FROM DRUM! MAGAZINE’S MARCH 2018 ISSUE | BY MUSICIANS INSTITUTE DRUM PROGRAM FACULTY

DAY 4 – THE HALF-NOTE TRIPLET ILLUSION

Lesson by Albe Bonacci

Day 4 continues with the use of triplet eighth-notes as a vehicle to imply a metric modulation or actually modulate to a new tempo and feel. Now that we are comfortable with feeling triplet eighth-notes in groupings of four, we can expand on this concept. As a reminder, in Ex. 1, our basic accent pattern starts with an accent on the very first triplet followed by every fourth triplet getting an accent with the hands playing hand-to-hand (RLRL) sticking.

Metric-Mod-Music-4-1

This accent pattern is a perfect way to produce a half-note triplet as seen in Ex. 2. The next step is to shift our accent over by one eighth-note to start on the second note of the pattern. This shifts the entire sequence of accents over by one eighth-note triplet. We can continue this shifting motion to create four different versions of essentially the same pattern (Exs. 3 through 6). It is essential to tap your foot underneath these patterns in order to maintain awareness of the downbeats.

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These four permutations can then be orchestrated on the drum set to create “implied half-note triplet modulation” over an existing 4/4 groove (Exs. 7 through 10). Start at 105 bpm and be sure to maintain counting in 4/4 at 105 bpm while playing the third and fourth bar of each example. Don’t fall for your illusion!

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Once you are able to toggle smoothly between bars one and two to bars three and four, the next step (Ex. 11) is to move away from superimposing the half-note triplet and use this as a way to modulate to a new tempo and feel. In this case you are modulating from 105 bpm in 4/4, changing the value of the half-note triplet to become, or assume the role of, quarter-notes at 80 bpm. Once the modulation has been made, you can slide into a straight eighth rock feel by adding eighth-notes on the ride or hi-hat.

Metric-Mod-Music-4-11

PRACTICE TIPS:

Orchestrate. Alter the orchestration to create new illusions. Speed it up. Don’t be afraid to explore this at faster tempos.

 

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