGURE

The developing
of variations
lrom a simplebasicbeatis the Jirstand mostimportantstepto
improvising
rhythmically.
Betorestartingto changethe figureat all,first try experimenting
withthetonalityof theoriginal
pattern.Thatsimplymeanstryingallthedifferentpossible handandtootcombinations
withoutchang-
ing the.original
figure.Notethat bv changing the handandfoot combinations of the sameritf, the
soundis changed, thus in effect,ffi

FOREXAMPLE:
Figure#1 is the basicbeat. Figure+2 is rhythmicallythe sameas
tigurefI but with a differenttona,
structure,therebymakingit a slighily
differentbeat.

After experimentingwith the tonality,the next step wouldbe to vary the rhythmic structure
slightly.Alwaystakecareto makesurethatthe figure,afteranychanges made,will still maintain
the
samepulseand generalrhythmas the originalbeat.THE VARIATION MUSTCOMPLIMENT THE
OR I G INAL !!
FOREXAMPLE:
Figure#l is the basicbeat. Figure#3 hasa slightlydifterent
rhythmicstructure,but still maintains
the samepulseas figure#1. lt compliments
insteadof duplicating
the original.
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I
I
(Cont.)
ANDDEVELOPMENT
VARIATIoNS
I
i

It mustbe notedthat the principleof changing


the tonalstructureof the basicbeatcan also
Tnusmakingthe nuirbir of variations
be appliedto the variation. off of anygivenfigureverynearly
infinite.
FOREXAIV]PLE:
Figure#3 is thevariation
obtained Figure+4 is rhythmically the same
on the previouspageby varyingthe as figure#3, but the tonalityhas
rhythmicstructureof figure+1. beenchanged, andthus anothernew
variationhasbeenobtained.

TONALITY

The principleof changingthe tonalstructureis basicallya very simpleone. However,a brief ex


planationis in order.

As was previously stated,the tonality,as referredto in this text, is limitedto the diJleren
handand foot combinations obtainable bythe drummer.To be morespecific, the combinationspos
siblebetween the snareand bassdrums.The highhat, cymbals,andtom-toms canalsobe utilized
but at presenttonalitywill be confinedto the snareand bassdrums.
EXAN4PLE: Belowis a one bar figure,separated with someof the handand foot com
into sections,
binations
demonstrated.
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(Cont.)
TONALITY

By combininga variationfrom eachsectaon, a newone bar figureis formed.Forexample: Try


combining(1)a with (2)b and (3)c. Nowcombine(1)b with (2)b and (3)c, then (1)a with (2)a and
(3)c and so on. lt's easyto seethat thereare manypossible
combinations. The lollowingare just a
few examples.

It mustbe notedhowever,
that not everycombination
of tonalandrhythmicvariations
areappli.
cablein everyinstance.
Eachmusica
Note:Seethe first sectionot ChapterTwofor moreexamples
o{ changing
the tonalstructureof a
riff.

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VARIATION
#2

lf playedalongsidethe example,variation#1 would soundforcedand feel very uncomfort.


able, whereasvariation#2 has a tendencyto roll with and compliment
the originalpattern.
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11

RHYTHMIC (Cont.)
IMPROVISATION

A closeexamination of the newerrocktuneswouldrevealthat the basicrhythmpatternsused


in mostof them couldbe tracedbackto a handtulof simplefigures.The lollowingpagesare an
extensive studyinto the variations
and development
of two ot the most widelyusedfigures.Most
of the beatsbeingplayed bytoday'sdrummers of thesepatterns.
arevariations
Eachof thesetigurescan be usedseparatelyas a basicbeat,or they can be connectedtogeth-
er to form longermoreflowingrhythmiclines.It the basiconeor two bar figureis constantly repeat.
ed withoutany variation,the elfectwouldbe a very rigid, "boxedin" feeling.By varyingthe basic
beatslightlyduringa phrase,the rhythmhasmuchmoreroomto comealiveand really"cook".An
excellentideawouldbe to followthe bassplayer,and to usethe variations to playofl ot his ideas.
The professionaldoesn'tneedto be told, but a good generalrule for the studentwould be to
..ALWAYS LISTEN TO THEBASSPLAYER''.
The followingis an exampleof howto connectsomeof the variations
togetherto lorm a longer
moreflowingphrase,givinga morelineareffectwhileall the whilemaintainingthe samerhythmic
pulseas generated
by the originalbeat.

BASIC
BEAT:

fTr- fT'.l

Note:Oncethe conceptitselfis thoroughly


understood,
the individual
drummerwillfind it veryeasy
to develophis ownvariations
andto moldthemto his own oarticularstyle.That beingthe primary
objective.
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CHAPTERSONE AND TWO


MUST BE STUDIEDSIMULTANEOUSLYII

In orderto obtainmaximumben€fit{romthis toxt, chapters oneandtwomustbestudiedsim,


ultaneously.Practicingone or two pagesat a timefrom each chapterwouldachiev€by lar, the bost
results.Thistext is nota technical andit is not necessary
exercise to finishchapteronebeforestart-
ing chaptertwo.Noconstructive purposewouldbeservedby studyingthemseparately.
IT IS IMPERATIVE
THATEVERY IS PLAYED
VARIATION TWICE EIGHTH
! ONCEWITHA STEADY
NOTEPATTERN ONTHERIGHTHAND,THENAGAINWITHA STEADY SIXTEENTH
NOTEPATTERN
ONTHERIGHT HAND.
FOREXAMPLE:
lST X 2NDX
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13

CHAPTERI

BASICFIGURE:

_. Aswas.previolsly stated,the primaryobjectiveof thistext is to showthe development


andsome
ot the variationsof two ot the mostusedfiguresin rock drumming.chapterone is i stuayinto wrrai
couldpossiblybe the oldest"fat-back"beatin rock.
Whenrockfinallybrokeawayfrom the originaldrum beatol

it evolvedinto a Datternthat

couldbedescribedas the basistor the majorityof drum beatsbeingplayedby the rock drummersof
today.

This basicpatternquickly

pro€ressed. ontothe more variationsdescribedin this text. ln the newerarrangements


thrs tigure is seldomused.sophisticated
in its basicforri. However,its variationsare amongthe mostpray;dbeats
in rock.
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N O T E !U S E r . i x #. x,.xXxxxx, R I D EF O RA L L F I G U R E S

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ffi-']
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CHAPTERI
PARTII

The followingare a lew eight bar solosdesignedto demonstrate,in practice,the theory of


improvising
rhythmically.Mostof the figuresused are the variations
shown in partsone and two.
Theyare connected togetherin solosin an effort to show how a one or two bar figure can be
turnedintoa longerphrase,
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. 8 BARSOLOS
. BASIC
BEAT:
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36
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3',7
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38

CH APTERI I

BASICFIGURE:

Thefigurerepresented in ChapterTwo is perhapsa little more up to date than the tigure in


ChapterOne.lt is usedquitetrequentlyin modernrockarrangements.

Thevariations
shownhereare by no meansthe onlyones.Theyare merelysampleschosenat
random.Thenumberof variationspossible
troma basicpatternarealmostintinite.Thestudentmust
be encouraged
to develophis ownvariations.

ALL FIGURES
ARETO BE PLAYEDAGAINSTAN EIGHTHNOTEAND A SIXTEENTHNOTERIDE!

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Ft-!
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r<x, R I D EF O RA L L F I G U R E S

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:= Er 49
N O TEUI s E x ; x x . * m * H. RIDE FORALL FIGURES

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,\urE U)E x :r * x, xxxnnxxK, R|DE FORALL FIGURES


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NorE!usE.E;. #fi*Ff;, R,DE


FoR
ALLFrcuREs

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69

C H A P T E RI I
P AR TIII
RHYTHMIC
IMPROVISATION

The followingarc a lew eight bar solosdesigned in practice,the theoryol


to demonstrate,
shownin partsone and two.
improvisingrhythmically.Most of the figuresusedare the variations
They are connectedtogether in solosin an effort to snownow a one or two bar ligure can be
turned into a longerphrase.4, 8, 12 bars,etc.

The solosas theyare,are playable.


However, in an actualmusicalsituation,the soloswould
probablybe playedmuchlooserandwouldnot stickquiteas closeto the basicbeat.Howcloseto
the basicfigurethe drummerstaysdepends largelyon the musicalsituation.

ANDTASTEIV]UST
ABOVEALL ELSE,MUSICIANSHIP BE EIMPHASIZED!
IS ALWAYS
TECHNIQUE TO MUSICIANSHIP.
SECONDARY

Note:Onceagainit mustbe emphasized that all the solosmustbe playedwith bothan eighthnote
noterideon he righthand.Thesixteenth
anda sixteenth noteridegivesan entirelydifferentleeling
and soundthan doesthe eighthnoteride. Forthis reasonthey both must be used.
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. 8 BARSOLOS BEAT:
- BASIC
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WITHTHE RIGHTHAND
CYMBALVARIATIONS
Thetirst stepto cymbalvariations is to changethe soundof the ride patternwithoutactually
changingthe rhythmiciigure.Thisappliesmainlyto whenthe righthandis beingplayedon a closed
that is usedquitefrequently
highhat,a practice in rockdrumming.

Changing the soundcan be accomplishedquitesimplyby openingthe highhatcymbalsslightly


for a shoritiire and then closingthem again.Whenthe high hat cymbalsare struckin a slightly
openpositionthey ring a little,;nd in contrastto the normalstaccatoeJtectof a closedH.Hat,
theytendto givea muchbroadersound,almostchanging the durationof the notes.

Note;X denotesa closedH.Hat. O denotesan openH. Hat.

FOR EXAI\4PLE:

PLAYEDAS: HEARD
AS:

H.H."-*TTJ *T*rl r-i I r--r-'r-1


"n

Noticethatwhenthesecond twoeighthnotesof the bar(2 & ) in the aboveexample,are played


withthe H.Hatcymbals slightlyopenit soundsalmostas though they were a quarternote heldinto
the third beatof the bar.
Because ofthe broadersoundproduced, this practicecan be very use{ulin "re'enforcing"ac-
centsplayedon eitherthe snareor the bassdrum.Forexample,i{ the H.Hatis openedslightlyon
the secondandlorfourlhbeatsof the bar,alongwiththe usualsnareaccenta much"heavier",more
lt wouldnot be advisable
definitefeelingis obtained. to usethis deviceon everyaccent(EG:Every
2nd and 4th beatof the bar for the entiretune)however, whenusedoccasionally and with tasteit
can be quitee{fective.

H. H
-t
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75

WITHTHERIGHTHAND(Cont.)
CYMBALVARIATIONS

By keeping the H.Hatcymbals-open for onlyoneinstead


of two eighthnotes,a shorter,muchdif-
ferenteffectis achieved.
This practice whenplayedon the off.beateighthnotes(1&
is mosteffective
2 & 3 & 4 &). Definitely
not all of thesenotes,but onlywhenthey are in a positionso as to make
somekind of musicalsense.

Theseshorterlittleaccentshavea tendency to leadinto something


else,therebymakingthem
veryhandyto useat the end of a phrase.(1 bar,2 bar,4, 8, etc.)

FOREXAMPLE: By placingoneof thesecymballiguresat the end of a two bar phraseit tendsto


givethe eftectof tinishingoff the onephraseandeitherleadingintoa newoneor intoa repeatof the
oloo n e .

Theyalsocomein quitehandyin settingup accents, suchas the usualoneson the 2ndand4th


beatsof the bar.Onceagain,if usedto excesstheywill losetheir effectiveness.

EG:

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WITHTHERIGHTHAND(CONt.)
CYMBALVARIATIONS

THEFEWHIGHHATACCENTSDESCRIBEDON THEPREVIOUSPAGESCANBEANDSHOULD
AND FIGURES
TOALLTHEEXERCISES
BEAPPLIED IN
CONTAINED THISTEXT.

By merelyvaryingthe soundof the highhat slightly'the {eelingand soundof a figurecan be


This can add a little variety,and much musicalcolourand flavouringto
cfrangedsubsiantiilly.
yourdrumming.For the bestpossible effect,theseaccentsshouldbe appliedwith taste

The {ollowingare a few figurestaken jrom Chaptersone and Two, with the high hat accents
addedto them.

Note: For the followingexercisesthe cymbalrhythm,unlessmarkedwith an O, will be playedon a


closedhigh hat. Onlythe notes so markedare to be playedon an openH.Hat.lf the note im-
mediatelylollowingan open noteis markedwith an X it must be playedclosed.
oo
EG: Bolhnotesp,uy"oop"n. *l Secondnote playedclosed. ,.l-;
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77

WITHTHERIGHTHAND(Cont')
VARIATIONS
CYMBAL
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VARIATIONS
CYMBAL HAND(Cont.)
WITHTHERIGHT

l\4uchcaremustbe taken,whenusingchanging rhythmpatternswiththe righthand,to ensure


that,the pulse and feelingoJthe rhythm
original is notdisturbed.Moreso thanwithanyotherdevice
in this text,thereis a time and place{or changingthe ride care shouldbe takento make
rhythm.
surethe rhythmdoesn'tget too busy.

Thelollowingare a {ewexamples of someof the figuresthat can be obtainedby changing the


rhythmicstructureof the right hand.Most ol theseligures9an be playedon either the RIDE
CYN4BAL, THEBELLOFTHERIDECYMBAL, ORTHECLOSED HIGHHAT.It a figureis moresuitable
to a closedhighhat thanthe bellol the ride etc
cymbal, , it will besidethe figure'
be indicated

Note: lvlostof the figuresare markedto be playedon the H.Hat(o'x ), Playthemon the H.Hat,then
eliminatethe o and x markingsand repeatthe exercises on the ridecymbaland on the bell.

1
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79

WITHTHERIGHTHAND(Cont.)
CYMBALVARIATIONS

* These exerciscs orc especiolly effective when ployed on the high hor
lN\-
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MefBay',sstudio/lazz
Drum Coolcboolr
byJohnPickering
OTHER
JAZZ
DRUM
BOOKS
I FROM

II
fitotBosT
DfUm STME'BAD$D
^"!Bat'

l"pro;yjlp./tudier bVJohn Pickering !,i,"


^

bg Joo lombert

I lllot8og Pubttottonnr
In<.
n
ri
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_-_sq

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