Creating Space Between Rhythmic Melodies- The 4 Bar Cycle

Greetings once again and I hope everyone is fine!
Lets get right down to it. We continue with our ear training for “Latin vocabulary” using the rhythmic concept of RTS. Relayed Time Shifting. Rhythmic training and independence exercises are essential if we hope to function fully in any type of Latin ensemble. It’s always good to remember that this type of drumming is “a language” and we have to slowly decipher the words which allow us to speak on the drums. At the moment we are using the high tom and studying cycles to outline phrases that train our ears into a better understanding of “Latin vocabulary”.
This series of exercises have phrases that cycle out after 4 bars. You will notice that the phrase is composed of what I call a melody group. Each melody group has three accented notes. These notes are the “melody” of the phrase. Between the groups are 3 unaccented notes. These create the space between each melody. In the first exercise, the phrase starts right on the 1- Although this phrase is quite beautiful, it is the next phrase, ex. 2 – which gets used allot in Afro Cuban music. Many Timbaleros and Congueros (Timbal players and Conga Players) use this very popular phrase in their soloing. And of course, we have to keep in mind that it is very important to learn the permutations of this four bar cycle, so that our ear can really hear subtle variations in phrasing. Exercise 3 and 4 provide us with the rest of the permutations and are also very nice to play.

Again, Using the high tom in this way will make the rhythmic effect of the phrases stronger and there might be a tendency to be pulled away by them and lose the “1”. My suggestion is to keep in mind the sticking on the snare. R L R L R L – Make sure your limbs are lining up with this sticking. For example, you’ll notice that all the bass drum notes are falling with your right hand. This will help you place the bass drum. The hi hat is falling first with the left hand and then the right. Again, think of these stickings as railroad tracks, to keep your limbs on the right path. Once you can do that then slowly place the accents on the high tom. If you are having any trouble with these concepts don’t hesitate to drop me a line here on the blog.
Here are the exercises. Download and go for it!!
Hi tom as sound sound source 6 8
All the best, Vaya!
Phil M.


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