Peter Erskine: Accented Triplet Illusions

Accented Triplet Illusions

Playing three triplets on the snare drum to every one quarter-note on the bass drum is a fairly basic skill for drummers. If we begin to add accent schemes that suggest other time signatures, however, the stakes are raised. But, then again, so are the musical possibilities! Let’s jump right into a fine suggestion of seven by accenting the steady triplet pulse in a 2-2-3 pattern (Ex. 1). Please note that in bar four, the 2-2-3 sequence changes to a 2-2-2 pattern in order to keep the phrase four measures long. Suggested stickings: alternating hands as well as right-hand lead (on each accented note). Now try playing the same snare part but with the bass drum playing a steady rhythm of eighth-notes. Two-against-three, with a 2-2-3 accent scheme in the hands. Why? Stay tuned for more explorations. Meanwhile: have fun practicing and mastering this.

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