Drum Fills during Groove Breaks
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Fills shouldn’t be confused with Fill-ins. Fill-ins occur during the Time-Keeping by adding extra quieter (ghost) notes between the regular Time-Keeping notes and Groove, and thus act as “Embellishment” of both.
However, Fills occur after a “Stop” in the Time-Keeping and Groove that creates a “Break” when often nobody else in the band is playing, and thus acts a conversational “Dialogue” with the band. Fills are usually louder than Fill-ins!
Just as Grooves and Fill-ins can, the Fill can create “Rhythmic-Energy Contours” (see Drums – Grooves). Fills can either “Build-up” energy-intensity to signal a louder upcoming Section of the music or they can help “Release” energy-intensity to a mellower Section of the music. In my charts I mark these, with a “F” or “Fill” over a long “<” Crescendo sign or a long “>” Diminuendo sign, respectively. Sometimes I add “B” for “Buildup” to further clarify more volume and/or note-density!
Steve Gadd Triplets for Drum Fills:
Steve Gadd Triplets are R L F or L R F, but these can also be played F R L/F L R or even R F L/L F R. They can be played with 1/8 or 1/16-note Triplets. Instead of the cumbersome counting of 1/8-note Triplets as “1-trip-let, 2-trip-let, etc.,” I teach to count them as “1 e a 2 e a, etc.” or sing “1 da na 2 da na, etc.” or evenly simpler as “1 da da 2 da da, etc.” and for 1/16-note Triplets counting as “1ee+aa 2ee+aa, etc.” or singing as “1 da na and da na, 2 da na and da na, etc.” or even simpler as “1 da da and da da 2 da da and da da, etc.”
Drum-Set Motion Studies in Fills:
I teach my Motion Studies using Linear Fills like R L R L F or R L R L F F or leading with the Feet as F R L R L or F F R L R L, respectively. These Motion Studies will really help you get around your drum set! Keep each stroke evenly spaced and let them flow in a continuous circular motion to take advantage of the free energy of momentum. If you move in a straight line you have to stop to move in another direction, but then you have to overcome the force of inertia – a body at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. You don’t want to be that “outside force,” because this is a waste of energy you could use instead for speed, volume, and endurance!
Rudiments used in Fills:
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