Drumming 5’4 Time Signature

Hitting the right beat?

As a drummer you may have a solid grasp of basic drum loops but think you can only play in 4’4 time. It is time to break out of the comfort zone. How? Decide on a more challenging time signature. Today’s example, 5’4.

To avoid brain overload, slow each bar and/or beat down, count each beat aloud, count rests aloud too. Simply play in groups of 5s, whether it be 5 quavers hit on the ride cymbal, snare, floor tom, or combination of the full kit. Build up the speed EVENLY and GRADUALLY.

Get comfortable with counting in groups other than 2s or 4s! Walk up the stairs or lightly jog while counting in groups of 5 so that playing in 5’s becomes less daunting. It also helps wire the brain by introducing a moving element, not just visual and aural forms of learning.

Listening to masterpieces which have the same time signature. Dave Brubeck Quartet’s ‘Take Five’ is a real ageless hit. It has a constancy and catchy element that makes it familiar to count to and helps stick the 5’4 rhythm in the brain.

Don’t be tempted to just stick to a ‘fill’ in a quick half bar so you don’t lose the rhythm. Let the hi-hat be your constant pulse if you want but improvise using a variation of sounds and syncopations using the full kit.

Listen to Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. Study the drummer, Joe Morello! Play along. 😉 Best wishes. Let me know how you get on!

2 replies to “Drumming 5’4 Time Signature

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