Jim's Notes: A Course in Drumming Learning Rhythms



The quickest way to pick up a rhythm is by imitation. And, the quickest way to imitate a rhythm is by faking it. If you just do what you hear, you have a 90% chance of doing it right. This is because most human derived rhythms result from "instinctive" playing, and are therefore done with the most natural "instinctive" technique.


Drum Languages:


Memorizing the sound of several rhythms at a time is very confusing because the drums will sound the same in each piece. However, we do have highly developed language centers. By assigning to each different stroke a syllable that sounds like the note on the drum (onomatopes), the rhythm can be made into a song that is easier to remember. In most cultures, the syllables are those already common in the language and are easy to say rapidly. Here are sounds that can be used in the American English drum language (a variation of Go Do Pa Ta)


Open tone (O) De, Da, Do as in deh, dah, do

Bass (B) Dn, Bm, Gn   long, low pitched

Slap (S) Dit, Dak     short, sharp

Touch (t) T           short, quiet




DeDeDn  DeDeDit DeDeDn  DeDe

O O B   O O S   O O B   O O

r l r - r l r - r l r - r l