BY STEWART JEAN, ANA BARREIRO, AND JEFF BOWDERS | FROM THE FALL 2019 ISSUE OF DRUM!
In most popular styles the snare drum is typically played on beats 2 and 4—or, for half-time feels, on beat 3. There are many alternative snare options, however, that can have exciting and creative effects on the overall feel of the music. One popular way to give the groove a funky, offbeat feel is by playing the snare on the & of beat 2 while maintaining the snare on beat 4, thus displacing a standard 2 and 4 backbeat. Exs. 1–5 use this displaced snare with different ride patterns.
Dynamic contrast—playing soft notes with loud notes simultaneously—is one of the most effective ways to give your groove depth and color. The most common way to achieve this is by playing ghost notes (Exs. 6–10), which are very soft notes typically played on the snare. There are multiple ghost-note patterns to choose from, with no rules other than maintaining their soft dynamic presence. Conversely, the non-ghosted notes should be played as accents. The goal is to create the biggest dynamic separation possible to enhance the sonic dimension of all of your grooves.