From Drum Magazine’s November 2017 Issue | Text, Music, And Video By Brian Andres

This next step in playing clave accent patterns expands upon the concepts in the first “Clave Accents” lesson (October 2017, page 79) by using alternating, double-stroke, and then paradiddle sticking for some challenging but fun patterns.

Once again, as in the previous lesson, clave is in a triple meter feel, written as one measure of eighth-note triplets in 4/4 time (Ex. 1).

Before you attempt to play these new sticking patterns, I recommend that you practice playing doubles with the second note accented (Ex. 2). You will find yourself using this technique frequently as you apply increasingly sophisticated sticking to clave. You will want to attain a comfort level and consistency with Ex. 2 before moving on.

Ex. 3 applies alternating singles to the clave rhythm:

By adding the unaccented notes in Ex. 4, you’ll now be using a combination of doubles and singles to maintain the alternating accented notes. Note that it will take two complete measures for you to resolve this pattern.

After you’ve mastered the accent pattern that uses singles, you can move on to using alternating doubles with the clave rhythm (Ex. 5).

You can then add the ghost notes into the pattern (Ex. 6) while maintaining alternating doubles as accents for a new sticking pattern. Note that resolving this sequence takes four measures.

Ex. 7 applies paradiddle sticking to clave. This is an eight-measure phrase and will take five complete paradiddles to resolve. Each complete paradiddle crosses over the bar lines.

Finally, Ex. 8 adds a combination of double and single ghost notes around the accent patterns.

Once you’ve reached a level of comfort with Ex. 1–8, try stringing them all together to create one large pattern. You can also apply these patterns to the drum set by placing each accent onto a cymbal and bass drum, or moving the accents to different toms.

BRIAN ANDRES performs with numerous Latin, Caribbean, and African ensembles in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads the critically acclaimed Latin jazz group The Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel.  He is a Bosphorus Cymbals artist and a Regional Artist Endorser for Sakae Drums.

Drum Lesson: Clave Accents, Part 1