This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the September 2016 issue, which is available here.

Rock Perspectives

Groove Contraction

Creating Tension and Release

by Aaron Edgar

Groove contraction can create rhythmic tension and release. Similar to how, with implied metric modulation, we can use new subdivisions to trick listeners into feeling like the quarter-note pulse has shifted, we can use the concept of contraction to make tempos feel like they’ve changed. Unlike metric modulation, however, groove contraction modifies the subdivision while maintaining the original quarter-note pulse.

Let’s start with an 8th-note-triplet pattern between the hi-hat and snare (Exercise 1). To create tension, we’ll insert another ghost note, which changes the pattern’s subdivision to 16th notes (Exercise 2). Employ quiet ghost notes and consistent hi-hat accents in both phrases. Using your metronome, transition back and forth between the following two exercises.

For the complete lesson with transcriptions, check out the September 2016 issue, which is available here.

Learn more about the September 2016 issue of Modern Drummer magazine