Mastering 6 Over 4

By Jim Donovan Originally Published in DRUM! Magazine's August 2007 Issue

At the foundation of many West African rhythmic structures is the polyrhythm 6 over 4. The trick to internalizing this feel and applying it to the kit is to start very slowly. Begin by simply using your dominant hand and your kick drum. Try counting 6 aloud as you play the first exercise. Then try counting 4. The goal is to gradually be able to feel both 6 and 4 at the same time. Exercises 2–4 implement bell patterns from the Ghanaian Eve tradition. Remember, accuracy and a relaxed feel is much more important than speed while you’re learning these.

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