Concept introduction: The 15 Permutations

01 Sixteenth Note Subdivisions - Fifteen Permutations.pdf

Video Transcript

The first thing we need to do is to go over the fifteen rhythmic permutations we'll be using in this course. Just so you know, some of what I'm about to explain may sound a little technical or complicated. Don't let that scare you! Even if you don't understand all the terms I use, or maybe aren't comfortable reading music, you'll be able to figure out the patterns by playing along with the videos.

We're dividing the standard beat or pulse - a quarter note - into four even subdivisions, which we call sixteenth notes. The permutations are all of the possible options for playing one or more of these subdivisions. There are four one-note permutations, six two-note permutations, four three-note permutations, and one four-note permutation.

The PDF page entitled The 15 Permutations shows each of these rhythms written in two ways. The top line shows which of the four sixteenth note subdivisions you play in a certain permutation. For example, the first one is pretty easy: you play the first subdivision and then rest (in other words, don't play) for the next three. The bottom line shows how each rhythm is usually written using standard music notation. If you're unfamiliar with reading music, don't worry - between referring to the PDF and just playing along with the videos, you'll soon learn to recognize the notation that matches the sound and feel of each rhythm. While it's certainly helpful to be able to read music well, and in fact is easier on the drums than with other instruments, that's not what we're really after here, so let's move on.

In the next video we'll play each of the fifteen permutations eight times in a row, working our way through in order. We'll play along with a metronome which will click the beats and all the subdivisions. This will make it easier to hear and feel when to hit and when not to. You'll also see the notation along the top edge of the video.

In the video, I'm playing these rhythms with one hand on one drum. You can copy what I'm doing, or play with any limb or combination of limbs you like. The main thing is to learn the rhythms. Feel free to repeat the video as many times as you need to get comfortable with any unfamiliar patterns. You may also want to practice individual permutations along with your own metronome at whatever speed feels easy to you, until you're ready to tackle the videos that form the bulk of this course.

All right! Let's get to the drums.