2nd YouTube Video, The Elements of Rhythm, Vol. I, Introduction to Binary Rhythm Pattern Theory

Hey there, here’s a little something more that I’m pretty sure will turn your rhythmic world upside-down if you’ll give me about six minutes of your viewing time…

In 1982, the some lessons I took with Terry Bozzio exploded in my head and lit a fire that never went out. It led me to figuring out a systematic approach to understanding where all rhythm patterns came from mathematically. I sucked at math from day one of first grade on up through forever, so, I’d say this discovery was personally kinda huge…


Regular readers have been really cool and kind about humouring me over the past five years, so I’d like to ask them, and you new readers as well, for one small favour: turn up the volume so you can hear my voiceover, and watch this video clip. It’ll show you where everything comes from that you’ll ever play, or at least get you started on it.

There are a finite number of building block rhythm patterns that all larger combinations come from. Binary rhythm pattern theory uses 0s and 1s to prove they exist and create a model of them, which we then re-write with conventional music notation. But first, we gotta prove that a finite number exits… which I’ve done.

Other educators have explored this notion, but I’m pretty sure I can almost absolutely that no one has done it to the degree that I pursued. It was an insane obsession, but the results… are pretty damn cool. And I say that with a lot of unusual pride.


Anyway, the first video was kind of general and broad… but this one gets down to it like nothing you’ve likely ever seen before. The page excerpts from my books are fuzzy at times, just because of conversion I suppose. I’m working on it, so please bear with me. But gimme six minutes… and your head might get set on fire too. I hope so, because all I really want to do in this world any more is get the word out about binary rhythm pattern theory and how it can help expand our rhythmic minds to explore basic patterns, odd meters, polyrhythms and beyond.

And please, if you like this one, tell your friends and share it. I have never asked this, but if you get the message and what it means, you’ll see why. I hope you do, and as always, thanks for checking out my blog. I love writing this stuff!

Modern Drummer and DRUMHEAD, thank you for the book reviews of The Elements of Rhythm, Vols. I & II

Today’s blog is short. I would just like to extend a simple and sincere “Thank you” to Modern Drummer and DRUMHEAD magazines for the reviews over the past year of my books, The Elements of Rhythm, Vols. I & II (Rollinson Publishing Co.)

 

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Modern Drummer November 2013, page 98.

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DRUMHEAD July-August 2013, page 86.

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There are many heavy duty pros out there with works, and many more up-and-coming authors with very helpful contributions. I consider myself in good and honorable company, and I really am most grateful.

This past year has been spent wrapping up a third book, my music autobiography (Tourette Syndrome and Music: Discovering Peace Through Rhythm and Tone, Rollinson Publishing Co.). Now that it’s done, I can focus on pushing all three the way I’ve wanted to do forever.

It’s mainly why I haven’t been pounding harder on promoting Elements, because there’s just so much time and energy in a day when you are the one-man publishing show.

If you’d like to see more about all three books, please visit:

www.RollinsonPublishing.com

or

www.davidaldridge.net

 

To view the Elements series, please visit:

www.theElementsofRhythm

 

Rhythm pattern theory is not a subject you’ll find much about if you Google those exact words. In fact, most of the hits will lead you right back here or to the websites listed above. But believe me when I say that much bigger things are about to unfold, and I could not be more excited.

I’m holding my first clinic about Elements on July 7, in Austin TX, through Tommy’s Drum Shop. It’ll be at the One-2-One Bar, 1509 S. Lamar Blvd. 7:00 p.m., free. Info links are listed here:

 

http://tommysdrumshop.com/calendar

http://www.drummercafe.com/

 

As always, I very much appreciate your readership of this blog and interest in my projects. I believe this particular one will ultimately revolutionize rhythm pattern instruction around the world.

An ambitious hope, yes… but you know what? It’s already happening 🙂

That said, thank you for being part of my rhythm revolution world. Stay cool this summer, and stay tuned for a whole lot more…

 

– David

 

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The Elements of Rhythm Vol. I: The Essence of Rhythm Pattern Theory

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When I was a music major in college, drummers had to take music theory. We had to learn about tonal relationships, chord patterns and progressions, harmony, etc. What we did not learn was that were a finite number of building block rhythm patterns that all the larger, more complex patterns come from. In other words, there was no rhythm pattern theory. Just tonal. So, I created an approach to rhythm pattern theory to fill the void.

The Elements of Rhythm Vol. I presents and explores the basics of this theory to create the fundamental patterns. I am re-printing them here to let drummers (and all other musicians) see how it works.

I believe that if musicians study and master the patterns, they can greatly expand their rhythm capabilities. Once you see how the patterns evolve, you’ll recognize that there is a very systematic and fascinating structure that underlies notation. Here are a few excerpts that cover the fundamentals:

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The tables that follow in Volume I re-create these patterns using several different beat note values, and all the patterns are written out in sheet music form to practice. For example, if you take a measure of 4/4 and lay out all the possible quarter note/eighth note possibilities, there are exactly 256 of them. One valuable application is in the area of jazz and big band reading. Same with small group Fake Book reading.

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In the Introduction to Volume I, I related a story about seeing Peter Erskine play one night at a summer jazz band camp I was attending. He had to sight-read a fairly challenging chart, and the next day in class, he said he was glad to have seen some “familiar friends” on the sheet music pages. That phrase stuck with me for years, and when Terry Bozzio showed me a 2/4 group of patterns that he said were the essential basics, the phrase came back and really lit the fires.

Here are a few of the larger 2/4 patterns:

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I’ll be putting up more samples shortly, but you’ll get the idea here pretty quickly. Just remember: there are a finite number of building block rhythm patterns that all the larger combinations come from. Program yourself with the basics, and you are loading your performance computer with all the software it needs to make you a lean, mean, rhythm machine.

www.theElementsofRhythm.com

(excerpts reprinted from The Elements of Rhythm Vol. I, with permission, Rollinson Publishing Company, 2012. All rights reserved.)

The Elements of Rhythm Vols. I & II

How many rhythm patterns do you suppose there are?

Thousands, hundreds of thousands?

The list is infinite, but the number of patterns that make up the fundamental building blocks is finite.

I’ve spent the better part of three decades, on and off, working on a series of books that present the basic patterns and their logical evolution. I have greatly appreciated your readership of my blog, and I would now like to announce the official release of those books… The Elements of Rhythm Vols. I & II (Rollinson Publishing Co).

Many years ago, I took some drum lessons with Terry Bozzio when I was living in Los Angeles. He showed me a collection of simple 2/4 patterns and told me that they made up the basics of just about everything else I would ever see.

From there, I developed a list of 4/4 patterns as a sort of jazz drummer’s vocabulary list… and I expanded it significantly.

In the mid 1980’s, I met American music composer Lou Harrison and shared my list of patterns with him. He had written about a simple binary formula, 2n, that let you create basic silence and sound combinations. We had been working on the same thing in many ways, and he gave me a lot of suggestions as to where the book could go from there.

The level of detail became pretty intense, something much bigger than I had expected. It took many, many revisions to sort out all the information, but what I eventually came up was that the book and patterns formed the basis for something drummers (and all musicians, really) have never had: a rhythm pattern theory resource.

In Vol. II, I take the fundamental patterns and present them in multiple music lines. This lets you read a pattern in 4/2, 4/4, 4/8, 4/16 and 4/32, all stacked on top of each other. This shows that an identical-sounding rhythm pattern can be written many ways and still retain what I call its absolute sound shape. Vol. II also explores the many ways you can count a rhythm pattern, which helps de-condition you from always expecting certain note shapes to be counted certain ways.

Keyboard players can look at notes and see everything they will be working with. So can guitar players. But what do drummers have to look at? Where are the source of rhythm pattern origins? Where are our collection of basic shapes?

That’s what my books are really about. They give everyone a collection of the basic shapes that all the larger, more complex combinations come from.

The value of this list is that you can prepare your mind, your eyes, your ears, and your whole body with the fundamental movement possibilities. It’s not about sight-reading, however. It’s about preparing and programming yourself, completely, with nothing left out.

Several other authors have explored similar approaches using the basic patterns, to whom I give credit in Vol. I, but my approach goes somewhat further in terms of the different ways you can write a pattern. I use half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth and thirty-second rest/note values and create a very large collection of patterns that can be studied and mastered.

I’m going to be teaching seminars in the near future, demonstrating how drummers can use the patterns to explore odd meters, polyrhythms, and advanced improvisation methods. I hope you can take a few minutes and check out the website to see more about what I’ve created, and I truly hope that music teachers will find the materials useful for helping students gain a much broader perspective of how rhythm patterns logically evolve into an amazing structure. I also include teaching guidelines in the Appendices to help provide structure for this new approach to rhythm pattern study.

My dream is to travel the world eventually and share more insights, with both the music community and the music research community. There is so much to explore and so much to integrate… and we as drummers are truly the keepers of the temporal flame. If you’ll visit http://www.theElementsofRhythm.com, I hope you’ll see where the ignition for my passion comes from.