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I'm a recreational drummer, practising some fills at the moment. And to get a better understanding of how the following drum fill (starting at 1:05), covering what I believe to be two measures, is played exactly, I'm trying to write it down in musical notation (in MuseScore). However, with my limited knowledge of music theory I just can't seem to figure out how it is played exactly and/or how it should be notated.

At first I thought I heard twelve 16th notes, followed by ten 8th notes (which would add up to two measures), followed by the crash on the first count of the "third" measure. But on further inspection (I've slowed that portion down in Audacity so I could hear it better) I believe I'm hearing eleven 16th notes first, followed by ten 8th notes, followed by the crash on the first count of the "third" measure. But, eleven 16th notes and ten 8th notes don't add up to two measures.

So my question basically is: what is going on in this fill, technically? Could you help me understand and help me determine how this fill would ideally be notated?

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closed as off topic by Matthew Read Jun 24 '13 at 20:58

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Given that the piece is seven minutes long and that you're looking for a single instance of two measures, it is fairly impossible to know what you're referencing. Please provide some timings for the excerpt in question! Thanks! :) –  jjmusicnotes Jun 20 '13 at 8:02
The first three notes are 16th triplets. I lose count a bit after that, but that should help you analyse the slowed down version. There are lots of triplets in the drum part as a whole. –  slim Jun 20 '13 at 11:09
@jjmusicnotes The link had a time marker, but I guess that didn't work for everybody. I've added the time marker in parentheses now. The fill starts at 1:05 and covers the next two measures. –  Decent Dabbler Jun 20 '13 at 13:58
Sorry, identification questions are off-topic here. In its current form it's unlikely that anyone would have the same question as you, whereas a less specific question about correctly identifying rhythms in general might be more useful. –  Matthew Read Jun 24 '13 at 20:58

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

After listening to the excerpt a few times, this is what I'm hearing:

  • The excerpt is actually only one measure, so that there should clear up some confusion.
  • The first beat is a sextuplet = (six sixteenth notes in one beat)
  • The second beat is a sixteenth-note triplet followed by two sixteenth notes
  • The third and fourth beats are a group of four sixteenth notes respectively

The rhythm for the fill looks like this:

enter image description here

In terms of drums used / notation, it's actually quite simple. The percussionist uses a snare drum for the first beat and then plays a med-low or a floor tom for the remaining three beats. What probably threw you off was the use of panning and slight phase in the recording.

Since drum sets can be highly varied, notation for them in terms of what instruments are assigned where on the clef can be highly varied depending on the style and music. That said, there are some pretty generally accepted conventions for notation, which you can see below:

enter image description here

For the particular fill from the excerpt, one way to notate it would be:

enter image description here

Hope that helps!

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