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Some Two Drum Rhythms

Usually, the second drum is used as a measure marker; that is, one note per measure is played on it, and there are numerous variations. More interesting is when the second drum is integrated into counterpoint with the first. The following rhythms are of this type.

 

This first one is a Samba rhythm for congas and is based on the common Samba ago-go bell pattern:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|x   x   X X   x|  x   X X   X  | bell x=high X=low

|O t O t     t O|t O t     t   t| high

|        O O    |      O O   O  | low

 r l r l r r l r l r l r r l r l

 

This variation uses a slap for emphasis.

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|x   x   X X   x|  x   X X   X  | bell x=high X=low

|O t S t     t O|t S t     t   t| high

|        O O    |      O O   O  | low

 r l r l r r l r l r l r r l r l

 

This third example uses many open tones, but is too cluttered for use as a foundation rhythm and should be mixed in with other variations.

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|x   x   X X   x|  x   X X   X  | bell x=high X=low

|O t S t     t O|t S O     O   O| high

|        O O    |      O O   O  | low

 r l r l r r l r l r l r r l r l

 

There are several practical variations and, in use, one would mix several to create longer phrasing. The key figures to include in the variations are open tones on the "1" and "4 &" of the first measure. This gives it its syncopation.

 

The fourth example is a particularly energetic one for use when the drums are on stands. In this case, the left hand can be brought over to the right drum. The example uses almost all open tones, but, in use, one would mix it with variations having one or more additional touches and/or slaps.

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|x   x   X X   x|  x   X X   X  |  bell x=high X=low

|O O O O       O|t O O O       O|  high

|        O O O  |        O O O  |  low

 r l r l r l r l r l r l r l r l

 

Merengue:

 

The critical notes for merengue on congas are five open tones at the beginning:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|O O O O O   t S|t       t   S  |high

|               |    O          |low

 r l r l r   l r l   r   l   r

 

on stands and full blown:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|            O S|S       S O S O| high

|O O O O O      |    O          | low

 r l r l r   l r l   r   r l r l

 

Combining rhythms that are normally played by separate drummers:

 

(Please add "sounds like" to the names of all of these. They are not ethnographic transcriptions. -Luis)

 

Atsiagbeko

 

separate drummers:

 

|1 2 3 1 2 3|1 2 3 1 2 3|

|P   O P OOO|P   O P   O| high

|t O O O t t|t O O O t t| low

 

one drummer:

 

|1 2 3 1 2 3|1 2 3 1 2 3|

|P   O P  O |P   O P   O| high l hand

|        O O|           | high r hand

|  O   O    |  O   O t  | low r hand

 

Abacua

 

separate drummers:

 

|1 2 3 1 2 3|1 2 3 1 2 3|

|O   t   O  |t   O   t  | high

|O   t t   t|O   t t   t| low

 

one drummer:

 

|1 2 3 1 2 3|1 2 3 1 2 3|

|O   t   O  |t   O   t  | high r hand

|O     t    |O     t    | low  l hand  (drums are reversed)

 

or:

 

|1 2 3 1 2 3|1 2 3 1 2 3|

|  t t S   t|t S   P O O| high r hand

|O       O  |    O      |  low l hand

 r l r l r l r l r l r l (drums are reversed)

 

Guaguanco

 

one drummer:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|O   t O t     t|t   t t t     t|  high

|            O  |            O  |  low

 r   l r l   r l r   l r l   r l

 

Bata rhythms

 

one drummer:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|S       S      |S       S      | high l hand

|        O   O  |      O     O  | high r hand

|O   O          |  O            | low r hand

 

or:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|    t   O     t|    O   t     O| high l hand

|t     O     t  |O     t     O  | low r hand

 r   l r l   r l r   l r l   r l

 

or:

 

|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &|

|    t   O     O|    t   O     O| high l hand

|B     O     O  |O     O     O  | low r hand

|r   l r l   r l r   l r l   r l

 

 

Jim's Notes: A Course in Drumming

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