Teardrop – Massive Attack

Teardrop is the UK based trip-hoppers most famous song to date. It featured as the second single from their critically acclaimed album, Mezzanine (1988).

Ain’t No Mountain – Marvin Gaye

This distinctive four-measure rhythm was played with minor variations in the verse sections of the song. In the fourth measure of each phrase, a second drummer played the off-beat bass drum hits in unison (heard in the left channel). The pair of drummers played the choruses together.

Running Away – Bob Marley and The Wailers

Jamaican drummer, Carlton Barrett, plays a sublime half-time feel on Running Away, one of The Wailer's lesser known songs. The core groove features a hip, accented hi-hat pattern resolving with the back-beat played between the rim knock and bass drum. The challenge is to play the accented hi-hat part while maintaining a relaxed vibe.

Let’s Dance – David Bowie – Verse

The verse section of Bowie's 80s hit, Let's Dance, features a funky bass line and accompanying drum part, which skips along to the rhythm of the bass. Rather than cycling a 2-measure pattern, as is commonly done, the rhythm section creates a unique phrase using a combination of the 'straight' and 'skipping measures' (ABBA BBAB). Drummer, Tony Thompson, plays a short fill to mark the end of each 8-measure cycle.

The Shortest Straw – Metallica – Intro

This tough sounding intro features the toms sounding in rhythmic unison with the guitars. Watch out for the pick-up note!

Rehab – Amy Winehouse – Verse

This driving soul groove is heard throughout the verses of Amy Winehouse's signature song, Rehab. Notice the accented hi-hat note appearing on beat 3 after the double-pop snare hits. The song earned Amy three Grammys in 2008: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The drum track was recorded using only a single microphone to achieve an authentic 60s sound.

Psychosocial – Slipknot – Bridge

Slipknot's Psychosocial was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 and is one of their most popular songs to date. This repeated two-measure phrase heard in the bridge section (2:44) features the guitars and snare drum being played in rhythmic unison. A similar rhythmic pattern is used in the outro, about which percussionist, Shawn Crahan, said " [the song] is capped off with a time-signature shattering guitar/drum breakdown that will leave the best air-instrumentalists stumped".

Valerie – Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Beat

Homer Steinwiss played this fun, up-beat soul groove throughout most of the song. The lightly swung off-beat eighth notes played on the bass drum give the groove a nice bounce. The 2/2 time signature suggests that the pulse be felt on the first and third beats of the measure (when played at full speed).

Which Voicing #8 – Angel of Death Drum Break – Slayer

Dave Lombardo's drum break preceding the final chorus in Slayer's 'Angel of Death' is one of the most revered moments in heavy metal music (4:23). 6 evenly spaced flams were played on the toms – over a rapid 16th note roll with the bass drums. The two-measure lead in has been included to give the fill context. Which voicing do you prefer?

Knight Rider

Learn the drum beat from the theme of the classic 80s hit TV show Knight Rider.

Which Voicing #2 – Demons – Imagine Dragons

There are two principles that apply to the voicing of this beat. Which voicing do you prefer?


Enjoy this simple Rumba beat for the drum set.

Hey Ya – Outkast – Beat

This simple 6 measure drum loop underpinned Outkast's 2003 hit, Hey Ya. It features a quirky half-measure (2/4) in the 4th bar of the phrase, creating an unusual resolution.

Blast Beat Variations

Blast beats have evolved over the 30 years to form the basis of a highly technical branch of drumming usually associated with extreme metal music. Four common variations are outlined above, which should be performed in the tempo range of 200 to 275 BPM.

All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

This is the grooving, yet simple, drum beat from All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor.


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