The Elements of Rhythm, Vol. II, Relative Notation and Counting Syllables

The 3rd video in our series of Introduction to The Elements of Rhythm Vol. II, Relative Notation and Counting Syllables.

Here, we present the complete list of fundamental building block rhythm patterns from Volume I and do so in a way that lets us read identical-sounding rhythm patterns in varying metric contexts, such as 4/2, 4/4, 4/8, 4/16, and 4/32, simultaneously.

We also introduce the concept of relative notation, where an absolute sound shape is written using varying notation, depending upon the beat note context. Various counting exercises are presented to help de-condition our usual expectation of counting certain types of notation using predictable syllables (e.g., sixteenth rests and notes as 1 e + uh in 4/4, as opposed to 1 + 2 + in 4/8, for example).

A complete list of counting syllables for Event Point Levels 1-8 are introduced as well, and serve as a helpful tool for beginner readers, allowing them to clap, sing and sound out all of the fundamental building block rhythm patterns.

For viewers unfamiliar with the books, this video will give you a good overview and hopefully inspire you to want to learn more about The Elements of Rhythm, Vols. I & II.

2nd Video about The Elements of Rhythm, Vol. I, Introduction to Binary Rhythm Pattern Theory

I created a second video to present excerpts from The Elements of Rhythm. Vol. I, that help teach the basics of binary rhythm pattern theory. It’s a little fuzzy here and there, and I’m working to get my grasp of technology dialed in, but the message is very clear: there are a finite number of building block rhythm patterns that all the larger combinations come from.

The books (both volumes) explore this notion, but it’s Volume I that has the true theoretical meat to it.

If you watch this YouTube video and give me six minutes, it’ll radically change your notions about where rhythm patterns originate, at least mathematically. And we’ve really never had any kind of system quite like this before to make the complexities so understandable. That was my primary goal, by the way: to make the rhythmic universe comprehendible.

I hope you enjoy it and get see where things can go, because if you do, your rhythmic understanding will expand incredibly…

Video Introducing The Elements of Rhythm, Volumes I & II

Well it took awhile, but I’m really excited to post this link tonight to a YouTube video I made about my books, The Elements of Rhythm, Volumes I & II.

Let me tell you, writing books is vastly easier than making videos about them!

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, so here’s the link:

I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for watching!

Mastering the 256 Basic 4/4 Jazz/Latin Rhythm Patterns

One of the true values of The Elements of Rhythm, Vols. I & II,  is the exploration and presentation of the fundamental building block rhythm patterns found in virtually any and all styles of music.

If you have the books, you understand the process for systematically combining the patterns which results in no possibility being left out. You also know that there’s a lot of ink within the pages, and that it’s best to specifically target clearly defined areas of interest to study and improve upon.

When I first began work on Volume I, it was a simple idea: take the sixteen 2/4 patterns of eighth and quarter notes/rests that Terry Bozzio had shown me during a lesson and combine them with themselves to make bigger list of vocabulary patterns.

Pages 232-239 contain those 256 fundamental eighth and quarter rest/note combinations that comprise the basic 4/4 jazz and Latin rhythm patterns you’re likely to encounter. As with all the other patterns in the book, it’s not about sight reading; it’s about mastery of the absolute sound shape and the space between the notes.

Here an example from page 232, The Elements of Rhythm, Vol. I:


If you go through the 256 patterns and sing them out loud, you will instantly recognize some of the more classic rhythms. For drummers, play time on the ride cymbal and play all the patterns with your left hand on the snare drum. It’ll take some doing, so give yourself a break in between completing the hand version. Then go back and play them between your hands and feet.

It’s also easy imagine the patterns in the context of Latin music, usually in two bar phrases. Many of the patterns can be played by drummers on the bell of the cymbal or on a cowbell, also in two bar phrases.

How ever you may choose to practice the patterns, remember that mastery, not sight reading, is the objective. Really take the time to get to know these patterns. Don’t let the pace of our world rush you at nine-hundred miles an hour. Breathe this stuff in deeply. It’s the core of your creative palette, and integration into your musical mind is the most important objective.

Do that, and the magic will unfold when you play.