Video Lesson! The Notes We Don’t Play w/ Aaron Edgar

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

Rock Perspectives

The Notes We Don’t Play

Incorporating Rests Into Odd Subdivisions

by Aaron Edgar

Adding rests to complicated subdivisions can be an intimidating endeavor. But just like when you’re learning how to play a 16th-note rest on beat 1, or an accent on the middle partial of a triplet, it’s only tricky at first. After some diligent practice, you’ll find that you’ve internalized an exciting new rhythmic tool.

To count quintuplets, I like to use an Indian counting system with the syllables “ta, ka, din, ah, gah.” It’s imperative to hear “ta” as the dominant note, as it represents the quarter-note pulse. Before jumping into Exercise 1, make sure you’re comfortable counting and playing quintuplets on a practice pad.

To practice the following example, count out loud and alternate between a measure of quintuplets and the first measure of Exercise 1. In bar 1, we’re only skipping three notes: “din” in beat 3, “ta” in beat 4, and “ka” in beat 5. The goal is to make the partials on either side of the rest feel as solid as they do when you’re playing all five notes. Tapping quarter notes with your foot helps solidify the pulse, but be careful not to become reliant on it. After you’ve mastered measure 1, repeat the same process for bars 2, 3, and 4. Advertisement

Once you’re ready to put all four bars of Exercise 1 together, experiment with voicing the rhythms on the drumset. Start simply with a pair of surfaces, such as the snare drum and floor tom, and improvise the rhythm’s orchestration between the two. Eventually expand into improvising over the entire kit. The more comfortable you are with the rhythms, the more creatively you’ll be able to apply them to the drums.


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


Learn more about the October 2016 Issue of <Modern Drummer magazine featuring Toto’s Shannon Forrest