Jazz Drummer’s Workshop

Double Time Coordination

by Ed Soph

Often a soloist will play over the rhythm section in either half or double the tempo of the section. Sometimes it is musically effective if the drummer complements the rhythmic direction of the soloist by playing part of the set in the original tempo and part in either the double or half-time of the soloist.
Following are some basic examples which may be expanded through the use of your imagination. As well as pertinent to complementing a soloist, this concept is interesting for the drummer’s own solo development. It is also valuable coordination practice. Keep in mind that in previous articles, we talked about a unity of rhythmic interpretation based upon a consistency of either triple or duple notes in all four appendages. Now our unity comes from the consistency of the original, or foundation tempo phrased in eighth-note triplets over which is superimposed the double-time which is phrased in straight eighths.
The foundation pattern is:Jazz Drummers Workshop

Next, continue the eighths of the ride and hi-hat and fill in the triplets on the snare or bass.

The next step is to turn the straight eighths of the ride into a basic ride pattern:

Written, the patterns would now be:

Jazz Drummers Workshop


A comfortable tempo at which to start when practicing this is MM = 138. Play the eighth note triplets at this tempo and play the ride and hi-hat twice as fast.

Some of the problems that you might encounter are:

1) Maintaining the flowing triplet pattern in the snare or bass while playing the eighths of the double-time ride. Don’t try to figure out how the two “go together.” Don’t think of them separately. Instead, relate them to the common 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 of the original tempo. This is the first step towards learning how to feel and play two rhythmic interpretations at once. Re member, the tempos are different but the meter is the same.

2) Making sure that the hi-hat falls on the strict “ands” of the beats and not on the third note of the eighth-note triplets. A way to overcome that is to play only the hi-hat in double-time while playing the ride and snare/bass figures in the original tempo.

Jazz Drummers Workshop

Perhaps the ride pattern will try to change to a dotted eighth and sixteenth note. To overcome that try this:

Jazz Drummers Workshop

When this is accomplished return to the original ride pattern. You will find many ways to practice your double-time technique in any book which has exercises composed of triplet patterns or eighth-note patterns which may be phrased as triplets. I strongly recommend both Jim Chapin’s Volume I, and Ted Reed’s Syncopation. Remember, play all the snare figures on the bass drum, too.

In closing, some basic variations of the double-time concept are:

1) Double-time ride pattern with snare/bass and hi-hat in the original tempo.

2) Ride and hi-hat in half-time with snare/ bass patterns in the original tempo. Another way of saying this is double the snare/bass patterns. In this case, we will be play ing triplets with all four appendages at one time or another, depending upon how we move the patterns around the set. But putting an eighth-note triplet ride pattern with sixteenth-note triplet snare/bass figures can be gruesome!