JAZZ DRUMMER’S WORKSHOP
Part 1: Modulating Accented 8th-Note Phrases
by Steve Fidyk
Let’s begin by reading an accented two-measure phrase. As you play, focus on keeping the accented and unaccented notes consistent.
Once you have the accented 8th notes under control, try reading the pattern as 8th-note triplets. Repeating two measures of the 8th-note phrase three times is equal to four measures of triplets. When converted, the accents create a three-against-four polyrhythm over the quarter-note pulse that outlines a half-note triplet.
Here are five two-measure 8th-note phrases that are converted to triplets. Keep each rhythm’s flow consistent as you coordinate the accents.
Once you have control of each two-measure conversion, try combining phrases. This four-measure example mixes Exercises 4 and 6.
Try applying this concept to accented 8th-note reading material from your personal library. I also encourage you to write or transcribe your favorite 8th-note patterns and try converting them to 8th-note triplets. In our next lesson, we’ll explore ways of orchestrating these ideas with accompanying bass drum and hi-hat foot variations. Have fun!
Steve Fidyk has performed with Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Dick Oatts, Doc Severinsen, Wayne Bergeron, Phil Wilson, and Maureen McGovern, and he’s a member of the jazz studies faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia. For more info, including how to sign up for lessons via Skype, visit stevefidyk.com.