Dotted 8th Over Straight 8th Hand Exercise

A more complex exercise in playing different rhythms over two hands. In this one hands plays straight 8ths while the other plays dotted eighths.

In this lesson you will be exanding on our 3 Over 2 Hand Co Ordination Exercise Using Only 8ths Notes lesson by double the value of the hand that was playing groups of three. In the previous lesson this was dotted quarter notes, so in these exercises you will be playing dotted eigth notes over straight eight notes. This may make more sense thought of in sixteenth notes. One hand will be playing a beat every second 16th count whilst the other plays a note every third 16th note count. This could be described as a basic syncopation as the hands combined creates accents in interesting and offbeat places.

The syncopated rhythm will be based around the bar shown below. In the notation I have included the count with the notes that play highlighted. Remember that every third sixteenth note count has a stroke on it. I will refer to this as the 'basic rhythm' in this lesson:

The syncopated rhythm

It would be worth spending some time getting this rhythm firmly planted in your head. It isn't the easiest of rhythms so be prepared to spend a little time working on it. The next step is going to be adding in straight eighth notes at the same time, some people actually find this easier than playing the rhythm on its own where others find it really difficult.

The intention of the exercise is to improve your ability to separate your hands in your head, allowing them to play independant parts to each other which will open up more options when constructing grooves and fills.

In the series of exercises that follow various different versions of the same exercise are going to be constructed. For the sake of ease anything played on the right hand will be notated on the floor tom and anything on the left the snare. You can switch this around to anything you like.

The final aim is to be able to shift your focus to either rhythm and ignore the other. You'll know you're doing it right when the part does become two independant rhythms being played together rather than a mechanical exercise.

Introductory Exercise

Before diving into the full exercises it might be worth trying this exercise. All patterns below are going to involve putting notes in between other notes and this simple exercise will familiarize you with that idea. What you have is a half bar pattern where on the first note you have both hands together, followed by a 'R L R' ending on beat 2. Counting and sticking has been included. I would recomended not progressing to the next exercise until you can play this comfortably.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise

Exercise 1

In this version you will play eighths on the right hand and the basic rhythm on the left, which will involve playing some left hands in between the rights as in the exercise above. This pattern is essentially two lots of the warm up exercise played twice with a shorter gap followed by a short version of it.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise

Exercise 2

Exercise 1 reversed. So eighths on the left and the basic rhythm on the right.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise

Exercise 3

As in the previous lesson, let's try extending the rhythm over two bars. This time you'll get five lots of the short phrase shown in the warm up exercise followed a single eighth note. When the pattern is repeated there are two lots of both hands together in a row.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise

Exercise 4

Exercise 3 with the hands reversed.

A multi rhythmed hand co ordination exercise


  1. Learn all exercises at a tempo of at least 140bpm.
  2. Experiment with different orchestrations.
  3. Add feet underneath as quarter notes. This will give you three separate rhythms.
  4. Try extending the pattern over four bars.