Here’s a simple polyrhythmic triplet fill you can use next time you’re playing a shuffle or another 8th note triplet groove.
This fill uses groups of 4 over the triplet subdivision to give a polyrhythmic feel. It’s not quite as simple as it seems. Let’s break it down.
Learn The Fill
Our first step is to understand the polyrhythmic nature of the fill. The fill is based on a 3 over 4 polyrhythm. Try playing this exercise:
If you are playing it correctly, you should hear your bass drum playing the regular 4/4 pulse and the snare drum accent playing a regular pulse over the top. The bass drum is playing a 4/4 pulse, the snare drum appears to playing a 3/4 pulse but in the same amount of time. If we remove the unaccented snare drum notes and add the counting then we get this:
Being able to play this rhythm will give you a better understanding and feel for this fill and enable you to create your own ideas.
Fill of the week 8 uses four-note groupings over the 8th note triplet to create the illusion that we are briefly playing in 3/4 time. Here’s the fill with the counting added; we change from one drum to another where the accents were happening in our first exercise – beat 1, the “puh” of 2 and the “let” of 3
The fill is simple to execute physically, but mentally it can be challenging. Don’t lose your timing while playing the fill!
Take It Further
Adding the bass drum under this fill on the quarter note pulse brings out the polyrhythmic nature of the fill more. It may also give people who are clapping along with you a better chance of staying in time!
Having the bass drum playing on the 3/4 pulse will add to the weirdness of the fill and really make it difficult for people clapping along.
We can also make the 3/4 pulse more obvious by playing something like this:
This fill just has a tom tom played on the 3/4 pulse. Accent the tom tom and play the snare quietly to really bring out the 3/4 feel.
The next variations just use different 4 note groupings.
Both of those fills will make your next blues jam more interesting.
I hope you enjoy working on fill of the week #8 and if you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, reach out to us on the contact us page.