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ODD TIME RHYTHM GAMES was Maybe why Avante-garde looping in US...
Luis Angulo (one of the funkiest musicians I've ever had the pleasure to
play with) asked:
"Rick, i was asked one time to explain the rumba clave
in 6/8.............how would you explain it with syllables?"
I love this one because it is a great example of "playing odds in the
You can think of the 6/8 Rumba Clave as a combination of the phrases
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
This rhythm, it is interesting to know, is almost non existent in West
whereas the 6/8 Son Clave is found almost everywhere.
You can think of 6/8 Son Clave as 7 + 5
1 2 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 1 2 3
PLAYING ODDS in the EVENS
Here's a great game, by the way.
If the 12 notes of 6/8 can be played as 7 + 5
then two bars can be thought of as 7 + 5 + 7 + 5
Rearrange those phrases and you get 7 + 7 + 5 + 5
By doing this you have now played a phrase of 14 and a phrase of 10
The first phrase of 14 then crossed the bar line.
In 4/4 with 16th notes you can play 9 + 7 + 9 + 7 = 9 + 9 + 7 + 7
two exact bars of 4/4
Try this concept as a soloing idea over a typical funk groove and tell
band mates to hold onto their hats
(and the groove).
It sounds like you have gone to Mars in your solo and yet you land right
back on good 'ol ONE when you finish the phrase.
In 6/8 I love to play this game by rearranging these simple addition
12 = 3 + 9
= 5 + 7
So , in two bars you can get a beautiful cascading phrase that diminishes
9 + 7 + 5 + 3
Try this now in 4/4 (using 16ths again)
16 = 13 + 3
= 11 + 5
= 9 + 7
So, in three bars you can play 13 + 11 + 9 + 7 + 5 + 3 This
nicely (and is easy for an audience to hear though
difficult to hold the groove underneath it...................lol, but
good for your rhythm section to learn how to play it)
This brings me to a concept that I have come up with myself about using
It's what I call the concept of the BROKEN PULSE.
<A broken pulse is any even pulse that has one note added to the last
> > >
If I play a rhythm of 6 notes I can get 3 EVEN PULSES Ta ki Ta ki Ta
Sing: 1 * 2 * 3 *
> > > >
If I play a rhythm of 8 notes I get 4 EVEN PULSES Ta ki Ta ki
Ta ki Ta ki
Sing: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 *
> > >
If I play a rhythm of 7 notes I get what I call 3 BROKEN PULSES Ta
Ta ki Ta ki ta
Sing: 1 * 2 * 3 * *
where the last pulse has one more note in it causing a 'skipping' feeling.
A really fast way of practising combinations of ODD time signature phrases
is to memorize all the pulses of the common ODD time signatures.
3 = 1 Broken Pulse = 1 * *
5 = 2 Broken Pulses = 1 * 2* *
7 = 3 Broken Pulses = 1 * 2 * 3 * *
9 = 4 Broken Pulses = 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * *
11 = 5 Broken Pulses = 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * *
and so on........
A way to practise these phrases is by singing, (with 9 as an example) 1
2 * 3 * 4 d d (one two three four dih dih)
> > > >
If you see what I mean, this is a very fast way of memorizing odd time
groupings: just add up some numbers that get you where you want to go
(remember you don't have to start your rhythmic phrase on the
downbeat..............................start, say on the downbeat of 2 in a
measure of sixteenths. You are now 12 notes away from the downbeat of 1.
Time for a 1 * 2 * 3 d d 1 * 2 d d combination.
This concept was taught to me by the great drummer Steve Smith to give
credit where credit is due.
Anecdotally, I taught him how to play authentic traditional Reggae that
same weekend, but I think
I got the much better end of the stick with this concept..........lol. I
use it constantly in soloing.