Just recently I was asked by a pupil about how to play odd groupings of notes through sixteenths and I thought it would be a cool subject to talk about here too.
Sixteenths are generally felt and counted as four notes per beat. A bar made up of four beats would be counted 1e+a 2e+a 3e+a 4e+a.
Most drummers will play fills made up of four, six and eight notes so that they stay comfortably in time with the pulse of the beats. If you want to have a bit of fun though then try playing in groups of three, five, seven and even nine.
The best way this can be heard is to try starting your group with single strokes (RLRL) and then add a single bass drum note to the end (F). So a group of three could be played…
A group of five…
And so on…
If we stick with a group of five for now then a whole bar would look look like this…
Note the one Left hand (L) at the end becuase the three groups of five take up only 15 of the 16 sixteenths and so one more sixteenth is required to fill the bar.
The first group of five starts on 1 (..e+a2), the second group of five on the e of beat 2 (…+a3e) and the last group of five on the + of beat 3. The last sixteenth is obvioulsy played on the a of beat 4.
Try layering other odd groups over a bar of sixteenths like this…
Group of Three
Group of Seven
See you next time!