Drum Kit Solo 3 - Rhythmic Themes In 6/8

A two page drum kit solo in the time signature of 6/8 making use of several rhythmic themes.

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The PDF file above contains the notation for a level 1 drum solo. This piece combines various ideas learned in level 1 lessons and focuses on basic grooves, fills, dynamics and rhythms all in the time signature of 6/8. Below is a list of recomended lessons to help with this solo along with a brief breakdown of each section. The intention with this piece is to give you an idea of how individual ideas from this level can be combined to create a piece. I have also tried to introduce the idea of using 'rhythmic themes' in your playing, more on that in the break down later in the page. Whilst this piece isn't particularly exciting or flashy, it is a good starting point to create more complex solos as your playing develops.

With this piece I have tried to push the difficulty a little so it is verging on being a level 2.


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Piece Breakdown

A (bars 1 - 8)

The piece starts with a two bar pattern that contains the first of the rhythmic themes discussed above. In the first bar you have two groups of three played 'snare kick kick' with a crash on the snare. This pattern will crop up later in the piece several times as a basis for a fill. The idea of this first section is that the play the 'theme' followed by a bar of fill. Remember when counting in 6/8, sixteenth notes are counted 1+2+3+4+5+6+, if you are struggling with timing it would be worth writing it underneath.

B (bars 9 - 24)

This section is built from an 8 bar pattern that follows an 'A A A B A A A C' style structure. The 'A' parts are all a straight forward 6/8 groove. The 'B' section (bar 12) in this case adds a snare and open hi hat at the end of the bar, whilst the 'C' (bar 16) plays the rhythmic theme from the start. The eighth bar pattern is then played a gain with an alternate last two bars. The rhythmic theme is played a bar earlier followed by a sixteenth note roll around the kit. That creates a sort of two bar fill.

C (bars 25 - 32)

This section introduces a second rhythmic theme. You have a simple single stroke roll pattern played at the snare that starts soft and gradually builds up over four bars. Underneath that you have what I like to describe as the 'heart beat' rhythm on the bass drum, this is the rhythmic theme for this section. In the second line this rhythm is emphasized with a slightly more challening versions of the single stroke pattern that plays different toms through the bar. You will notice that the toms start on the floor tom and to the high tom via the mid tom then back to the floor tom, again via the mid tom, for the start of the next bar. Don't be afraid to slow this pattern right down to help make sense of it. It is worth removing the feet and sorting the hands out first too.

D (bars 33 - 48)

Through this part of the piece you are playing four lots of a four bar pattern. That pattern is built of a groove with a dotted crotchet right hand through out and the 'heart beat' rhythm from the section above split between the kick and snare. Each fill is a variation of the rhythmic theme from the start but the orchestration is re arranged. For example at the end of the first line, rather than playing 'snare kick kick' you now play 'kick snare snare'. Each line has it's own version of this with the last one having a stop to lead back into the next section.

C (bars 49 - 56)

This is almost a repeat of the previous C section. The difference is that the second line with the toms is slightly more complex again this time. Notice that the movement around the toms is now spread over two bars and the fill in bar 56 goes a bit crazy. There is some logic there so hopefully it isn't as difficult as it looks. The right hand will be moving around the toms whilst the left stays still, just play it really slowly and find the 'melody'.

B (bars 57 - 72)

Again, this is almost a repeat of the previous B section. More open hi hats have been added through the grooves and the fills have been altered slightly.

A (bars 73 - 81)

This is also very similar to the first occurance of this section. The fills in every second bar have just been orchestrated slightly differently. Remember to use counting if you are unsure of the rhythm.


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Have you noticed the overall structure of this solo? It follows a 'mirrored structure' or 'pallindrome structure'. You play through the 'A B C D' sections then you go back through the sections to end on 'A', meaning the structure is the same backwards as it is forwards.