by David Garibaldi
Play this over a quarter note pulse which can be set with your left foot on the hi-hat, or with a metronome at first. I recommend turning the metronome off after you’ve become comfortable with the pattern. This now begins a cycle of 7 bars within the 4/4. On the eighth bar of the 4/4, the cycle of 7 bars begins again. The 7/8 pattern moves within the 4/4. One bar of 4/4 contains 8, eighth notes, so as the 7/8 moves through the 4/4, its first beats shifts ahead one eighth note per bar of 4/4. Write it out if you don’t believe me! Now take a basic one bar pattern in 4/4 that has a ‘half-time’ feel:
Then add one sixteenth note which will now make the 4/4 pattern a bar of 17/16.
After you’re comfortable with this, play it over a quarter note pulse (4/4). This begins a cycle of seventeen bars within the quarter note pulse. On the eighteenth bar of 4/4, the cycle of seventeen bars begins again. One bar of 4/4 contains 16, sixteenth notes, so as the 17/16 moves through the 4/4. its first beats shifts hack one sixteenth note per bar of 4/4. Repeat this until you can count 4/4 (1-e-and-a, 2-e-and-a, etc.), while playing the 17/16 and do the same with the 7/8 over 4/4. The counting will help you to coordinate your mind and limbs.
Try this one:
You’ll notice this is the same 17/16 pattern but with the ‘addition of some thirty-second notes. Don’t let the thirty-second notes intimidate you. It’s easier to play than it looks. 4/4 equals 8/8.8/8 + 9/8= 17/8… still a pulse of 17, but easier to read.