R.T.S. in Depth!

Latin kit Set up

Relayed Time Shifting explained and broken down

Rhythm is amazing. It permeates our very existence. The universe itself is structured in rhythmic beauty. Our daily lives are dependent on it. We live through rhythm. Art lives through it as well. It is present in every art form. And also in things you might not have thought of. Like sports, Language, Construction, etc. When you begin to see rhythm everywhere, it’s as if the grandeur of it changes your very soul. As we condense it’s power into what we perceive as music, one of the tasks of the musician is to understand how we can channel it and enhance our expression through it. As drummers, we are particularly endowed with building melody, harmony, and constructing shapes, language and colors, from a rhythmic perspective. Especially in African descent music. I have found that the concepts we have been discussing in the last few blogs have enabled drummers throughout the world to absorb this language quickly and in a highly organized fashion. To enhance our understanding of all these concepts, I created the following graphs. They will help you further understand how rhythm functions in many “Latin” styles.

This following formula helps us with the concept of RTS. The more you understand this, the easier it will be to obtain the wonderful feel and vocabulary of these genres.

RTS Circle

RTS Circle

I like to use the analogy of “time travel” to explain and enhance our creativity and fun! You will notice on the top and bottom of the circle we have our time signatures. Cut time and 6/8. These are the two worlds in which we “time travel”. Flowing in and out of each feel.

In the middle we have our musical / mathematical formula for pulse.
Half note = dotted quarter note – This simply indicates that the pulse will remain the same through the exercise.

On the sides of the circle we have arrows indicating the direction and flow of vocabulary. (In other words, how to think through the feels)
And, on the outside of the circle, we have our time traveling vehicles – the “patterns of each style”. OK …still with me here! Don’t worry, it gets easier from here:-)

Now, since mixing the worlds of 2 and 6 is your ultimate goal, here is a more linear way to look at this and have a blast with a very cool pattern!

RTS Flow Graph

RTS Flow Graph

Now you can see how this thought process works through a pattern. The time signatures are arranged in a random way and merely suggest a flow of thought. The lines and arrows give you the direction or flow of vocabulary. This will finally be how your phrasing will sound. You will no longer be the “square – western” thinker of the past. You will be able to flow with rhythm and enjoy the vast beauty and expression of this music. You will be able to play in both feels SIMULTANEOUSLY and channel vocabulary so that your music can breath. Sound like fun? It certainly is!

Our next step is to hear the phrases we have studied before, inside contemporary patterns. To do this we will first need to transfer our patterns into 6/8. Lets begin with a simple Afro Cuban based pattern – Bass drum is on 3 and 5 – Hi Hat on 2 and 5. Our hands will play 8th notes.

RTS exercises part 1

RTS exercises part 1

Think of these as a guideline for the all the limbs and accent the phrases we studied using hand-to-hand sticking. Again if you have any questions feel free to write me here. If you persevere through this new stage in your playing, the rewards are very very satisfying:-)

Also…Since its my most popular video on youtube…Here we have it on video:-)

MY Last DVD “Afro Cuban Drumming” is available on Hudson music!

Toca con sabor!

Phil M.


No Responses

Leave a Reply

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.