BY STEWART JEAN, ANA BARREIRO, AND JEFF BOWDERS | FROM THE FALL 2019 ISSUE OF DRUM!
Most Western music is in 4/4, also known as “common time,” but much of the traditional music from other parts of the world—Eastern Europe and India, for example—commonly uses time signatures that are far more complex than 4/4. In the West, we label these meters “odd,” but in many cultures, they are perfectly normal. The more we expose ourselves to these unusual rhythms, the easier they will be to incorporate into our vocabulary.
One of the most exciting ways to become comfortable with meters other than 4/4 is to focus on—you guessed it—ride variations! As you will see and hear, the ride patterns will alter the overall feel of each groove. Within 7/8 and 15/16 grooves, however, the constant ride pattern can give a superimposed 4/4 feel that will help “straighten out” these non-Western grooves.
- Always be counting
- Always know what each limb is supposed to be playing