In general terms, imitation is essentially copying but in most cases you would think of an imitation as not an exact copy. In musical terms it is pretty much the same thing, it is the repetition of a phrase in a different voice to that used in its first appearance. An imitated part usually comes straight after the first use. This is a very simple idea to apply when constructing parts but the use of similar parts helps what you've played stand out. There is no limit on the length of phrase that can be imitated. Longer phrases work just as well in this idea as shorter ones.

As well as working between different phrases within the drum part, this can also be applied between instruments. For example a guitar could play a simple melody that you could then imitate over the toms.

Below I have given a couple of written examples of drum kit parts where imitation is applied in various different ways, an explanation is given with each version.

Example 1

Here imitation is applied within a groove. The '1 + 2' played on the bass drum during the first half of the bar is then switched to the snare in the second half.

A short phrase using imitation

Example 2

This time imitatio is used within a fill and again, the rhythm used over beats 1 and 2 intitally on the snare is moved to the floor tom for beats 3 and 4.

A short phrase using imitation

Example 3

In this groove application a 1 beat phrase is imitated throughout the bar.

A short phrase using imitation

Example 4

Finally a more complicated part that is essentially just that same imitation idea.

A short phrase using imitation


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