The Drums – Varying the Snare Drum by 16th Notes

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,258
    Professional drummer Wes Crawford demonstrates how to vary the snare drum by 16th notes.

    Wes Crawford

    Wes began his professional music career after graduating with a B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Tech. Soon thereafter, he began performing drumset with the extraordinary Jazz/R&B singer Jane L. Powell, a musical association that lasted eleven years and continues as a managerial relationship. The group toured throughout North America and the Caribbean performing at festivals, universities, resorts, nightclubs, and cruise ships. They opened for such acts as Ray Charles, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Lou Rawls, The Crusaders, Joan Jett, Ernie Watts, and Paula Poundstone, and occasionally performed alongside artists such as Tony Bennett, O.C. Smith, and Dorothy Moore. The 1,300 colleges and universities comprising the National Association for Campus Activities voted the group Entertainer of the Year in 1990, their highest honor, and Jazz Artist of the Year for 1990-1992. During these years of touring, Wes also recorded two albums with Ms. Powell as well as for several outside artists. Wes also conducted electronic percussion seminars at VA Tech and at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Gifted. In 1992, Wes settled with his family in the Washington, DC area as an independent artist on drumset and percussion where he currently performs and records with acts such as Shahin & Sepehr (Higher Octave/Narada world music recording artists), Cocktail Nuts (aka “C-NUTS”- Jazz versions of rock classics, on Wildchild/Mapleshade Records), mrudangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K. Shivaraman (including a clinic at PASIC 2000 and a featured performance at Baltimore Drum Day 2000), Squeeze Bayou (1998 winners of the “Best Non-Louisiana-Based Cajun Band Recording” awarded by the Cajun French Music Association), and Night Life (high-energy show band). Wes has also regularly performed and/or recorded with Aisha Kahlil (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Eva Cassidy, Catalyst Events’ “Beatswork!,” Zydeco Crayz, Mary Ann Borelli, “Oh Susannah!”, Sugar Jones, and Armadillo recording artist Daryl Davis. His other noteworthy performances and recordings include those with the David Bach Consort (2nd place winner in the 1998 BET unsigned band video contest), Hennesy Jazz Search regional winner Jerry Gordon, and performances with Milestone recording artist Ron Holloway. Wes considers education to be an important link to the future of the percussive arts and teaches drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. He also performs in public school assemblies with Mosaic, which provided the musical instruction and curriculum for the 2000 Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute. Wes serves as the Director of the annual Drumset And Percussion Camp of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute and as Vice-President of the MD/DE chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 2000, Wes started, a site to feature his interactive educational media such as his popular “Drumset Play-Along DVD.” His latest “A Rhythmic Murder Mystery” interactive DVD features a solo electronic drumset concert, which he also performs live. Wes holds Associate Artist relationships with Maryland Drum Company and with Trueline Drumsticks, and he occasionally works as Music Consultant for the not-for-profit Sustainable Environments for Health + Shelter.

    Hi. I am Wes Crawford. Now, were going to talk about 16th note snare drum variations within our rock beats. 16th note snare drum variations will involve hitting in between the hi-hats. If were playing eighth notes on the hi-hat then the E and the I, as we count one E and or two E and after 16th notes thats going to fall right in between the hi-hats. So, if were hitting on one for instance, were going one on the beat, thats with the hi-hat. The ends are one and, two and, three and, four and, but the 16th notes which fall in between would go right in between, one E and, two E and, three E and, four E and, one E and, or one E and, two E and, three E and, four E and. So, make sure you understand how the coordination is going to work. Were now hitting in between the hi-hats. So, here are some examples of some beats (music). You might have noticed it hits right in between; will dissect this a little bit more - One and two and three and four and four one and, two and, three and, four and, four one. Another example might be this (music). Slowly (music). You see, how the snare drum hits right in between those hi-hat hits. So, nothing too strange about it because youre hitting exactly between those two hi-hat hits when youre heading at the 16th note on the snare drum. A few more examples might be something like this (music). Notice that first snare drum we hit there was on the ah one E and ah, two E and three and four and one E ah two and three four and, and it gives sort of a surprise to the beat because were usually hearing the two and the four mainly acts in over the snare drum, but this came one 16th note before, so you can think about the kind of feelings these different beats will give. How about if we hit two times too fast 16th notes, (music). There, in slow motion, we did, (music). So, you want to practice that a little bit (music). Remember, if you have trouble with any beat, two things you can do, slow down, its a great idea to practice these very slowly, and also break it down if theres one part like that thats tricky (music), see (music), thats how the hands fit. Break it down, do it over and over and over until it gets in your muscle memory then put it back together. Lets try one more beat (music). Much busier beat. Lets break it down, so we had all kinds of different examples of how you might hit a 16th note also. Its a lot in that one beat. One E and two, and up three E, and four E, and thats the hands one E and, two and, up three E and, four E and, one E and, two and, up three E and, four E and, one so again just try it slowly (music). I am varying it a little bit but you get the idea. One last topic I want to talk about. If you play fast and you have a lot of a fast beat and you have a lot of 16th notes in it, it gets very cluttered (music). It sounds a little junky at that point. So, what you want to do, keep your important beats like your two and four loud and ghost the other 16th note strokes. Ghost means to play very soft, so we had texture three dimensions to the speed, and it doesnt sounds so cluttered (music). See how I am doing it. The ghost notes are about this high, and then the main notes are that high. So, keep this kind of thing in mind too. You will sound a lot more professional.