I’m a big fan of structured writing, also known as outlining. All of my notes are in the form of an outline, as are my shopping lists and todo lists. But there’s another type of outlining I like to do, and it’s very handy around the drum set.
Outlining is the technique of playing a rhythmic pattern with one hand while filling in the 'missing' notes with the other hand. (Actually, any two limbs/voices/instruments will work.) The concept is simple, is easy to learn and has great pay-back.
Pulling it Apart
Let's start with a familiar sticking pattern -- paradiddles. If you play all the strokes on the snare at the same volume, then it's just da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da. But lean into the right hand strokes and you get a rhythm: DA doo DA DA / doo DA doo doo. The DA's give us the outer line and the doo's play the inner line. We can re-voice this by putting the R strokes on a cymbal and the L strokes on the snare. The cymbal is now playing the outer line and the L strokes on the snare then become the inner line.
We can apply outlining to swing just as easily with a paradiddle-diddle inversion. All we need to do is fill in the 'missing' triplets with the other hand. Here the lead hand plays 1 2-uh 3 4-uh or R R-r R R-r. With outlining, it becomes R l l R l R R l l R l R. The swing ride plays the musical line and the inner line makes it sound a bit like Elvin Jones.
Steve to the Rescue
Now let's look at Steve Gadd's Mozambique, which sounds pretty complicated. The cymbal or cowbell pattern -- the Mozambique proper -- is based on eighth notes. All we need to do to complete the outline is play the other eighth notes on the snare. Here is a simplified version of the Mozambique.
And here is how Steve explains his 16th note Mozambique pattern that he played on Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening”
Outlining can be very exciting, and the result sounds much more difficult than it is. It can be applied to just about any sticking to reveal new flavours. Move it around the set and it gets really interesting. You can also try emphasizing the inner line for some unique effects.
You can read this and other posts online at http://drumyoda.blogspot.ca/