Patching Up Tripping Billies

One of my students, Kat, chose Tripping Billies by Dave Matthews Band (with drum performance by Carter Beauford) for her current learning project. She first perused the Sheet Music section on OLD and brought in Michael Poole’s drumscore (and a copy for me!) to her next lesson.

Believe me, I know how hard it is to transcribe complex drumming such as Carter’s. My goal here is not to rip Michael in any way. Most of his transcription is really well done. However, the intro (measures 1-9), the retro (measures 50-59), and the outro (measures 131-139) are problematic. Michael may have gotten a little disoriented in these sections (it’s really easy to do!), and it became a chain reaction–a lot like making a mistake at the beginning of a complex algebra problem. It can snowball really quickly!

Both Kat and I were excited to proceed, so I decided to go ahead and re-transcribe those parts of the song. I also thought I could help others by included it here on OLD. If you print out and cut and paste (the old fashioned way) onto Michael’s transcription, you’ll have a workable drumscore for the song.

Here are those corrections.

Tripping Billies Intro Retro Outro cropped










A few things to consider:

1. I like to write drumset notation with all stems pointed up. This may cause you a little bit of dissonance when you patch these onto the original transcription. Sorry about that.

2.  Except in a few cases, I didn’t try to differentiate one crash cymbal from the next. Carter uses a huge assortment of crashes, splashes, cymbal stacks, etc., and I only had a limited amount of time to do this.

3. Before you try to take this on, you might want to watch the following clip of Carter performing Tripping Billies for his instructional DVD, Under the Table and Drumming (Alfred 2002).

4. As you’ll see from the video, Carter plays open-handed and often leads with this left. His style is reflected in my transcription, but I purposefully left out sticking. This way if you would rather lead with your right, my notation won’t feel as restrictive.

5. If you feel a little lost while playing these sections, this might because Carter enjoys taking it “out” (displacing the beat) and then brining it back. An example of this is measure 7 and 8 going into measure 9. He is one jazzy or “fushiony” dude!

Enjoy, and if you decide to make a YouTube drum cover of Tripping Billies, maybe you would be willing to share it here.

Thanks again for reading these articles and supporting my efforts by buying and telling others about my books.