The Drums – Varying the Snare Drum by 8th Notes

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,867
    Professional drummer Wes Crawford demonstrates how to vary the snare drum by 8th 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 MusicAndGames4U.com, 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.

    Hello. I am West Crawford, and now we are going to talk about varying the snare drums by eighth notes in our rock beats.

    The eighth note is being played on the hi-hat, so notice anything we play and vary by eighth notes on the snare drum, will be exactly with it.

    I covered all the eight notes right there. Count one and two and three and four and. So, lets try to vary the snare drums. So, now the snare drum is not going to just be on two and four, it might not even be on two and four, but we get a lot more rhythmic interest, lot more interesting kinds of beats if we can vary it, but you want to make sure whatever you are doing, fits the song. So, an old, old rock beat, would be this, playing some eighth notes. So its going, one and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four and.

    Old Motown kind of beat would play on all four quarter notes of the snare. Again, I am going, just on the beat, so every other hi-hat, the snare drums are also hitting. That gives a very driving sound when you are playing all four quarter notes on the snare drum too. Lets vary it a little bit, lets do this. Just count it now. So, you see whats going on here. One and two and three and four and, did you catch that? I waited till the end of two, the end after two, to hit that snare drum. So, what you were expecting to hear it on two, you werent. So, you sort of exhaled for a second, so to speak, and then I also banged the snare drum here. This gives a little funky kind of feeling, so a little surprise, a little jerky in the sense. So, here it is again slowly, one and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and.

    Lets try another example. How about if we just hit on beat four? One and two and three and four, one and two and three and four, one and two and three and four, and. The beauty in that beat is just more sparse. Its not taken up so much space and if you want something a little more laid back, that could be a nice beat too.

    Lets try something a little busier. Let's count this, one and two and three and four, one and two and three and four, one and two and three and four, one and two and three and four. So, this gives a good sampling of some eighth note kind of snare drum beats. We were varying the snare drum across the various eighth notes. Experiment on your own and try some of your own and make sure you can still count. Make sure you can sing them, and have fun playing.