Difficulty LevelIn this free drum lesson I’ll be showing you another extract from the book teaching the famous drum beat from the song Dance Of Eternity by Dream Theater.

Mike Portnoy is one of the most famous Progressive Rock Drummers out there. His legendary drum beats, solo’s and mastery of odd time signatures makes him one of the best. He brings showmanship and class to every live performance and is just as popular amongst non-drummers as drummers themselves!


Dance Of Eternity” Drum Beat Demonstration

View the video on YouTube HERE – Learn How To Play Drums Song Dance Of Eternity Video Drum Lesson (Dream Theater & Mike Portnoy)


Why The “Dance Of Eternity” Drum Beat Is So Great

Mike’s navigation through odd time signatures is simply amazing. Always creating interesting drum parts, Mike shows the average drummer just what’s possible on the drum kit.

Dance Of Eternity Free Drum Lesson Dream Theater


How To Play It

This is the first four bars of the section that starts at 0:44. Somehow Mike manages to create a drum beat from what sounds like, a selection of random drum and cymbal noises.

The first and third bars are played in the time signature of 4/4, meaning that there are four counted beats to the bar (or 8 eighth notes). Bar 2 is in the time signature of 7/8, meaning that there are three and a half beats to the bar (or 7 eighth notes). Bar 4 is written in the time signature of 5/8 and so contains 5 eighth notes.

It’s important to understand that the rate (speed) of the eighth notes does not change when moving from bar to bar but that the counting changes instead. The eighth notes in the bars of 7/8 and 5/8 are counted as individual beats. This is purely for ease of reading and counting and does not affect the speed at which they’re played.

Bars 1 and 3 start in the same way as each other, with a crash on beat 1 and an open hi-hat on the ‘+’ of beat 1, followed by a snare drum on beat 2 where the hi-hat closes. Three sixteenth note triplets are played on the hi-hat, starting on the ‘+’ of beat 2, leading into the hi-hat on beat 3. These four notes are effectively played as one smooth flow of notes.

For bar 1, a bass drum is played on the ‘+’ of beat 3, followed by a single hi-hat and then a snare drum to end the bar.

Bar 2 is slightly different with two bass drums on the ‘+’ of beat 3 and beat 4 followed by an open hi-hat on the ‘+’ of beat 4. It closes again on beat 1 of bar 4.

Bar 2 is played in a linear drumming style, where no two notes fall together at the same time. The notes played are a splash cymbal, bass drum, snare drum, hi-hat, snare drum, hi-hat and then the bass drum and crash cymbal together, in that order. This crash cymbal could be played with the left hand, leaving the right hand free to play the crash cymbal on beat 1 of bar 3. It’s up to you.

Bar 3 is also played in a linear fashion where the order of notes being struck are snare drum, hi-hat, snare drum, hi-hat again and then the crash and bass drum played together. Again, this crash cymbal could be played with the left hand, leaving the right hand free to play the crash cymbal on beat 1 of the next bar.


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