Syncopation Revisited 1Welcome to the final installment of our series on ways to interpret the classic Ted Reed book Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer. The following applications can be used with any of the seventy-two repetitive one-measure examples from pages 29, 30, and 33–36; the thirty-two-measure rhythmic melodies from pages 37–44; the accented-8th-notes section that begins on page 46; and the accented-8th-note-triplets section that begins on page 52.

Roll Applications

For ideas to help develop endurance and consistency with accents, play a single-stroke roll and interpret the written line from Syncopation as accents. Here’s a four measure phrase that utilizes Examples 9–12 from page 29.

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Next, try leading the single-stroke roll with your left hand. Here’s a four-measure phrase that makes use of Examples 1–4 from page 33.

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You can also try reading the written line as accents while applying a double-stroke roll. Here’s a four-measure phrase using Examples 13–16 from page 34.

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Next, try leading the double-stroke roll with your left hand. Here’s a four-measure phrase that makes use of Examples 25–28 from page 35.

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Flam Applications

Flam rudiments are terrific for developing endurance in the wrist. What follows are three flam rudiment applications to try. For starters, read the written line as accents while playing Swiss Army triplets. Here’s Example 1 from page 33.

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Next, try reading the written line as accents while superimposing 16th-note flam taps. Here’s Example 37 from page 36.

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You can also try applying alternating 16th-note flam paradiddles while accenting the written line from Syncopation. Here’s Example 27 from page 35.

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Fill Applications

For independence and timing practice, return to the single-stroke roll applications and substitute the bass drum and hi-hat for the written line. Here are Examples 1–4 from page 33 utilizing this approach.

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To expand your ability to play fills that extend over the barline, try reading as 8th-note triplets the accented-8th-notes section that begins on page 46. Six measures of the written manuscript will equal a four-measure phrase when converted to triplets. Here’s Example 4 from page 46 played this way.

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Try filling in each unaccented 8th note with double strokes.

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Now turn to the accented-8th-note-triplets section on page 52, and read each exercise as 16th notes. Here are Examples 1–6 utilizing this concept.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. I encourage you to experiment and come up with your own creative combinations using Syncopation. 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.