The following lesson builds upon the converted triplet material that ran in the December 2016 issue. We’ll be using a half-note-triplet subdivision to superimpose a new tempo and groove over the original pulse. I recommend that you practice these patterns with a metronome and work through each example slowly until you gain full control of each rhythm.

Accenting every fourth 8th-note-triplet partial creates a three-against-four polyrhythm over a quarter-note pulse. These accents outline a half-note triplet.

Once you’re comfortable with Exercise 1, try splitting your hands between the ride cymbal and snare, and practice the following half-note triplet orchestration to superimpose a jazz ride pattern.

In order to resolve these rhythms within a musical context, it’s important to feel each triplet subdivision. Once you have Exercise 2 under control, try adding your feet.

As you practice, keep in mind that the superimposed ride pattern notated in Exercises 2 and 3 will equal three measures of the implied tempo when repeated once.

I find that the previous patterns work well with a band at a tempo range of 116–148 bpm. At faster tempos, try omitting the snare, and practice only the ride cymbal and hi-hat. Again, practice with a metronome so that the true tempo remains consistent, and try a quicker range of 148–188 bpm.

At faster tempos above 192 bpm, I find that concentrating on the accented ride cymbal notes in Exercise 4 helps me create a more legato and flowing sound.

Next we’ll add snare, bass drum, tom, and hi-hat accompaniment to create swing grooves in the superimposed tempo. Exercises 5-7 demonstrate three superimposed shuffle variations.

Exercises 8 and 9 demonstrate a superimposed Afro-Cuban conga pattern orchestrated between a rim click and the rack tom.

Exercise 10 superimposes a loping swing rhythm voiced between the bass drum and rim click.

I encourage you to experiment and superimpose your own swing patterns using the concepts in this lesson. Have fun, and be patient as you practice.


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.