15th September 2016 Wil Wainwright

Exploring Odd Groupings Part 1

Hello and welcome to the first of my lessons for the Istanbul Mehmet Blog.

  1. This is the simplest style of groove in 7/8.  It follows the standard “money” beat with a simple 1/8 note removed.  Spend some time getting comfortable with how this feels.  A little piece of advice, when counting only count to “sev” not “seven”.  This is because “seven” has two syllables and your brain will try and normalise your groove and all too easily you can end up playing 4/4.  The way to start counting this would be; one, two, three, four, five, six, sev.
  2. Now we add our basic 1/4 note accent on the hi hats.  As we loop this, the jumping/skipping sound is accentuated and it makes the odd time signature feel even more odd.
  3. With number 3 we have switched the accent to the off beat.  Take your time with this as it’s easy to get caught out and put an accent on beat one when you loop it.
  4. This is the main focus of this lesson.  We are effectively playing example 2 into 3.  We are now playing in 7/4 which allows us to keep the accents rolling.  This gives the groove better flow and “evens out” the odd time signature.
  5. In the final example we are just playing the accent pattern.  This gives it a nice chunky sound, but again doesn’t feel too “odd”


I am going to end this lesson by saying that although this lesson is a basic introduction to one of the ways that you can make odd time signatures feel less odd and more musical, the core principles will really help your playing in 4/4 as well.  So have some fun.

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