I had meant to ask this question for some time. This question triggered the thought to ask.

I am a drummer of many decades. I feel I am competent, but have never bothered to learn how to read. And so, this question might be difficult to get across without using an articulate explanation:

This drum pattern is so ubiquitous in rock music, I would say it probably appears at least once on every album. To draw attention to what it is, without being able to aptly name the meter, I will point to the song Home Sweet Home by Mötley Crüe. This pattern appears immediately before the band sings the words "Home Sweet Home" in the chorus, every time I believe. Here is that video, pinned to the point where it happens (I gave you about 2 seconds of lead time).

This pattern usually appears across all forms of rock and pop alike within a simple rhythm, like a 4-4. By contrast, this pattern itself is "double-time" (sped up compared to the meter of the rest of the section). The pattern does not last but only for the duration surrounding one of the quarter notes, then the music moves on, either continuing back to the 4-4, or leading into a more complicated fill. The pattern itself is usually punctuated with a crash cymbal at the end.

Since this pattern is so ubiquitous in drumming, I was sure there had to be a name for it. If not, what is the name of the meter compared to the meter of the rest of the music?

  • 1
    are you asking about the two strokes on the snare - two sixteenths on up beat of 2 - followed by crash on the down of 3? May 19, 2021 at 16:35
  • I'm unsure of the "2" and "3". In a 4-4 beat, it usually follows the 4th beat, which is the 2nd snare hit in the measure. How it is charted in @elements tab looks right. It's the busy bit that follows the 4th quarter note in the first measure. May 19, 2021 at 16:49

4 Answers 4


The meter of the song is common time, 4/4.

According to this video by Stephen Taylor the fill, when going from beat 4 to beat 1, is called "the Debbie." I couldn't find anyone else using that exact term, but I did find several examples of a fill named "Pat Boone, Debbie Boone" and I think Taylor must have coined a term borrowing from that.

Something needs to be mentioned about the phrasing in the Motley Crue song. The line "home sweet home" is an anacrusis, a pickup, leading to beat 1:

enter image description here

...the two strokes of the snare and crash come at the up beat of beat 2 to the down beat of beat 3.

If you want to get picky about the phrasing of a fill, and expect it fills the end of a phrase, then this isn't quite a fill. It doesn't fill the ending, it precedes the beginning of the phrase.

The wording does not seem so important to me, but it does seem noteworthy that this "fill" in the middle of the bar, preceding the phrase, it just a tiny accent, while the real phrase endings are pretty loaded up with big fills, some of them filling a full measure.

  • if you want to get really picky, there were some great fills in the 80s that went through to the following 2, not the one. Don't hear them so much these days, but they really diid a job.
    – Tetsujin
    May 19, 2021 at 17:59
  • These are good. Debbie Boone and the interruptor. I'd like to think some terms existed before this guy started making videos not so very long ago. May 19, 2021 at 19:29
  • 2
    @JasonPSallinger if something like 0.0001% of musicians ever heard the names, would you think it gives the right impression to say that "terms existed"? Here it's called "blueberries" i.pinimg.com/originals/18/21/99/… May 20, 2021 at 7:08
  • 1
    Well, since Wikipedia lists things like "flamacue", "pataflafla" or "inverted flam tap", they exist now. The question is how this little fill has avoided getting a name.
    – ojs
    May 20, 2021 at 12:11
  • 1
    There are lots of different mnemonics for rhythms and counting some more widespread than others. I learned "ta ta ti-ti ta" in 1st grade, my guitar teacher counted " 1 2 3 + 4." Be prepared to explain yourself if someone else doesn't know them. "The Debbie" is easier to say than "two sixteenths on an upbeat followed by a crash on the down of one." Your partners should not freak out over these little code words. May 20, 2021 at 16:39

I'm sure that many drummers would recognise it by sound, but I doubt they would have a name for it. It's just snare hits on the 4 & a, and a crash on the 1.

Steven Taylor calls it "a little interruption" in this video of simple drum fills.

X: 1
T: a little interruption
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: C clef=perc style=x
%%score (up down)
V: up stem=up 
gggg gg g!style=normal!c/!style=normal!c/ | aggg gggg ||
[K: style=normal]
V: down stem=down style=normal
[L: 1/4]
F c F c | F c F c ||
  • 1
    As pointed out in the comments it sounds like Tommy Lee is playing the "interruption" in the middle of the bar, not at the end of the bar (as above, and where it usually occurs). May 19, 2021 at 16:58
  • Taylor says in the video "this is what I would call a little interruption". Is this name widely used by the drummer community? May 19, 2021 at 16:58
  • Ok, yeah. Give Me the Night, good song, very recognizable instance there. Thanks for finding this. May 19, 2021 at 17:03
  • @user1079505 Steve Taylor likes to have names for lots of the fills in his videos which incredibly useful, but it's not very common as far as I know (especially for one this short). May 19, 2021 at 17:20
  • "taaa taaa taaa taa-ta-ta" in 4/4 time is nothing special. If you dig through Baroque music like Bach, you will probably find it in no time.
    – Kaz
    May 20, 2021 at 0:43

It's just a 'drum fill'. To be noticeable it needs to be different to the general groove. An obvious way to be different is to be more busy.


"two semiquavers on the offbeat", I'd be surprised if a more specific name actually sees widespread use. "that snare cliche", perhaps.

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