Brasil Lessons

Baion

Baião, oftentimes referred to as "baion", is a rhythm from the state of Bahia in Northeastern Brasil. Most people credit Luis Gonzaga with popularizing this rhythm. Baião is a very important rhythm to learn for some important reasons. The number one reason is that you may have to actually play a baião! It'd be a good idea to have a few grooves from which to choose. Another good reason to learn this rhythm is the coordination that you'll learn, as you develop hand patterns to play on top of the typical bass drum pattern

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Here's a very typical baião, relatively easy to play. The top line is hi hat, bottom line is bass drum, and middle line is snare. Play the hi hat "hand to hand". So, if you're right handed, the sticking will be R - L - R - L........

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And another, a bit more complicated. Play the hi hat with either hand, one hand on the hi hat the other hand playing the snare. Watch all accents and the last bass drum note. This beat comes courtesy of my drum set teacher in Salvador, Bahia, Mr. Jorge Brasil. Thank you Jorge!!

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Two Handed Samba

This is a pattern I've used for a while. It comes from my inability to play a fast samba! I couldn't break through the continuous 16th note "barrier" with my ride hand. So, at first, both hands played the same pattern. As I grew more comfortable with the groove, my hands seemed to naturally fall into this pattern. Then I heard a drummer playing with a great Brasilian pianist, Johnny Alf. He was playing the pattern I'd come up with. The only difference were the three 16th notes on beat one of measure two. Now, this is a bit of a complicated groove. But, most importantly, it works!! Practice it extremely slow at first, maybe no tempo at all. Then work it up to a nice blistering tempo! Have fun. Top line is cymbal, then snare, bass drum, and HH.

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Partido Alto and Hand Conditioning Exercises

Here's a new lesson about applying Brasilian rhythms to the drumset in a typical format. PARTIDO ALTO is a relatively typical rhythm from Brasil. Here are some ways to play this groove. I use either right or left hand on hi hat, with the FOOT closing the open sound of the hi hat, so you are not playing four consecutive 16th notes in the hi hat. Some say the rhythm of Partido Alto begins on the second eighth note of the first measure, like this:

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Here is the same groove, beginning on measure 2.

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Partido Alto and Hand Conditioning Exercises Number 2

These grooves and exercises are found in my newest book Practical Application Pack. Let's use the previous lesson's rhythms as a hand conditioning exercise. This pattern is a rudimental application of a basic Brasilian rhythm. You can use this just for your hands, then add a foot pattern to develop coordination. When you have a feel for the rhythm and hand motion, apply to the drum set. Here is the basic rhythm.

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Now, applied as the rudimental exercise. Notice how the exercise is played hand to hand (alternating).

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And now, here's a very cool samba for you, using a combination of left hand on high hat, right hand playing snare and floor tom. This is a very cool sounding groove!

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Samba for Drumset

Here's a nice groove for samba soloing. Play the snare part with Left Hand, the Floor Tom with RH. Of course, you can try this with BD and HH playing the typical BD/HH pattern.

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Snare Pattern for Samba

The caixa (pron. "casha) has many patterns to play during samba. Here's one basic pattern and two variations, using either the low tom as low surdo, or a two tom pattern. I play this, and other variations, while playing the "standard" samba bass drum/hi hat pattern. Although it's quite a workout for coordination, it sounds great and feels even better!! Enjoy.

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Tamborim Lesson

I've just returned from Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, in NE Brasil. What an amazing experience I, along with 10 other people, had. There are many pictures available by clicking here. We'll be travelling to Bahia again, as well as Rio de Janeiro. Please email me for more infomation about our Drum Study Courses. While in Salvador, before one of our classes, I was practicing playing the tamborim, a drum very important in Brasilian music and rhythms.

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I've been trying for years, with no success, to get the right sound and rhythm of the tamborim. Well, at 9 AM, sitting outside of our school in Salvador, the Office of Musical Investigation (click here), I actually GOT IT!! The characteristic sound of the tamborim, when playing the style of Tamborim Virado (turning tamborim) is so important to samba. Alex Acuña has described it as an egg rolling down a board. You know what I mean? Well, I discovered it. I wrote it out on the board at the school and here's the picture of what I wrote.

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You see the tamborim on the first line. You strike the drum ("down") with a stick (in your right hand, if you're right handed) and then turn it down. The next strike, on beat two, is on the up stroke. The beat three is a regular down stroke. The next thing I figured out is that you have to play a kind of "flam" by striking the drum with the stick for the ghost note and the left index finger tip for the main stroke of the flam. You hold the drum so that you can strike the underside of the head with the nail of your index finger. Once you have the idea, then you can open the flam a little to achieve the feel. Now, you see this exercise written in 3/4 time. It's the best way I could get to the groove. The groove has four notes in it, but it's not easy to write out. This is a very effective way to learn the technique. With this technique I was able to achieve the sound I'd been searching for for many years!

Samba Angola Application

I first heard this rhythm on a CD by  Daniela Mercury, a wonderful musician/vocalist from Salvador, Bahia, Brasil. The drumset player was playing this pattern on the hi hat with the bass drum playing quarter notes. I’ve added a typical samba bass drum pattern with HH on the “ands” of the beats. As you can see, I’ve written this pattern on snare, to accentuate the coordination work. You can then apply the sound to the hi hat. You can stick this pattern as hand-to-hand (r l r l …) . I chose another sticking pattern, which is written here.

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Basic Bossa Nova

This lesson will focus on a very basic bossa nova groove. First we're going to have two very basic high hat patterns. (Of course, one I'm excluding is just straight 16th notes.) These next two patterns are 16th notes accented on the "and" of each beat, and then 16th notes, with the "e" of each beat played as an open sound. The clase should occur on the "and" of the beat.

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Now, we'll add to basic cross stick patterns. You can play these "as is", and you can also statr the groove on the 2nd measure of each pattern.

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(relatively) Easy Samba Patterns

Here are some ideas for your samba playing. There are so many stories about how I acquired these grooves. Let me just tell you, they work! 'Nuff said! There are many things to learn from these patterns, the most important is to realize that, as the drummer, your groove is the most important thing. These patterns groove at medium fast to fast tempos. These four patterns, and many more, can be found in Practical Applications Pack. Email me for information about purchasing this book.

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Working with Paradiddles and Stickings

I've been working with my students, both private and at PIT, with their ability to own some sticking patterns. Know what I mean? It's important to really understand how your hands work in order to orchestrate stickings on the drum set, or to be able to set up band figures. Or....just to be able to create new grooves, fills, and other interesting sounds. This exercise utilizes a common permutation of the single paradiddle, RLLR LRRL. This is a four note phrase. By adding more doubles in between the single strokes at the beginning and end, I've developed this relatively musical idea. As you will see and hear, the first measure, to br repeated twice, is a phrase of eight notes. The second measure, also to be repeated twice contains two phrases of six notes followed by one phrase of four notes. Try and play the doubles as rebounds. That's important! Very important is the sticking. Have fun!

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Brasil-Diddles

This is a sticking exercise based on a basic rhythm you can hear and feel coming from certaind styles of Brasil music. The rhythm pattern is the accented parts of this "exercise". You'll notice that there is a BD/HH pattern underneath the hand pattern. It's a "standard" Brasilian style BD/HH pattern, used here to enhance your coordination and independence! If you can't do this, then just put both feet playing quarter or half notes.

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Here's just one groove for Baião (Baion).

Following the first groove is another, this one with a back beat. What I'm practicing is playing these grooves with my left hand on the HH or ride. Both of these grooves have their own ghost note pattern, which really, are very natural things to play. Unfortunately, we have to work on it. But....it sounds good once you get it!! You can also try playing the BD on the "+" of "2" in each measure. Also, trying getting an open HH sound where the accent is marked.

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Stacked Actors

My classes at the Musicians Institute have been filled with some great music as of late. What I've been doing is finding more modern music that reflects the influence of latin music. Most of the drummers at PIT won't want to become "latin" drummers, so it's my job to demonstrate the "why" they should learn about latin music and then, if they're interested, the "how" to learn it. This next groove is a great example of this concept. This is taken from the song "Stacked Actors" by The Foo Fighters. I believe it's Taylor Hawkins on drums. This is more or less a "standard" bossa groove, given Western "standards". The interesting thing is that, on the track, the percussion, probably overdubbed clave, is playing a mirror image of the cross stick of the drums. I have given the assignment to my drummers to learn the song and have the ability to go from this bossa groove to the seriously rockin' chorus, then back again. This definitely requires some concentrated study on your part, should you accept this lesson's challenge. (Hint Hint...Do It!)

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Hand/Coordination Exercise

By borrowing rhythms from Brazilian music I've come up with many different sticking ideas. I've had a lot of success developing coordination and interesting solo and fill ideas by using this concept. The accents found in this example come from a basic rhythm played on the tamborim, a very typical Brazilian instrument. You'll notice the bass drum and hi hat pattern. That gives quite a workout to your control and coordination.

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