Entering the fill & getting back to beat

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
In a word, YES :) In reality, NO!
You are complimenting the other instruments that are mixed in with you.
 

jackie k

Senior Member
Just play any simply beat and practice going into any fill and then think about getting back to the beat. Pretty soon you will feel the fill space and get back to beat/groove.
 
Don't "think" about going "back to the beat," because you should have never left the beat in the first place. The beat should always be there; consistent time is non-negotiable and never worth sacrificing for a "fill."

I think it's important to NOT have a concept of fills like: "I'll play three bars of this beat and then do a fill over the forth." Instead, view the fourth bar as embellishment of the beat, however spicy you want to make it, but never as a departure from the beat. It's not a short drum solo. It's a compliment to the groove and arrangement of the song.

And if you catch yourself thinking about going back and forth between the two, then you've stopped listening to your band mates and you've shied away from letting "fills" happen organically.
 

Jhostetler

Senior Member
I completely agree with most of the above statements. A fill is not just to "fill in" a blank space in the music. It breaks up the pattern and gives a sort of melodic aspect to the drummer's role. And a fill can be absolutely anything you want. However it must fit within the scope of what you are playing. Never overplay a fill. Oddly enough, I find it impossible to underplay a fill. Look a Ringo. Very understated playing, but it fit perfectly. One of my first drum instructors told me this. "Sometimes the best fills in the history of music have been silence." How many songs do you know of that have an amazing break in the middle? It's complete silence for a few beats or bars, but it totally works within the context of the music.

That being said, a fill can totally fall apart if you aren't taking into consideration where you want to go next. I think the OP is right on the money in this aspect. Too often I see young drummers play their three bars, go into a fill, and then somehow get lost halfway through. They lose the time and the feel of the piece.

While the fill is happening, you need to keep the feel of the beat in the back of your mind. I personally don't consider the fill to be the same as the beat. There's no doubt about it, you are doing something different. But, the idea of the beat should never leave.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
Stewart Copeland talked about fills in one interview I saw years ago. To paraphrase...I never think ahead...the fills just happen.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Agree with the above. The fill should keep the beat. You may fill between the 1, 2, 3 and 4 but a fill doesn't leave the beat. If you are doing the money beat there is room between the 1 and 3, and the 2 and 4 on the bass and snare, but the fill fills space between verse and chorus if you will.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
It's too bad we drummers have to use the term 'fill".
Because it makes it sound like there is an empty space in the groove we are playing, a space that needs to be filled.
In reality we are are not "filling" anything. As has been said here we are usually simply adding an embellishment to the groove (beat) that we are playing.


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Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I think "fill" is short for filibuster.

That's where the drummer decides to take over the song and nobody can do a thing about it until the drummer relinquishes control over the song.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Amen!!!

will drummers ever understand this ?????

been preaching this for years

please stop thinking of "beats" and "fills" as separate entities and start thinking about music ....for the love of Pete !!!!
Yes! A fill isn't a mini solo that has nothing to do with the song. It's not your time to show off your new chops, it's a chance for you to express a musical idea in the context of the song that you are playing.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
As I said above, I think a fill is a fill in the music between verses or chorus and not the beat or rhythm. We drummers fill in the space in the lyrics, the music as it's written, not in our own playing.

This from Wiki.
"In popular music, a fill is a short musical passage, riff, or rhythmic sound which helps to sustain the listener's attention during a break between the phrases of a melody."

This is the idea I am trying to convey.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
This from Wiki.
"In popular music, a fill is a short musical passage, riff, or rhythmic sound which helps to sustain the listener's attention during a break between the phrases of a melody."

This is the idea I am trying to convey.
OK, yeah. That makes a lot of sense.


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Boomka

Platinum Member
I think "fill" is short for filibuster.

That's where the drummer decides to take over the song and nobody can do a thing about it until the drummer relinquishes control over the song.
That's certainly how a lot of players do it.

For my students, their first fills are always presented as a whole bar of eighths following on from an 8th note groove. I introduce the idea of 4-bar phrases at the same time so they begin to understand where and why fills generally take place, their role as connections/signposts in the music and how they're part of the overall groove or time feel of the song.

I get them using their first fills along with tracks immediately, so they can develop the ability to keep their time steady when they leave the comfort of the hihats and snare drum to venture around the kit. I'll even have them just play the fills alone along to tracks so they can hear them as part of the music. Tommy Igoe's tracks are great for this, especially the first few grooves in Volume I. They follow simple musical forms and the chord progressions are often 4 bars in length. This way, they learn to HEAR where the fill commences and when to return to their groove based on the musical signals (harmony, hooks, etc.) in the track. Of course, it sounds clunky when they play a fill every 4 bars at first, but once they understand and can hear basic form it's not difficult to get them to lengthen their phrases to 8, 12, 16 or more bars to fit the tune. Again, Igoe's stuff is really helpful because the charts show where different instruments enter and exit and it's easy to have the student play a fill as an introduction to a new instrument being added or subtracted.

The important thing is to present fills in musical context. They're never presented as stand-alone rhythms or licks. Even when explaining a new fill idea, it's always immediately linked back to timekeeping. Even young students are quick to grasp the idea that a fill's job is to provide a variation on the groove and a signal that the phrase has ended and a new one is about to begin.

I usually don't have too many problems with them understanding that more complicated fills generally need to follow the same principles later.
 
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WhoIsTony?

Member
That's certainly how a lot of players do it.

For my students, their first fills are always presented as a whole bar of eighths following on from an 8th note groove. I introduce the idea of 4-bar phrases at the same time so they begin to understand where and why fills generally take place, their role as connections/signposts in the music and how they're part of the overall groove or time feel of the song.

I get them using their first fills along with tracks immediately, so they can develop the ability to keep their time steady when they leave the comfort of the hihats and snare drum to venture around the kit. I'll even have them just play the fills alone along to tracks so they can hear them as part of the music. Tommy Igoe's tracks are great for this, especially the first few grooves in Volume I. They follow simple musical forms and the chord progressions are often 4 bars in length. This way, they learn to HEAR where the fill commences and when to return to their groove based on the musical signals (harmony, hooks, etc.) in the track. Of course, it sounds clunky when they play a fill every 4 bars at first, but once they understand and can hear basic form it's not difficult to get them to lengthen their phrases to 8, 12, 16 or more bars to fit the tune. Again, Igoe's stuff is really helpful because the charts show where different instruments enter and exit and it's easy to have the student play a fill as an introduction to a new instrument being added or subtracted.

The important thing is to present fills in musical context. They're never presented as stand-alone rhythms or licks. Even when explaining a new fill idea, it's always immediately linked back to timekeeping. Even young students are quick to grasp the idea that a fill's job is to provide a variation on the groove and a signal that the phrase has ended and a new one is about to begin.

I usually don't have too many problems with them understanding that more complicated fills generally need to follow the same principles later.
the first "fill" I introduce is always the 4e+ of measure 4 of which we use "banana"

I feel it is the perfect turn around back to the beginning of a 4 measure phrase ... as you stated ... learning to feel 4 measure phrases is of paramount importance from the very first time they sit behind a kit in my opinion ... based on the majority of the music they will first encounter

I do this because I have found that with younger students they tend to start to think they always need to fill the 4th measure with notes when playing music when I introduce the full measure fill first

we do one beat and two beat fills first using syllables

one beat at 4e+ is "banana" ... usually with the last "na" on a tom
two beats at 3e+a 4e+ is "avocado banana"

this also keeps their right hand on 8th notes so it never breaks stride from what their right hand is playing on the hi hat or ride during the groove and keeps that continuity right from their very first experience with "fills"
 
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