'A A A A - A B' Structure

Eight bar phrases that add a 'C' section to an existing phrase.

In this lesson you will be learning a new phrasing 'shape'. In level 1 you learned patterns that all fell into blocks of 2, 4 or 8 which made for nice logical parts and you are now most likely very comfortable with fill placement and general construction of these phrases. Now I will be throwing a bit of a spanner in the works by showing you some ideas that last for six bars. The part will be simple enough but it may take some adjusting to the different placement of fills. The phrase could be thought of as a straight four bar pattern with an extra two bars or as an eight bar pattern with two less bars. In this lesson we'll start simple and only use two different sections and you'll get 5 bars worth of A (a groove) followed by a B (a fill). That structure will look like this:

A six bar phrase made up 5 lots of A followed by a B.

First of all, notice how the second line only fills up half the space? This is notation trick I use to highlight the fact that the phrase is cut short. If the first line is made up of all the same groove a Repeat Mark is often used to cut this phrase down to one line. Percentage Repeats can also be used to acheive the same result.

This structure is used for various different reasons in songs and pieces of music. One reason would be that the singer has wrote the lyrics in a way that sits best over six bars of music. Similarly, the vocal part may fit nicely over four bars and two bars of 'padding' before the next set of vocals may work. It could also be the case that a riff or chord sequence just falls this way.

Listed below are several example of this structure with a drum kit part applied. I have used a variety of different construction ideas but feel free to create your own parts.

Example 1

A six bar phrase made of two parts.

Example 2

A six bar phrase made of two parts.

Example 3

A six bar phrase made of two parts.

Example 4

A six bar phrase made of two parts.

Example 5

A six bar phrase made of two parts.


  1. Using the 2 minute rule, get all phrases up to a tempo of at least 130bpm.
  2. Create your own versions of these patterns based on the original phrase.