Last time, in “Clave Samba Independence Part 1,” we worked on some exercises to develop facility within the Clave Samba framework. The basis of that framework? The cymbal hand plays the clave rhythm and the bass drum and hi hat foot play the samba pattern. The point of “Part One” was to free up the left hand to be able to play whatever you want while maintaining the framework.
The exercises from Part One were good for developing that independence, but they do sound like exercises; playing them on the gig would not be an option. In Part Two, I wanted to present some musical sounding patterns that you could actually apply to your playing.
Here goes….have at it. Download the PDF here: Clave Samba Independence Part Two
My initial thoughts? It is going to be very cool when I have some real freedom to play independently with my left hand versus the right hand clave and samba foot pattern.
More to come….
In the meantime, here is the PDF so you can try it: Clave Samba Independence Part One
This idea comes from checking out Steve Gadd on “Samba Song,” from Chick Corea’s “Friends” album. It’s a fantastic example of how you can take patterns you already know and manipulate them to create great sounding drum grooves or licks.
First off, what do we mean by a “reverse” paradiddle? I think of a reverse or backwards paradiddle as the pattern that results from starting in the middle of the paradiddle pattern. Starting with the single paradiddle sticking: RLRR LRLL, we reverse it by playing it as the following: RRLR LLRL. You can also start the “backwards” or “reverse” pattern with your left hand, like this: LLRL RRLR.
To apply this idea to a samba, simply play the reverse paradiddle with your right hand on the hi hat and left hand on the snare, and play the samba bass drum pattern with your bass drum foot beneath it. When playing with my right hand on the hi hat, I choose to omit the left foot part of the standard samba feet pattern (the “ands” when thinking in sixteenth notes, or “two” and “four” when thinking in eighth notes). No left foot necessary. I just like the way it sounds better this way.
If you move your right hand to the ride cymbal, you might consider adding the left foot back into the mix.
Check out the PDF, which lays out a bunch of exercises for you to try.
Here’s the PDF: 10 Exercises To Develop The Reverse Paradiddle Samba
The key to making this sound really cool is to move the accents around with your left hand on the snare. Make sure that the unaccented notes are played very quietly and you’ll have a smoking samba that sounds much harder to play than it is….
The introductory exercises on Samba Independence (Part One), were meant to get the beginning drummer used to the samba bass drum pattern and the majority of common snare drum variations that could be played against that pattern. The cymbal pattern used in that introductory set of exercises was simple eighth notes….a “straight” pattern of continuous eighth notes.
In our follow up, Part Two, we introduce the ride cymbal pattern that is more likely to be required on a real gig. It’s the flattened-out, latin or funk equivalent of the jazz ride cymbal pattern. Playing the left hand/snare drum variations is a little trickier with this cymbal pattern, but that is the whole point of the exercises…..to develop the desired independence. The independence developed through the practice of these exercises will give you the necessary coordination to play bossa novas as well. As an extra side benefit, your ability to play doubles with your bass drum foot will be improve too. If you are working towards playing jazz, I would strongly recommend working through these exercises using the “heel down” bass drum pedal technique….you’ll have more control over your volume this way.
Go slow at first if you need to…..precision is more important than speed.
Here is the PDF for you to download: Samba Independence Part Two
Samba independence is an essential skill for a well rounded drummer. I came up with these two pages of exercises to help you develop the required independence to play these types of grooves on the drum set. For those of you new to Samba, these grooves are adapted for drumset from what Brazilian percussion ensembles play on multiple percussion instruments. I don’t really want to get into the details of how this translation occurred in this post, but if you would like to read up on it, you can check out an excellent book on the subject, “Brazilian Rhythms For Drumset,” by Duduka Da Fonseca and Bob Weiner available from CPP Media.
The essence of the groove for drumset revolves around a repeating rhythm with the bass drum–a dotted eighth sixteenth note figure repeated over and over–while the left hand freely plays accents on the snare or other drums, and the cymbal hand plays either a repeating cymbal pattern or sometimes in unison with the left hand (I am assuming you’re right handed). Finally, the hi-hat foot often plays all the upbeats (“ands”) simultaneously.
To get you started on the road to playing Samba, these two pages–download them here: Samba Independence Part One PDF — take you through various common possibilities with your left hand while maintaining eighth notes with the cymbal hand. The bass drum and hi-hat patterns that are mentioned above are played simultaneously. There are other commonly used cymbal variations, but for now, the eighth note pattern is enough to get you started…..after all, this is “Part 1.”
The worksheet gives you 27 independence exercises followed by 7 grooves. The Samba grooves on page 2 will allow you to test out your new independence skills. If you wish, try the exercises without the left foot hi-hat pattern at first…just playing the bass drum pattern against all the hand variations will be hard enough in the beginning. You can add the left foot in later, once you are comfortable with the exercises with just the bass drum.
A side benefit to working on these exercises is the development of your bass drum technique. I originally wrote these exercises in order to help a student who was having trouble playing doubles on the bass drum…..after only an hour with these sheets her bass drum doubles technique had improved.
Have fun and feel free to ask any questions.