'Ode To Sleep' Syncopated Tom Verse Groove

Learn to play a groove made of an eighth note tom pattern made of an odd rhythm broken up with bass drums using this 21 pilots song as an example.

In this lesson you will be learning a groove inspired by the song Ode To Sleep by Twenty One Pilots. You can hear the pattern at 1:12 in the video linked, which is half way through the first verse. The groove in question is a half time four bar pattern mainly built of crotchets and quavers that uses an odd syncopated rhythm with some decorative 16ths thrown in at various points. Kicks are often placed between the hands to add to the off beat sound. The parts are then played at a high tempo, giving it more of a sixteenth note feel.

The intention of this lesson is to show how having a good level of co ordination between your hands and feet allows for the construction of really cool sounding parts. Through this page the part will be built up in a step by step manner to make the learning process a little easier. If you would just like to dive straight into the full groove skip down to the bottom of the page.

Step 1

We'll start off with a simple crotchet pattern. Bars 1 and 3 are a fairly bog standard half time groove but in bars 2 and 4 the snares have been displaced. In these bars you will find a snare on beat 2 of the bar. In the final groove bar 4 will contain a half bar fill at the end, the space for this has been filled here with a single crotchet snare.

Building up the ode to sleep groove.

Step 2

In this step you are going to add some bass drums on '+' counts in between some of those crotchet counts. In bars 1 and 3 this is on the '+' after beat 2, just before the snare. In bars 2 and 4 this is on the '+' after beat 1.

Building up the ode to sleep groove.

Step 3

Next, some high toms are going to be added in a similar way to the bass drums of the previous step. These will all fall between the crotchet notes of the orginal part and will be played with a left hand. In bars 1 and 3 these fall on the very last '+' count of the bar, after beat 4. In bar 2 one is added on the '+' count after beat 3.

Building up the ode to sleep groove.

Step 4

The additions in this step will all be additional eighth note floor toms which in the next step will be turned into sixteenth notes. Again, these fall on '+' counts between the original crotchet counts but this time will be played on the right hand. In bar 2 a floor tom is added at the very end of the bar on the '+' count after beat 4. In bar 3 one is found on the '+' after beat 1. In bar 4 another snare has been added on the '+' after beat 3 also.

Building up the ode to sleep groove.

Step 5

Now those floor toms from the last step will all be doubled up to sixteenth notes. These will be played in a standard single stroke 'R L' sticking.

Building up the ode to sleep groove.

Step 6

To create the full pattern the fill in bar is completed. This is a fairly standard single stroke roll orchestration known as the triangle pattern (linked at the bottom of the page.

Building up the ode to sleep groove.


  1. Learn all given examples up to a tempo of at least 150bpm.
  2. Experiment with creating your own grooves using the ideas presented.
  3. Try playing a long to the full 21 Pilots song.