Using simple orchestration ideas and sixteenth kicks to create a complex sounding groove.
In this lesson you will be learning a groove inspired by the song The Mirror by Dream Theater. The groove in question is used through the first part of the chorus and can first be heard at around 2:59 in the video linked. The part is a one bar common time groove built up of an eighth note right hand orchestrated around several parts of the kit with the kick and snares playing a '1 +a' style rhythm underneath.
Through this page the groove will be built up step by step to make the learning process a little easier. The groove makes use of a type of cymbal generally reffered to as a stack. A stack is two or more cymbals placed on top of one another on the same stand and this has a very short and aggressive sound. These kind of cymbal is great for accenting and in this pattern it highlights the off beat eighth notes. If you don't have a stack a splash or a hi hat will work just as well. It will make some of the movements a little easier if the cymbal is postitioned near to the ride as your right hand will be moving between the stack and ride over eight notes.
As with most step by step parts, we'll start with a level 0 style groove. Here the right hand is playing the ride bell with a crash on beat 1.
This step is all about getting the right hand moving. Through the bar the bell is playing on the numbered counts, giving a nice solid quarter note feel. Around that the stack is accenting all the '+' counts, adding a bit of rhythmic decoration. Don't forget to get the crash on beat 1 also.
In each of the last few steps you will be doubling up most of the eighth note kicks to create the '1 +a' rhythm. In the final groove a double sixteenth kick will always be played when the stack is hit. Because the tempo is nice and slow this can easily be done on a single kick pedal. The first of these will be the '+' after beat 1 by adding an extra kick on the 'a' count.
Next, apply the same idea on the '+' after two by adding another kick on the 'a' after beat 2.
Then exactly the same idea for beat 3, with a kick on the 'a' after beat 3.
Finally, to create the full groove add one more sixteenth note kick to the 'a' count after beat 4.
- Learn the full groove upto a tempo of at least 85bpm, which is the speed of the song.
- Try playing a long to the full dream theatre song, there will be some challenging parts.
- Apply the groove to a four or eighth bar phrase.