Single Stroke Groupings
Posted 22 August 2011 - 12:00 AM
Ever listened to that crazy prog song and heard a particular part and thought.... 'How did the band go so out of time despite sounding so together'? (I'm more specifically talking about bands like Tool or Porcupine Tree and most of Virgil Donati's stuff.) What the band did probably belongs in the category of GROUPINGS. Let's face it, probably 99% of all the music you listen to is in FOUR. Even if you have never actually counted music, it's likely that the rhythmic and melodic structures are organised into groups of four in some way. Four is even, four is pleasant, four helps you sleep at night.
Some of the more 'experimental' artists out there, however, like to mess with you a bit more. Music does not HAVE to be in four. This is not something that your average listener will go for, because music involving odd time or odd groupings sounds 'different', 'foreign' or just plain 'wrong' to their inexperienced ears. Despite this, some of the most beautiful musical structures I have heard incorporated THREES, FIVES, SEVENS and beyond, employed very cleverly and thoughtfully.
But if you're new to this concept, how on earth will you begin to get your head around such an odd idea?
You listen, of course!! Perhaps listening to a little Rush will break the ice...
Simple groupings exercises can help you identify exactly what kind of grouping (or time signature) is being played. Time to tread new ground (and synapses). Your mind will be able to cope with what you hear a lot easier as you begin to become comfortable with the following single stroke roll ideas - but it is GRADUAL and it takes effort!
Basically just take a metronome click (60bpm is a good start point), then subdivide that click by different numbers:
1 stroke per click (crotchets/quarter notes usually),
2 strokes per click (quavers/eighths),
3 per click (quaver/eighth note triplets see the *important note* below)
4 per click (semiquavers/sixteenths)
5 per click (quintuplets - these are quite unnatural at first, and take a lot of repetitions to
understand and "feel". Try saying "hippopotamus"! Listen to "The Grudge" by Tool, it's completely in 5s)
6 per click (semiquaver/16th triplets or sextuplets. Take 8th note triplets played on one hand, then add the left hand in-between to create a single stroke roll and - voila!)
7 per click (septuplets - again, like the 5s, these are tough to master. "Happy Hippopotamus" might work. Try listening to some 7-based music, such as the instrumental part of "Tom Sawyer" by Rush and COUNT!!!)
8 per click (demi-semiquavers - these are very easy, just double the semiquavers)
9 per click (nontuplets - not too hard, just really fast. Take the eighth note triplets and play them hand-to-hand, single stroke roll, then triplet each stroke again.)
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 ta ta 2 ta ta 3 ta ta
10 per click (uhh.....dectuplets?? - take the quins [5s] on one hand, then fill in the other hand like with the sixes.)
All of the even number groupings, when played in single strokes always lead with the same hand i.e. you start a group of 4 with your right hand, all the groups will continue to start with the right hand.
All of the odd number groupings; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9- ALTERNATE in single strokes. That is, if you start threes with the right hand, the next group of 3 will start with the left hand, then the right hand etc. R l r L r l R l r L r l. GET YOUR HEAD AROUND THIS FIRST before ever attempting the 5s or 7s. It might be best to start on the 3s slowly, really counting it out and feeling the alternation of your hands (or your feet, for that matter, these also help a great deal for double bass drum players.)
And there you have a fairly comprehensive groupings lesson. If I've missed anything, feel free to add.
Posted 17 August 2012 - 05:34 PM
Posted 28 August 2012 - 06:08 AM
Let me add some info (hope it to be useful): A wonderful song how "to feel" 13 pulses rhythm (eeeeeehh.... mweeeeeh.... tridecaplets? - *LOL*) and one of my favorites songs is "Tears of Joy" and Todd Sucherman plays it really wonderful:
This is awesome. Kinda reminds me of either Mahavishnu Orchestra or some of Marco Minnemann's stuff. You can hear a few different subdivisions in there, the one that stuck out to me sounded like 4/4 + 5/8 (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 1 2 3 4 5). Love it!