I'm looking for the definition of a drum beat where the main beat is slow, about 70 bpm, but the sub beat is about 3 times faster. What is the official name/style of that playing? for example andalusia by joe satriani.

  • Do you mean playing in 3/4? – Tim H Aug 23 '18 at 8:18
  • I guess this specific song is in 3/4 but the style of a slow primary beat and fast sub beats is what i'm talking about, for example this youtube.com/watch?v=KL3ACYEluUw is Not what i'm talking about – CodeHoarder Aug 23 '18 at 10:22
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    What is a “sub beat”? Is this a term you made up? This is not a standard term. – jjmusicnotes Aug 23 '18 at 10:27
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    I made it up, i means the beats between two primary beats which are defined by beats per minute – CodeHoarder Aug 23 '18 at 10:34
  • I like this Q a lot & think folks may be missing the point by describing basic music notation (3/4, etc.). Are you asking about a technique where a song simultaneously employs two drumbeats: one built from long note durations and the other using smaller note durations? The example that came to my mind is Knives Out. The bass establishes a slower beat, & then at 0:18 the drums establish a faster beat. The use of 2 beats in this fashion is a distinct musical technique. (Separately, see sub-beats here.) – jdjazz Aug 23 '18 at 20:41

Not sure about 3 times, but sometimes if the beat is constant and somebody is playing something that seems twice as fast we may refer to that person playing double time. An example would be somebody switching from quarter notes to eighth notes.

On the flip side, if someone is playing half-time it has the opposite feel. Changed quarter notes into half notes. Here is an example of a drummer showing half-time:youtube video


As the comments suggest, you might benefit by reading up on some basics of musical notation. THe "Beats per minute" term, while often used, is normally referring to the fundamental meter of the piece. For example, in 3/4 time, there are three beats per measure, quarter note getting a beat.

But (duh), any musical instrument can play multiple notes per beat. If your putative drummer is playing sixteenths, there'd be four 'hits' per beat. If he's whacking the bass drum on the first quarter note of the measure ("downbeat") and hitting something else on every quarter note, you'd be hearing a 3-to-1 rhythm. And so on.


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