E Minor Shuffle

David Garfield – ‘E Minor Shuffle’ (Karizma version)

‘E Minor Shuffle’ was a lot of fun to rehearse and a lot of fun to perform. We worked a lot on the structure up until the jam / solo section right after the drum break. Once we hit that stage, we listened a lot to the original track and developed ideas during rehearsals, adding a few of our own progressions, breaks and feel changes.

I worked a lot on my shuffle to try and get the groove to sit nicely, and I also worked on my double paradiddles (sticking pattern: RLRLRR LRLRLL); It is the pattern Vinnie Colaiuta uses here, and the pattern that many drummers use when entering a half time section. To keep that half time sway going for this song, I found that emphasis and accents were always necessary on beats 1 and 3 of the bar. I tried to bring in some of Vinnie’s fast signature semiquaver fills throughout the piece where appropriate. Having listened to a lot of his drumming in preparation for this and also in the past, I noticed he would ‘push’ on certain beats, displace beats and play cross rhythms. A typical Vinnie displacement will involve him playing a groove in triplets (example below). The only danger is that if the ‘One’ or the 4/4 count underneath is lost, then it can be very difficult to find your way back to regular time:

First bar is a standard 4/4 groove, and the second bar shows that groove being played in triplets. The bass drum and snare drum make it extremely hard to hear it in triplets. In our mind we are hearing a faster 4/4 groove, and the longer you keep playing in these odd groupings, the harder it to hear the original 4/4 groove. It’s worth noting that this only works because of the way in which the bass drum and snare are used, and doesn’t necessarily apply to other triplet grooves. Our minds want to hear kick and snare as beats 1 and 3, and you can trick yourself into thinking that this is the case if you play a groove like that for long enough. Finally, this is not exclusive to triplets and can and has been adapted to any kind of tuplet.

[Update – 12/10/12]

On the night, a technical issue with one of the amps meant that Phil’s solo was cut out. I could feel at the time I wanted to overcompensate with my own playing as a band member was missing, but I tried to keep my playing stylistic. There was a lead from Phil’s solo which took us into a break down section, and I knew immediately that we might struggle to get there. However, Oscar led in with the turn around he plays after Phil’s solo, and we all instantly knew where we all were. I think had it not been for the extensive rehearsals with each other, we may not have been able to read the section change. Within the few months that we have rehearsed as a group, I have found that I have been able to judge when one of the band members wants to change sections or exit a solo, and this judgement came in here. When we initially started playing tracks together, solos would drag on and die down before moving on, because we were not reading each other well. By the end of the process, we could all confidently communicate where we want to go in a song, and when we would like to go there.

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