Thursday, January 15, 2015

Drill: Feeling that 3 (video)

(You'll need a metronome for this one!)

A lot of music is in 2 and 4.  Because of that, a repeated pattern in 3 can really shine as it weaves in and out, back and forth around the duple feel.

I hear a lot of these kind of patterns in taiko, but some people don't always groove them well.  They can be ahead of the beat, behind the beat, or switch back and forth without really settling.  The best way to feel how a pattern in 3 fits over a 2 or 4 is to practice a basic, repetitive pattern.

A 3 over 2 pattern can be simple: The Christmas song "Here Come the Bells" is 3 over 2 ad nauseam.  You can find it on YouTube and you'll hear a triple meter with a pattern in two bouncing on top of it.

But for my videos, I give you three drills.  Both videos have an "easy" and "hard" mode.  The first video is slower, the second video is faster:

First drill - you have a pattern in three (te re su) over a simple count of four.  This and variations of it are heard in countless solos.  And for good reason - it's catchy!

Second drill - you have the same pattern with one note removed (te su su) which should have the same feel, but can be much harder without that second note to help "steady" you.

Third drill - you have an advanced variation where you change the sticking at will.  Instead of the "easy" version which is the same sticking for the first (right-left) and second (right only) parts, you can switch to the "hard" version where it doesn't matter which hand plays which note.

Here's some helpful hints:
  • SLOW IT DOWN until you can really FEEL where the 3 fits into that 4.
  • Don't feel like you have to be doing all three drills in the same go.  Get the first down, then work on the second, then get the first followed by the second, then maybe try the third.  There's no rush, no need to do everything at once.
  • If the beeps are too sparse for you, make them eighth notes or sixteenth notes.  Consequently, if you want more challenge, make them half or whole notes (you can go at half the bpm).

You can do any of the drills in any order you want.  I made the two videos at two different speeds just to show a couple of options.  You can stick to the first drill over and over at a much slower tempo, or switch between them all at a much faster one.  Make the drill work for you!

I made a post similar to this on hemiola here, but this is much less to read and a lot less complicated...

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