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Tutorials/Syncopated drumming exercise

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"What I would like to do is to set up Rhythms to help me learn some syncopated drumming exercises, such as this one from Tommy Igoe's Great Hands for a Lifetime drumming instruction video:

Igoe's Great Hands Accents Example 7

Does Bounce Metronome support these kinds of four-measure groups of differently accented notes?"

question from Ralph Blanchette, Clinton Corners, NY USA

Contents

Solution

Yes you can do it. Best place to start is probably the Drum and Dance metronome.

Select Drum and Dance Metronome

Then you enter the desired rhythm in music notation.

Edit the rhythm for the drum and dance metronome

This is the actual text for the music notation - you can copy / paste, it will turn into the music font when pasted into the window:

syncopated drumming exercise !
part 1 Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |
part 3 ± ± ± ± | ± ± ± ± | ± ± ± ± | ± ± ± ± |

Start count anew at start of each measure

You probably want to set it up so that it starts the count anew at start of each measure, and counts quarter notes (crotchets). You do that in Beats Per Measure for Counting System (Ctrl + 248).

Beats Counting System for the syncopated drumming exercise

Most of these numbers get filled in automatically when you make the rhythm. Just two changes shown in red.

I've set the preferred total number of beats to 16 - that's 4 beats each for the 4 bars of the exercise, so 16 beats in all.

I've also set it to use the suggested bar sizes for the beat counting system - this makes sure it starts the count at 1 at the start of each measure.

How to Add the accents

First you need to unaccent all the beats at once using Ctrl + right click.

Then right click on each beat you want to accent in the rhythm.

If you are blind so relying on a screen reader to listen to the screen, you can accent beats using Beats As Text (Ctrl + 77) - which can also be a quick way for sighted users too:

Here are the numbers for you to copy / paste into Beats As Text (Ctrl + 77) for this exercise:

127 41.91 127 41.91 127 41.91 127 41.91 127 41.91 41.91 127 41.91 41.91 127 41.91 41.91 41.91 127 41.91 41.91 127 41.91 41.91 41.91 127 41.91 127 41.91 127 41.91 127 

How to show the accents visually

It will be hard to play this exercise with no visual cue to show you when to accent the beats. So need to set that up as well.

One way to do this is to use Beats Counting System (Ctrl + 246)

Then set it up like this:

Custom Syllables for the Accents

Switch on the "Set custom syllables" option and enter this as your custom syllables:

Part 2: > _ >  _ > _  >  _ > _ _ > _ _ > _ _ _ > _ _ > _  _ _ > _ > _ > _ > 

There the > is for the accent symbol obviously, and the _ is for an unlabelled beat(any underlines get changed to spaces).

Better ways to do it in the future

This is a work around. It works okay in 2D as the accent symbols get positioned immediately above the notes in part 1. But in 3D then the symbols don't align visually because of perspective.

To fix this I will need to add a new feature to add extra labels immediately above the beat numbers, and to automatically label accents in this way. Needs a bit of thought about how best to do it.

Another idea for the future is to let the ball / drumstick bounce directly on the score which you could import into the program as an image - needs some way to say where the balls should bounce on the image.

First Video with the accented beats

Here is the result


An elegant solution by Ralph Blanchette

Ralph Planchette's solution

Tommy Igoe Accent Ex 7 : Pt.1 Stressed, Pt.2 Unstressed, Pt/3 Foot Tap ! 
part 1 Ä à Ä à Ä à Ä à  | Ä à à Ä  à à Ä à  | à à Ä à  à Ä à à |à Ä à Ä  à Ä à Ä |
part 2 Ö - - µ Ö - - µ |
part 3 ±    ±   ±   ±    |

Ingenious thing about this solution is that no accent symbols are needed, you can see clearly which syllables are accented by the notes and rests in part 1. BTW so long as you have "Synchronise Beats" selected in Dance rhythms - or any other rhythms with skipped beats (Ctrl + 228), you only need to do one measure (indeed if all notes are the same could do only one beat) in the last two parts, as in this example.

Adding an extra part as a visual cue for the accents

Here, I've added an extra part for the accented notes, Part 2:

Edit the rhythm for the drum and dance metronome

Again here is the text for the music notation:

syncopated drumming exercise !
part 1 Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ Ö µ |
part 2 ± ± ± ± |±. ±. ± | _± ±. ±.|_Ä ± ± ± Ä_ |
part 3 ± ± ± ± | ± ± ± ± | ± ± ± ± | ± ± ± ± |

Video with bounce on the accented notes only

Here is what it's like when ready:


This video shows a drum stick bouncing only on the accented notes.

Not meant to show how to play the rhythm.

The idea is just to give you a clear visual cue to help you to see in advance when to play the accents. Perhaps this might help when you practise the rhythm.

What it looks like in the main window

This is what the main window for the Drum and Dance metronome looks like when it is all set up as described for the video:

Drum and Dance Metronome set up for the syncopated drumming rhythm exercise

Notice I've hidden all the bouncing ball parts apart from the syncopated beats.

Ideas for the future

  • New option to add extra labels immediately above the beat numbers
  • New option to automatically label all accented beats in this way with the symbol >.
  • Some way to let the ball / drumstick bounce directly on the score which you could import into the program as an image
  • Indicate visually when to play with left or with right hand, and stereo pan accordingly

How to indicate left and right (for future)

The left and right indication could be done the same way as for the paradiddle, add extra part which for this exercise is muted for first four bars, and do it a an eight bar exercise, part for left hand only plays the last four bars, part for right hand only plays first four bars. Then stereo pan the parts accordingly and could split visually so the left hand part is in left half of the screen.

Only thing is, by the time you have 4 bars, each of 8 notes (including eighth notes) and split into two visually then there isn't really enough room to display them visually on a typical monitor and too much to take in. So something more sophisticated probably needed there.

Another idea is to use a lyric with L and R as the "words".

Also could have left and right hand graphic symbols flash up - though for patterns with rapid alternation of hands might be a bit bewildering.

Will explore and try things out - be sure to say if you have any ideas about any of this!

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(By Robert Walker)