A Progressive Approach to Phrasing Quintuplets on the Drumkit, Part 2


Phrasing Quintuplets 1In this article we’ll discuss different ways of combining some of the exercises learned in part one, and we’ll play them in 3/4 and 5/4 time. Then we’ll move into more advanced phrasing exercises that incorporate different sound sources.

To get going, let’s play two of the 3/4 examples from the last installment, back to back. I recommend playing these new phrases slowly until you’re able to execute them perfectly many times in a row.

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Here are two ways to build three-bar phrases out of the two 3/4 examples we used previously. Once you master these three-measure phrases, work through all the other possible combinations and then practice randomly changing the order while making sure you always know where you are in the three-measure form.

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The next step would be to combine the two original patterns to form longer phrases, like five measures of 3/4. Here’s just one possibility.Phrasing Quintuplets 3

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Now let’s create some quintuplet patterns in 5/4. Here are two examples. Work with these the same way you did with the 3/4 exercises.Phrasing Quintuplets 4

Here are those patterns arranged into three- and fivemeasure phrases. Make sure to experiment and come up with your own combinations. You could also combine different three- and five-measure examples to create a unique-sounding eight-measure phrase.Phrasing Quintuplets 5Phrasing Quintuplets 6


In Example 10, we’re phrasing one of the 2/4 quintuplet patterns from part one in two measures of 3/4. In this over-the-barline groove, the snare accent shifts from beat 2 of the first measure to beats 1 and 3 of the second measure. I strongly recommend that you count as you practice this, so that you can keep track of the downbeat of each 3/4 measure. Start slowly too.

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The next step is to orchestrate the right hand onto multiple sound sources. I like to use two hi-hats. In Examples 11 and 12, which are in 3/4, the hi-hat hits are phrased in groups of three.

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In Examples 13 and 14, which are in 5/4, the hi-hat hits are phrased in groups of five.

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