Rock Perspectives

Odd Rock

by David Garibaldi

Experimentation with new ideas and concepts brings growth. There is always a way to incorporate new ideas into your personal musical situation. Many times it has taken me months or even years to successfully incorporate new concepts into my playing in a practical, usable way.What and how we think determines our successes and failures. The thing we can do with rhythm and meter are inexhaustible. Rhythm is mathematical and math is infinite. Therefore, we can (if we so desire) put together infinite rhythmic combinations. An exciting concept is the playing of odd meters within the common meters (2/4, 4/4, etc.). I’ve chosen two examples of this: 7/8 over 4/4, and 17/16 over 4/4. Take any 7/8 pattern:
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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:
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Then add one sixteenth note which will now make the 4/4 pattern a bar of 17/16.

 

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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:
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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.

 

Rock Perspectives