Using Todd Bishop’s jazz ostinato method, we’re going to continue working on our 7/4 playing. The exercise below has a repeating right hand/right foot/left foot pattern, with variations coming from the left hand snare part. These are great exercises to help you internalise the 7/4 swing pattern and to expand your 7/4 vocabulary. Enjoy!
Continuing with the theme of odd time vocabulary development, here’s an exercise designed to help you get more comfortable in 7/4. It’s based on a John Riley comping exercise from his ‘Art of Bop Drumming’ book. Make sure the pattern at the top of the page swings comfortably before attempting the comping phrases.
- First, play the 8th note phrases on the snare. Then try moving the phrases on to the kick & left foot hi-hat.
- Next, play the phrase on the kick drum with continuous swung 8th notes ‘filling in the gaps’ on the snare.
- Now move on to the 8th note triplet phrases. As before, keep the right hand ride pattern swinging with the comping phrases in support of the ‘dominant’ ride pattern.
Justin Brown – Odd-Time Master
After listening Ambrose Akinmusire over the last few weeks, I’ve been inspired to continue developing my odd-time playing. Having posted numerous 5/4 exercises, I now want to start concentrating on 7/4.
Below is the triplet warm-up exercise from John Riley’s Beyond Bop Drumming book adapted into 7/4.
Using the 7/4 swing pattern at the top of the page, play the comping phrases underneath at a mezzo piano dynamic. Make sure to keep the right hand swinging.
As with other odd-time signatures, it’s helpful to divide bars of 7/4 into smaller chunks. A common division of 7/4 is the 4-3 division (counted as one bar of 4, one bar of 3). The swing pattern at the top of the page can be counted easily as a 4-3 division.
Here are more exercises to help you develop your 5/4 swing vocabulary. Apply the same process as the first instalment with the 5/4 phrases acting as comping material over a 5/4 swing pattern:
We can also take this further and start ‘filling in the gaps’ using the 8th note comping phrases:
- Play the phrase on the kick drum and ‘fill in’ the 8th notes on the snare drum. Bars 1-2 will look like this:
- Play the phrase on the left foot hi-hat and ‘fill in’ the 8th notes on the snare drum. Like this:
- Next, play the ‘short’ 8th notes from the phrase on the left foot hi-hat. Play the ‘long’ 1/4 notes on the kick. Bars 1-2:
Now apply these three methods for all 16 bars of the 8th note comping phrases.
Having a list of warm-ups that help you flex your muscles both mentally and physically should be the aim for any drummer. Below is a warm-up based on a comping exercise adapted from John Riley’s Beyond Bop Drumming book. I’ve converted the original 4/4 exercise into 5 beat phrases and placed them under a 5/4 swing pattern. Make sure you keep the right hand swinging and play the comping phrases with a mezzo piano dynamic.