Billy Martin: 4-Way Stridulating

4-Way Stridulating

I created a series of rhythmic “games” called Stridulations for the Good Luck Feast. These games are an exercise in phrasing and rhythmic relationships. Crickets stridulate to make a sound. The concept of crickets sounding around us originally inspired me to write these miniatures for percussion ensembles. Now, I use these miniatures in classes and with bands (Camp MMW, Medeski Martin & Wood, Wicked Knee, Sirius String Quartet …).

The purpose of this game is to explore collective polyrhythm through improvisation. It is not a contest where one wins or loses. Because most of us drummers have the ability to use four limbs at one time we can apply these patterns to our solo practice.

Start by applying Ex. 1 to your ride. Ex. 2 could be the bass drum part. Then, add your left hand or hi-hat pedal to Ex. 3. After you get comfortable playing those combinations, switch up and move other patterns to other limbs. Improvise by changing patterns until you have explored all the possibilities. The next step is to apply all your limbs to all the different patterns.

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