-- : rest (a "ghost" note can be played to help keep time)
gn : gun (bass note with lead hand)
dn : dun (bass note with wild hand)

go : go  (tone note with lead hand)
do : do  (tone note with wild hand)
                               gdo : sounds like "gro" with a rolled R. (tone flam)                

pa : pa  (slap note with lead hand)
ta : ta  (slap note with wild hand)
                               pta : sounds like "pra" with a rolled R. (slap flam)                

 bm : boom! (bass note on a big drum)
  ps : press (press note on a big drum)
      bl : bell (strike the bell on a big drum)

Parentheses around a note indicate that it is muted (other hand pressing on the drum head to muffle the sound)
(gn) (go) (pa) etc..

"| R  L  R  L  |'
This is a reminder of which hand plays which note for a right-handed person playing out of the roll
Play it however you feel comfortable!

Pickup Beats

Every rhythm has a pulse that goes back and forth, up and down, like a ticking clock that drives the rhythm.  We often strike the drum on the beat, and that makes a nice, satisfying feeling of order.  But order can get boring.  Adding notes that are just before and after the beat can add a lot of feeling to rhythm.  These are pickup beats.

To add a pickup beat before the first beat, that note is technically at the end of the pattern, but it makes so much more sense to show it at the beginning.  So when there's a pickup beat before the 1st beat, that note will be shown in the space before the 1st note and at the end of pattern - don't play it twice!

The One

Sometimes the rhythm doesn't officially match the way I've written it, but it may be easier to remember in the way that it's shown here.  So to avoid spreading misinformation, I'll put the handing letter in bold over the official 1st beat in any pattern that doesn't already start with that beat.


I still can't claim any mastery of time signatures, so I'll just say that the way I'm writing is two beats per bar, with each hand/note getting half a beat.

  If I were to guess, I'd say that's 4/2 time.  If there's a Rhythm that sounds like it's in 3's, then I'll write it in 3/2 time.

  If anyone would like to clarify this subject for me, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Parts and Evolutions

Often, Michael will add notes to the rhythm as the class gets more comfortable with it, so I'll use multiple lines of transcription with little vertical arrows to indicate a pattern that evolves over time.

Some Rhythms have multiple parts, which I will also write as multiple lines of transcription, but without the arrows.

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