Drums – Fill-ins





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Fill-ins shouldn’t be confused with Fills.  Fills  occur during a break in the Time-Keeping, and often when nobody else in the band is playing.


On the other hand, Fill-ins occur during the Time-Keeping by adding extra notes between the regular Time-Keeping notes and Groove.  This is often done on the Snare Drum quietly (with ghost-notes) or on the Time-Keeping cymbal or on a different one like the Hi-Hat if the Time-Keeping is on the Ride cymbal.


Fill-ins shouldn’t be so loud that they change the Groove because 60-70% of what drummers should be doing is “Support” of the Groove.  Instead, Fill-ins are added to thicken up the texture of the groove and so are a form of “Embellishment,” which is about 20-30% of what drummers should be doing.  Where you do this creates internal phrases that help the Groove flow like waves of energy in the music.  I call these patterns “Rhythmic-Energy Contours” (see Drums – Grooves) just like there are melodic contours regarding the flow of pitch in music.



Video:  On the Snare Drum, add the “e” of Count 4 as an Echo or “a” to Setup “1” or both for a Buildup to “1” based on the Phrasing or what you hear others do


Video:  Make “4e+” very even


Video:  On the Hi-Hat, add “e” or “a” or “e a” in the “4” slot


Video:  On the Hi-Hat, add “e+a” of Count “4” to subtly buildup to “1”


Video:  Add your Fill-ins at the end of a 2 or 4-bar phrase




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