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PRIVATE DRUM LESSON 13 E-M
"Classic Swing 5/4"
Copyright 1998 Bill Powelson all rights reserved
Classic Swing 5/4
If you have mastered the Jazz Waltz beat in the previous lesson,
this will be a piece of cake. 5/4 is a very uncommon time . . . based on
five quarter notes to the bar, it has a somewhat lop-sided and uncomfortable
The Permutation and Time Signature lessons have taught us that there are at least
1,099,511,627,776 potential variations of 5/4. With that in mind, it is interesting to note that this one single version, the 'Swing' version is by far the most notable.
After studying it here, it may be helpful to locate and listen to a song based on this rhythm. One old jazz tune comes to mind. Look for a song called 'Take Five' by Dave Brubeck. I think this song has hit the charts two separate times. Most of the larger record stores should be able you order you a copy. It was originally on an album called 'Time Out' by Dave Brubeck.
This Classic Swing version of 5/4 is really very simple if you already have the Jazz Waltz memorized. Simply add two more quarter notes to Jazz Waltz and repeat indefinitely. The math is simple: 2/4 + 3/4 = 5/4. Play around with this beat and discover your own variations. It may help to mention that all your expertise with Swing Independence will come in handy as you begin to experiment with variations of this unique and different beat pattern.
FILLS: It may be best to begin all your fills on the first
count of the measure. If you play 5 groups of most fills . . . you will come
out on the first count of the next measure. Later on, you may want to experiment
with fills that begin on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even the 5th count of the measure. Again,
the only thing that really matters is that you maintain the five count flow in every bar.
If you lose track in the middle of a song, the entire band will come apart like a house of cards. It can get downright ugly! Be careful!
VIDEO: 5/4 with a single stroke fill, beginning on the 3rd count of the bar.
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Copyright Bill Powelson 1996 all rights reserved.