2/4 Hemiolas in ¾ and 6/8
Welcome to my second article discussing an approach to improvisation that will allow you to play longer and more interesting solo phrases in a variety of styles. As in the first part, which appeared in the April 2011 issue, the goal is to develop the facility to play ideas that are rhythmically and melodically interesting.
This study starts with an accent-grid exercise in 2/4 that will help you create barline-crossing hemiolas (superimposed contrasting feels) when you play the patterns in other time signatures, like 3/4 or 6/8. First practice each measure of the grid in 2/4 until it feels comfortable.
When you achieve a good level of confidence with the grid in 2/4, play it in 3/4 and 6/8.
You can also apply different stickings to the grid, including double strokes and paradiddle inversions.
You can also build a groove that implies four over six by using a paradiddle sticking.
The next example shows how to play a hand/foot combination based on the first measure of the grid. This pattern is more complex because it uses four voices (snare, rack tom, floor tom, and bass drum) in a cycle that repeats every eight notes.
You can double every note in the previous pattern for a fuller and more involved sound.
Here’s how to play that same pattern in 4/4.
Using the same grid measure as before, let’s try a different hand/foot combination and then orchestrate it around the kit and phrase it in 4/4.
Germán Baratto holds a bachelor’s degree in arts from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in jazz studies and percussion from Middle Tennessee State University in Nashville. He currently works as a percussion artist-relations coordinator and percussion product specialist for Meinl USA.