Sunday, January 9, 2011
More Elvin Triplets
Today I'm going to explore a few variations on a classic Elvin Jones phrase.
I will use the following key to notate this:
R= Right Hand
F=Bass Drum (foot)
A common figure that Elvin Jones (among many, many other drummers!) made extensive use out of was the following triplet pattern that looks like this:
RLF RLF RLF RLF
You could also reverse the sticking and play it like this:
LRF LRF LRF LRF
To pull it off effectively, split the hands between different drums and experiment with playing the triplet phrase at different speeds and metric tempos (ie. as slow eighth notes, triplets, sixteenth notes, sixteenth note triplets, etc.)
I had the opportunity to play with Dave Liebman during a masterclass at McGill University many years ago and he pointed out (keep in mind here that Liebman is also himself a great drummer!) that Elvin would often play this phrase with the bass drum on the second beat instead of the third.
So that pattern would look like this:
RFL RFL RFL RFL
LFR LFR LFR LFR
Now here's an interesting variation on that idea that I wanted to share that I've been having some fun with of late:
RFR LFL RFR LFL RFR LFL RFR LFL
So basically if you left out the bass drum your hands would be playing a swung/shuffle double stroke pattern like this:
ie. R R L L R R L L
Furthermore, divide your hands around the drum set and vary the tempo as before and you'll come up with some creative variations.
*Also, try substituting the hihat instead of the bass drum or mix it up between the two feet to further explore variations of these patterns.