Left To Right Groove Reading Method

An alternative method of reading grooves, this time starting at the left of the bar and working through one stroke at a time.

In our Introduction To Grooves lesson series we showed how to approach a groove using the 'rhythm first' method. This was a great way of showing the fundamental rhythmic pattern of the groove and is very useful when writing a part to match a part such as the bass line or guitar riff. In this lesson I will be talking through another way of reading a groove that involves taking one note at a time starting at the beginning of the bar.

This can be very useful if you are relatively new to reading drum notation as it breaks the part down into very small managebale parts. You will only really need to apply this method if you are struggling with a groove.


I'll demonstrate this idea using on this page using the groove shown below. The process may seem a little long and drawn out through this lesson but when you start applying it practically you will move through it fairly quickly.

The idea applied as a fill

All you need to do with this method is read the music one stroke at a time. If you are reading the notation from a piece of paper it can be helpful to cover up the parts of the bar you aren't using. Through each step make sure you can play the section you are on before moving onto the next. You may reach a point where you start to struggle to put everything together but the point of this process is to build the part up slowly and elimate any problem areas as you go a long.

I'll now show you how the process works. From looking at the groove as a whole you can see that the right hand is playing eighth notes through out and all kick and snare notes fall with the hi hat. This means that the counting through the whole bar will be '1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +'. So in this process of breaking down we will start on beat 1 and add an eighth notes worth of the bar in each step. On beat 1 you have this:

Breaking down the original groove

This is a hi hat and a bass drum played at the same time (we have a full notation guide here) and you will count this as '1'.


With the next eighth note worth of music added you will have this:

Breaking down the original groove

So now you have the kick and hi hat from beat 1 a long with a hi hat on its own. The new hi hat will be counted with an '+' and the two notes together will be counted '1 +'. These two notes will be played at exactly the same speed.


As before, we'll add another 8th notes worth which will give you this:

Breaking down the original groove

The new beats worth of music has a hi hat played at the same time as a snare and is with a '2'. The counting for this section will be '1 + 2', all played at the same speed.


Again, we'll add another 8th notes worth which will give you this:

Breaking down the original groove

The new section this time is the same as in the second step, a hi hat played on its own counted as an '+'. The counting for this two beat section will be '1 + 2 +'.


With the next 8th notes worth of music you get this:

Breaking down the original groove

The new beat is the same as beat 1, a bass drum and hi hat played together but this time counted with a '3'. This short section will be counted '1 + 2 + 3' all at the same speed.


Here it is with another 8th notes worth:

Breaking down the original groove

You've actually got the same thing as the previous step here, a hi hat and bass drum played together but this time as an '+' count. The counting here is '1 + 2 + 3 +'.


Here it is with another 8th notes worth:

Breaking down the original groove

This new part has been used before earlier in the bar, it is a snare and hi hat played together, this time counted as '4'. This section of the bar will be counted '1 + 2 + 3 + 4'. Nearly there now!


Finally, with the last eighth note added you get the full bar:

Breaking down the original groove

The last note is a hi hat on its own counted as an '+' and the counting for the full bar is '1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +' as mentioned above.


Through each step you should be playing the short extract, stopping, then playing it again until you can play the part at the correct rhythm. This can be done very slowly but try to build each part up to a decent speed.


TASK

  1. Apply this method to other grooves within our Level 1 Grooves Area.