Table of Contents

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1-way coordination

Playing patterns or rhythms with one limb at a time.

2-way coordination

Playing patterns or rhythms with two limbs at the same time.

3-way coordination

Playing patterns or rhythms with three limbs at the same time.

4-way coordination

Playing patterns or rhythms with four limbs at the same time.

4-bar form

A section or subsection which is four bars long.

12-bar Blues

12-bar form in the style of Blues.

A

Afro-Cuban

Music originally from Cuba. Afro is added because of the African (rhythmical) influence on the Hispanic (melody and harmony) music. There are many, many styles and subgenres stemming from Afro-Cuban. Most of these revolve around the Clave, or more accurately, one of the Clave Rhythms.

Anacrusis

An Anacrusis or Pickup Bar is a short intro to a song or section. Many Motown songs start out this way for instance.

B

Backbeat

Another way to describe beats 2 and 4. As opposites of beats 1 and 3 they represent the back of the beat.

Bar

Another word for “Measure”. A 12-bar Blues is a twelve measures long musical form often used in Blues.

Bossa Nova or Bossa

Brazilian style of music revolving around a bass pattern playing 1..&3..& or 1..t2..t in 16th notes. The Bossa Nova tempo ranges roughly from 65 – 90 bpm.

C

China Splash (Cymbal)

The small version of a Chinese/China (Type) Cymbal. Sizes range from 8″ – 12″

Chinese or China Type (Cymbal)

A trashy sounding effect cymbal most commonly used to play accents in unison with the snare on. Sizes range from 16″ – 26″

Chokes or Cymbal Chokes

Silencing a cymbal after a hit by grabbing it with a hand so it stops ringing.

Chops

Technical abilities.

Clave

Spanish word for “Key”. This is the rhythmical key to unlock many Afro-Cuban rhythms with. They can be in 3-2 meaning there are three notes in the first bar and two in the second, or 2-3 meaning the opposite. The most well known are:

  1. 6/8 Clave
    1. 3-2: 1.3..6.2.4.. (1.let..let.trip.2.. or 1.m..m.n.2..)
    2. 2-3: .2.4..1.3..6 (.trip.2..1.let..let or .n.2..1.m..m)
  2. Son Clave
    1. 3-2: 1..&..4…2.3… (1..e..&…&.2… or 1..t..n…n.2…)
    2. 2-3: ..2.3…1..&..4. (..&.2…1..e..&. or ..n.2…1..t..n.)
  3. Rumba Clave
    1. 3-2: 1..&…&..2.3… (1..e…e..&.2… or 1..t…t..n.2…)
    2. 2-3: ..2.3…1..&…& (..&.2…1..e…e or ..n.2…1..t…t)

Cover song or Cover

A song played by someone other than the original artist.

Crash (Cymbal)

An effect cymbal most commonly used to play accents on. Sizes range from 13″ – 20″

D

Djent

Subgenre of Prog(ressive) Metal with a strong emphasis on Cross Rhythms and longer a-symmetrical phrases as played by Meshuggah f.i.. The name is a phonetic one (an onomatopoeia) as the sound of picking the muted lowest string of a distorted guitar could be described as “Djent”.

Downbeat

Another way to name beat 1. 

Drum terms

Terminology specifically used in drumming and among drummers. Also called “drum lingo” or “drum slang”.

E

F

Feel

Can be used to refer to a groove, or to musical sensitivity. The right feel: The musically correct way of playing.

Flanging the Hi Hat

Making the two hi hat cymbals hit each other with the Left Foot in such a way they produce a ringing sound. A.k.a. “Splashing the Hi Hat”. Sometimes this is referred to as “Kicking the Hi Hat”.

Funk

Style of music invented in the mid sixties by James Brown and his band with the legendary drummers Jabo Starks and Clyde Stubblefield. 

Fusion

Style of music blending elements of jazz, rock and all sorts of latin music. 

G

Grace Note

A Grace Note is a soft stroke notated without note value. E.g. the first note of a Flam or the first two notes of a Drag

Groove

Rhythm with feel. To be in the groove means playing a rhythm with the right musical feeling.

Ghost Note

A Ghost Note or Ghost Stroke is a soft note played in between louder notes. These are played mostly but not exclusively on the snare drum.

H

Half Time (Shuffle)

(Shuffle) groove where the backbeat (usually played on the snare) is on beat 3 instead of 2 and 4. This way the tempo seems half as high, hence the term.

Hand to hand (pattern)

A pattern (sticking) which changes the hand it starts on automatically. F.i. a Single Paradiddle starts with Rlrr and then it starts on the other hand Lrll. This makes it a hand to hand pattern whereas a Double Stroke Roll (RRLL or LLRR) will not start on the other hand by itself. 

Harmonic Coordination

See Layered Coordination.

Hi hat

The two cymbals which can be opened and closed with the foot by pressing the hi hat pedal. The hi hat can also be played with the foot to get a short, staccato chick sound. This is called a “stepped hi hat”. The hi hat can also be played by the foot in a way that it produces a long note. This is called “flanging the hi hat” or “splashing the hi hat”.

Hybrid rudiment

Newly formed rudiment comprised of two or more existing rudiments or elements of these rudiments.

I

Improvising

Creating on the spot.

Inverted Doubles/Inverted Double Stroke Roll

The Inverted Double Stroke Roll starts on RLLR or LRRL as opposed to a (Regular) Double Stroke Roll a.k.a. Regular Doubles which is RRLL or LLRR.

J

Jam Session

A musical situation where two or more musicians come together to play something which hasn’t been rehearsed. (Check this article for much more on the subject)

K

L

Layered Coordination

Type of coordination needed to execute patterns or rhythms consisting of two or more unique patterns or rhythms. The patterns or rhythms involved may be symmetrical or a-symmetrical. The latter would be Cross Rhythms or Polyrhythms depending on how they’re used. Layered coordination is also known as Harmonic Coordination.

Legato

Long sound. The opposite of “staccato”.

Linear Coordination

Type of coordination needed to execute one pattern or rhythm with more than one limb without notes being played by more than one limb. Usually the term is used when three or four limbs play the pattern or rhythm. Linear Coordination is also known as Melodic Coordination.

Lingo

Typical phrases or exprtessions used in a specific trade or profession. A.k.a. “slang”. So Drum Lingo is a collection of phrases used typically in druming and rhythm as common knowledge.

Link

Musical lingo for sentence, string of notes, or phrase. We as drummers usually play licks as a fill or in solos but they can be used as grooves as well.

M

Melodic Coordination

See Linear Coordination.

Mini China (Cymbal)

Smaller version (but bigger than a Splash 8″ – 12″) of a Chinese/China (Type) Cymbal. Sizes range from 13″ – 14″

N

O

Ostinato

A recurring pattern. This can be played by one limb, 2 limbs or 3 limbs. The remaining limb(s) play(s) the melody. We therefore often encounter Ostinato/Melody exercises.

P

P.A.S.

The Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.) is a non-profit, music service organization founded in 1961. Their mission is inspire, educate and support percussionists and drummers worldwide. Among other things they’re responsible for creating the lst of 40 Rudiments which replaced the classic list of 26 rudiments. More info can be found on their website http://www.pas.org/

Pickup Bar

A Pickup Bar or Anacrusis is a short intro to a song or section. Many Motown songs start out this way for instance.

Pickup Note(s)

One or more notes leading into a new phrase, riff, theme, or simply another note.

Pocket

Playing with a good time feel. Playing in the pocket means the groove is feeling exactly as it should. You own it.

Q

Quads

A 4-note linear Double Bass drum pattern consisting of two hands and two feet alternating. From a Right Handed perspective this would be: RH-LH-RF-LF. I like to refer to this as 4-way Singles ort a 4-Way Single Stroke Roll. If you would like to know more about Double Bass Drum Playing go to the Premium Double Bass Course.

Quintuplets

A subdivision of five notes per pulse, usually per quarter note. Check this if you want to learn more about quintuplets.

R

Reggae

Caribean Musical Style from Jamaica. Rhythmically there are two elements which can be considered a typical ostinato of a Reggae groove. 1. The hihat 8th note upbeats 2. The Bass Drum back beat on 2 and 4. The left hand typically plays rimclicks as a melody on top of the ostinato.

Regular Doubles/(Regular) Double Stroke Roll

The normal Double Stroke Roll starting on RRLL or LLRR as opposed to a Inverted Double Stroke Roll a.k.a. Inverted Doubles which is RLLR or LRRL.

Ride (Cymbal)

A cymbal most commonly used to play grooves on. This cymbal has a more ringing quality to it than a hi hat. In Jazz for instance the ride is the most important instrument in a drummer’s setup. This is what defines the drummer’s sound the most in Jazz (the “ding..ding.gahding..ding..gading..” (ride) swing pattern. Sizes range from 18″ – 24″

Rudiments

A Rudiment is an elementary part. In (snare) drumming this means a basic ‘word’. Initially rudiments were seen as letters so it was probably no coincidence that there have long been twenty six official rudiments. In recent years the Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.) certified another fourteen. So now the official amount of  P.A.S certified rudiments for snare drumming comes to forty. Click here for a more complete overview of rudiments.

S

Samba

Brazilian style of music revolving around a bass pattern playing 1..&3..& or 1..t2..t in 16th notes. The Samba tempo ranges roughly from 95 – 130 bpm.

Septuplets

A subdivision of seven notes per pulse, usually per quarter note.

Sextuplets

A subdivision of six notes per pulse, usually per quarter note, a.k.a. 16th note triplets

Single Stroke Roll

The Single Stroke roll or simply called “singles” is a rudiment which consists of alternating strokes.

Splash

Small effect cymbal, usually ranging from 6″ to 12″.

Splashing the Hi Hat

Making the two hi hat cymbals hit each other with the Left Foot in such a way they produce a ringing sound. A.k.a. “Flanging the Hi Hat”. Sometimes this is referred to as “Kicking the Hi Hat”.

Staccato

Short sound. The opposite of “legato”.

Staff

The five horizontal lines we use to notate music in. A.k.a. Stave.

Standard

A song which is considered to be a classic. The musical implication is that everyone should know it.

Stave

The five horizontal lines we use to notate music in. A.k.a. Staff.

Subdivision

The number of notes in which a note is divided. Usually the number of notes per quarter note.

T

Time

Tempo. Playing time also means playing a standard groove to keep time.

Time feel

The way a groove feels or is felt.

Timekeeping

Literally keeping tempo. A more musical translation would be to keep the tempo feeling good.

U

Unison

Two or more notes played at the same time. These are also called Flat Flams.

Upbeat

The Upbeat is traditionally the beat right before beat 1. We can also use them more accurately when combined note value or subdivision. F.i. 8th note upbeats would be every 2nd 8th note. (In 4/4 8th notes .&.&&.& or .N.N.N.N)

V

W

X

X-hat

Short for Auxiliary hi hat, sometimes also referred to as a remote hat. A closed hi hat used as a 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc.

Y

Z

Zelkova

A snare considered to be one of the holy grails.

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