Why is it a challenge to play the left foot independently as a quarter pulse in a rhythmic phrase?

d.heine

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
Location
Freiburg
Hello everybody,
i have been practicing five groups with my students for some time. (See the link below for more information.) When you play in triplets, they are often confused. To make it easier to empathize, i let them clap every fifth accent when they walk the quarter note. 1 , 2'' , 4 ' ; 2 , 3 '' ; 1 ' , 3 , 4'' ; 2' , 4 ; Then the five clave, then the opposite. As soon as they sit on the drums and the hi-hat takes over both feet, everything works differently. Why is it difficult to play the left foot independently as a quarter pulse in a rhythmic phrase? What exercise can you recommend?
Thank you for your reply!
 
Last edited:

Seb77

DFO Veteran
Joined
Apr 11, 2013
Messages
2,302
Reaction score
915
Location
Germany
Something's strange with your post. It's all hyperlink and it leads to a login site, not a pdf, picture or anything.

Do you mean triplets in groups of five? What is the five clave? What do you mean by the hi-hat taking over both feet?

As for why independence is difficult, I think when you learn a new polyrhythm, in the beginning there is no independence, it's all coordination, the student needs to figure out what happens simultaneously and consecutively. For example, with triplets alternating RLR, the problem might already be that the quarter noe pules is simultaenous with the R hand on one count, and with the L on the next.
After a while this becomes "automated", but in the beginning it needs to be conscious, which means taking it slow, and taking one step at a time - here, no accents at first, then simple accent patterns, maybe on one hand only (quarter note triplets) or one the same part of each triplet.

Greetings to a fellow southern German - Grüßle :)
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
316
Reaction score
301
Seb77 has the answer. I'd add that it helps if you keep a straight pulse with the hats most of the time and not drop it out because a countervailing rhythm with another limb disturbs your independence and/or balance. I would lose a hat pulse fast when that happened starting out, and it presented all sorts of problems later.
 

BlueJay

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
13
Location
Detroit suburbs
Welll..... I didn't start playing till after high school and didn't learn to read for a little while. I had been beating on furniture for a while and made up my own little graphic thing. I always imagined trying to learn a new coordination pattern (espec 4 limbs) thinking of myself as a cross between a rock-em sock-em robot (with feet) and a player piano that has a paper roll with notches that cause the individual keys (or limbs in our case) to fire as the paper roll passes by at a consistent rate. Example, when I first learned the bossa nova, I found that if I drew up 'paper rolls' that isolated just one limb, or two limbs, or three limbs really helped me with visualization and feel as I was developing it. In particular, I found that if I varied which of the 3 limbs I would play that at a certain point all 4 limbs just started working. To be even more specific, I found that playing just ride, snare and bass drum (no hh foot) ... then playing snare, bass and hh foot (no ride) were the key exercises. Of course, starting slow with patience and focus is key. It's basically a strictly technical exercise until you get enough feel with the pattern to groove on it. This approach has helped me over the years learning other things as well. I'm attaching a PDF I made of a 'paper roll' of a standard rock beat that illustrates what I'm talking about. Hopefully this is somewhat clear and will be helpful.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

JDA

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
16,908
Reaction score
5,680
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
Quarter notes on left foot will intersect with odd groupings

5) 1...3...5...2...4....1
3) 1....3....2.....1

etc

Having trouble holding it together?
 

Hop

DFO Veteran
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
2,237
Reaction score
699
Location
L.A., CA

OK.... I think I got the basics of what you're doing.... You're going over 5-note groupings… You've given the students a triplet based exercise and you are asking them to accent every 5th note?
If that is the case, that can be a pretty challenging exercise, in my opinion. It takes so long to resolve it's easy to get lost. If played in 4/4, it takes five-measures to get back to the "1."

I don't know what level your students are at, but I would try something that resolves a bit quicker, like setting up an exercise in 5/4, using triplets, accenting the start of a 5 note group, hi hat playing the quarter note pulse (this exercise can help with odd times and poly-rhythms too). Also this version has them lead with the left hand on the second measure (or every other measure if played consecutively).

I've attached a image, it's not in a standard staff notation, but if you've got some beginners this may help to visualize it better.


5-4_Trip_Quarter.jpg




After practicing it as 5/4, I would then have them play it as 1 measure of 4/4, where they just drop that last triplet (the 5-2-3), then in groupings it becomes 5-5-2 pattern of 8-note triplets in 4/4 time.
Then you can repeat that process and go to two measures of 4/4 playing a 5-5-5-5-4 or 5-5-2-5-5-2 or 5-5-2-2-5-5 or......
 
Last edited:

Old PIT Guy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2019
Messages
316
Reaction score
301
I think it helps if there's a musical payoff to struggling with difficult exercises. Virgil Donati touches here on feeling triplet groupings and using that to create groove ideas -

 

Latest posts



Top