Beat 9C – Analysis and Application

Based on a famous drum lick.

Beat 9C – Analysis

The most obvious concept of this beat is the pattern played in the hands. It is a version of a famous Billy Cobham pattern that many drummers use today. This is that pattern:


Here is how it appears in the beat:


Beat 9C – Application

For this beat, let’s apply some dynamics. Why? Why not?



Beat 9D – Analysis and Application

Beat 9D – Analysis

This is a beat that I transcribed from Mike Lowry, the drummer for the Baltimore, MD band Lake Trout. If you haven’t had the chance to hear them or see them, do it! They are making some of the newest, most original music out there.

1The first thing to notice about this beat is that the first DnB rudiment makes an appearance on beat four of the first measure.

The first two beats of both measures have the same rhythmic pattern; the first beat of each measure is exactly the same, and the second beat of each measure is made up of an eighth, and then two sixteenth notes.

At the third beat of the second measure, the 16th note rest really stands out; it is the only rhythmic pattern of its kind in the beat. It creates a skipping sensation that makes the beat wobble just before you land squarely on beat four.

Beat 9D – Application

One thing that Mike likes to do with this beat is take a strictly vertical approach. He will treat each quarter note’s worth of time as a separate piece, and switch around the order. Most broadly, he will play the second measure first, and the first measure second.



Another way to vary this beat vertically is to start at a particular place within each measure. Here’s the beat when you start on the second quarter note, first measure, of the original beat (9q).



Here’s the beat starting on the fourth quarter note of the first measure. It creates a cool half-time feel.



Here’s the beat starting on the third beat of the second measure.



Now, there are two ways to think about this application. First, you can either treat 9r-9u, as well as the original beat 9d, as completely separate beats. When you start at a different place within a beat, the accent pattern can be changed significantly. The second way to approach the application here is to play 9r- 9u in order, one after another. Or mix the order up. Or come up with your own places to start within the beat. See if you can play them, one after another, without losing your place or forgetting where the downbeat is.

Beat 9E – Analysis and Appliation

I created this beat purely on paper; I might not have come up with it if I were at a kit.

Beat 9E – Analysis

This beat, most obviously, doesn’t have any ghost notes. But it still feels like a DnB beat. Why? Because it is symmetrical.

Notice first that, with the exception of the last quarter note of the second measure (where the snare drum appears on beat 4 instead of the “and” of four), the second measure is the same as the first measure. I created this beat purely on paper; I might not have come up with it if I were at a kit.

As opposed to 9d, where we were taking a strictly vertical approach, let’s take a strictly horizontal approach to this one. Within this beat, there are 2 separate horizontal melodies. The first one is in the ride layer.


The second horizontal melody is in the accented snare and bass drum layers.


Also notice that these two horizontal melodies are backwards – the ride layer appears as eighth/eighth/quarter/quarter, and the accented snare/bass drum layer appears as quarter/quarter/eighth/eighth (or, at least it would if it weren’t for the small variation on the last quarter note of the beat).

Beat 9E – Application

As this beat contains two different horizontal melodies, let’s try doing some voice substitution for one of the melodies, while keeping the other constant. The following are ways to vary up the ride layer while holding down the accented snare/bass drum layer.




So what are the things that you can take away from the analysis and application part of the book?

1. Each beat has a “concept”. Each beat should have something special, something that clearly differentiates it from other beats. Nurture these concepts, and make sure that you convey the special parts of the beats to the listener.

2. Analyse your own beats. Use the methods from the analysis of 9a-9e as guidelines, a set of ideas, to make your own beats more musical. Take the time to transcribe your own beats. Change the beats around on paper, and then practice the new beats. I can’t stress enough that this process is totally worth your time. If you’ve never done this before, it will be difficult at first. But you will get better at it.

3. Maintain the core beat. It is important to note here that the core of the beat, the accented snare drum, bass drum, and ride patterns, are the most important parts of the beat, and come first. The offbeat 16th notes, while they are an important part of the DnB sound, are secondary to the core. Stamina is also an important issue here – you must be able to maintain the core of the DnB beat while consciously dropping the offbeat 16th notes in and out of the beat at will.

4. How do the layers relate? Another important concept to keep in mind in the analysis and application of a beat is how the 3 major layers relate to each other. That is, what do just the ride and bass drum layer sound like? What do the accented snare and bass layers sound like? How does it feel when you play just the ride and accented snare layers together? If you are able to drop out one of the layers at will, you will easily be able to keep the flow going, while giving your limbs a rest.

5. We’ve explored many of the music fundamentals in the different analyses, and we’ve been pretty specific with each beat. But remember that any of the music fundamentals could potentially work on any of the beats. In music, anything goes – as long as it grooves.

6. JUST DO IT. It’s really just a matter of looking at the beat, deciding how you are going to handle it, and then practicing it. Your own applications of your own beats can be as complex as 9a, where we looked at each layer separately, or as simple as beat 9c, where we simply said “Let’s apply some dynamics here.” Either way, just PLAY YOUR DRUMS!

7. Finally, yet another step towards making your drumming more musical is to take a step back and see which other drummers have had this goal, and then cop their style. I don’t mean mimic their licks, but instead mimic their approach to making music. Jazz drummers are a great place to start. They get solos on a regular basis, so they must be doing something right. (Check out John Riley’s The Art of Bop Drumming if you have a chance. It is a great resource for making music on the drums.)