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  • Bass Drum Emphasis

    Hello there,

    I know a 4/4 is played Strong, Weak, Medium, Weak...

    But how do the rest of them go? I saw that this question was answered before, but there wasn't a solid agreement on compound time signatures and weird time signatures like a 5/4.

    I'm hoping for a discussion and not an argument.

    Thanks.
    mailing
    Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
    Last edited by mailing; 06-10-2017, 09:05 PM. Reason: Stupid question mark at the end

  • #2
    Re: Bass Drum Emphasis

    Let's see.

    My basic model for a tune I do not know (meaning the pipers launch into something we have not worked on as a group before or I'm sitting in with a band that is not my own) my basic form for 4/4 Marches is... Eighth notes -

    the pickup ("and" of 4) is a left hand downstroke, count 1 (1st bar) is a right hand down stroke - then steady eighths through out. left hand plays an up stroke on the "and" of 1 - right hand plays an upstroke on 2 - AND it starts over.

    So, the 1st down stroke on the right hand is a heavy stroke, the right hand upstrke (count 2) is a medium stroke and all the left hand strokes (the "and" of each beat) is weak. The next down stroke (right hand again, still!) is another heavy stroke and the next right hand stroke (upstroke) is another medium stroke.

    This gives you heavy strokes on each left foot, more moderate strokes on the right foot and each "and" is a weak or light stroke on the left hand. Do this three times and you resolve the phrase with 3 heavy downstrokes on the right hand, followed by a rest.

    This is a basic pattern that will work with 4/4 marches. If you know the tune and the score the sides are playing, you can alter this basic pattern to fit them and support the sides and the pipe corps. This might be crescendos in places, dropping out strokes in places, whatever - it just depends on the tune and the scores.

    Does this help?
    Pete
    FUBAR Highlanders P&D
    ====
    Good Drumming: Pure Magic

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Bass Drum Emphasis

      Good stuff, Pete! But what about other time signatures?
      Why lacrosse is better than baseball:
      Because hitting a person and then running to a ball is better than hitting a ball and running to a person. From Lax Magazine

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Bass Drum Emphasis

        Well, let's see... for marches... (dance timings are a little different)...

        2/4s I tend to follow the same basic pattern as a 4/4 - except the resolution bar is handled differently. HOW differently, depends on the tune. Most folks find the 1-2-1 (rest) to work well enough - and truth be told, for massed band type stuff that is what I tend to stick with simply because when surrounded by people of varying caliber, a solid, predictable beat is helpful.

        6/8s are similar to 2/4s - but swung, e.g., a 1--a 2--a 1--a 2--a... or if you're a bit of musical purist - 6 1 - 3 4 - 6 1 - 3 4 - 6...

        I play the same hand motions for 2/4s and 6/8s, so the right hand down stroke is coming on the left foot, with the right hand up stroke coming on the right foot - so left foot gets a strong beat and right foot gets a more mild beat.

        OK? More later...
        Pete
        FUBAR Highlanders P&D
        ====
        Good Drumming: Pure Magic

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bass Drum Emphasis

          OK - Retreat marches - 3/4s...

          Keep the same hand-to-hand feel. However, the motion itself will alter slightly. Also, the motion I use & teach is a bit different than the approach commonly presented by other instructors. Instead of straight eighth notes, the first beat is a dotted eighth note on count One, followed by a sixteenth note on the “Ah” of One (the fourth sixteenth note in the beat). The rest of the measure is eighth notes. So, we get “One—ah Two-and Three-and.”

          Keep the 1 on the right hand as a down stroke followed by a left hand down stroke on the “Ah” of 1. The 2 is on the right hand and is also a down stroke. The “And” of 2 is on the left hand as an up stroke. The 3 is an up stroke with the right hand, leaving the “And” of 3 as a left hand down stroke.

          So, the first and third measures will work out so count 1 & 3 are on the left foot. The second and fourth measures, count 1 is on the right foot. Ummm - not that bog a problem. Simply emphasize measures 1 & 3 a but more than 2 & 4.

          Yeah, it takes a bit of practice, but, once you try it things are not that complicated.

          For 9/8s, similar hand pattern, rhythm is sung (pointed) like a 6/8.

          OK?

          (I know you asked about 5/4s, I'm considering how to respond...)
          Pete
          FUBAR Highlanders P&D
          ====
          Good Drumming: Pure Magic

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bass Drum Emphasis

            This is brilliant. I know this is going to help a lot of people. I've heard so many bands that just play a straight pulse of HARD HARD HARD HARD and I want to see more bands playing properly.

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            • #7
              Re: Bass Drum Emphasis

              Thanks - not sure about brilliant, but... anyway -

              As for 5/4s - thin 3/4s on steroids. Same basic hand motion & pulse pattern (1 - a 2 & 3 &) - then, I add a light pulse on 4 and a stronger pulse on 5 - setting up a moderate downbeat on 1. Measure 2, similar, but no stroke on 5 - so 1 - a 2+ 3+ 4 - with a gap on 5 - and a strong pulse/downbeat on 1 of the next bar. This gives a solid pulse on 1 on the left foot in measure 1 & 3, and a weaker pulse in measure 2 & 4 (the right foot...)

              Then keep the pattern going as appropriate to the tune. OK?

              I will be at Embro, Kincardine & Cambridge this season - and Fergus in mid-August if you want to touch base for a more in depth discussion.

              Good luck!
              Pete
              FUBAR Highlanders P&D
              ====
              Good Drumming: Pure Magic

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bass Drum Emphasis

                Originally posted by mailing View Post
                This is brilliant. I know this is going to help a lot of people. I've heard so many bands that just play a straight pulse of HARD HARD HARD HARD and I want to see more bands playing properly.
                I call this "Galley ship drumming" not pleasant to listen to at all....dull and boring.....much prefer bass drumming that moves and groves...

                Bang bang bang bang....is not music it is what we all did as kids with our mothers pots and pans.

                As a piper I feel that bad bass drumming can ruin a tune completely and that good drumming can elevate it to new heights!
                Randy

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