Here comes a video of me playing Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles from the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 5 Syllabus.
This is one of the Beatles most well known songs & is surprisingly complex. On the surface it sounds like a nice simple tune but underneath that simple sounding melody there are some tricky figures and some odd time signatures to contend with.
Let’s Figure It Out
The main figure you’ll have to get comfortable with hits us right as the drums are introduced into the fray & occurs every time the singer sings “it’s alright.” The idea behind the figure is to make it sound like we’ve briefly dropped into 3/8 time by accenting every third eighth note on the snare.
This was not the first song to use this idea, and it certainly wasn’t the last. It’s a very common figure that you should become familiar with. Here it is with 2 forms of counting included.
Try counting it both ways and see what works for you. Practice with a variety of drum fills at the end of the bar & not just the ones written in the book to help build you’re facility with this figure. Be sure to work with a metronome & make sure you’re ending on beat 1 of the next bar.
What Time Is It? It’s Odd Time!
The bridge of the song features a sequence of bars all in different time signatures. The sequence is 6/8, 5/8, 4/4 and finally 7/8. You get to repeat this phrase 5 times followed by a bar each of 6/8, 5/8 and then back to 4/4.
To help get used to this phrase I suggest listening to the song and counting through this section. It starts at 01:30 in the video. I count the bar of 4/4 as a bar of 8/8 as I find this makes the counting smoother. So rather than counting this:
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5, 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
I count this:
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
I also always count “7” as “sev” as the extra syllable can cause trouble.
The last two bars of the chorus before the bridge are in 4/4 and 7/8. You may want to count that last bar of 4/4 before the bridge as a bar of 8/8 also.
When you can count along with the song and clap the snare hits then you are ready to try playing it with the song. Listening to the song a lot will help you play this passage more naturally.
Any Clouds On The Horizon?
The rest of the song is fairly simple but the 3/8 figure and the odd time sequence should give you enough to get your teeth into. Getting this song correct is very rewarding and will give you confidence to tackle more songs featuring odd time signatures in the future – they aren’t so scary once you can count them!
The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 5 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re around 3 years into your drumming career. You don’t have to take the exam to benefit from the book. The songs are great to work on & fun to play and will help to improve your drumming. In Singapore you can find the book at Robert Piano – Paragon Shopping Centre (and probably their other outlets). It’s also available from Amazon if you’re happy to pay the shipping!
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