Jim Riley here: Nashville Number System Book + Signature Snare

skippy

Senior Member
i just recently lost an opportunity for a recording gig because i did not know the Nashville number system. so of course i google this to look into it so i can add it to my arsenal. ive searched every combo of the words i can think of and have no idea how it pertains to the drums. if any one can explain or send me somewhere that explains that would be rad. i understand how it works for keys and octaves and whatnot now but i dont know how it would transfer to the drums.
thanks. skippy.
 

mondo

Junior Member
It is really simple...

If a song is in the key of C, C would be 1, C# would be 2, d would be 3, d# would be 4, e would be 5, f would be 6, so on and so forth...

EX.

15751 would be c e f# e c

Hope that helped.
 

PBW

Member
Re: Nashville Number System

i just recently lost an opportunity for a recording gig because i did not know the Nashville number system. so of course i google this to look into it so i can add it to my arsenal. ive searched every combo of the words i can think of and have no idea how it pertains to the drums. if any one can explain or send me somewhere that explains that would be rad. i understand how it works for keys and octaves and whatnot now but i dont know how it would transfer to the drums.
thanks. skippy.
This article explains it nicely. It's an extract from an excellent book called "how music really works"...

http://www.howmusicreallyworks.com/Pages_Chapter_6/6_4.html
 

skippy

Senior Member
Re: Nashville Number System

thanks guys. my question though is do the have the number system for drums. or is this just for melodic instruments.
 

PBW

Member
Re: Nashville Number System

thanks guys. my question though is do the have the number system for drums. or is this just for melodic instruments.
It's only for melodic instruments, it doesn't apply to a drum kit...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: Nashville Number System

It does apply to the drum kit, not in a direct manner, but when the songs chording changes from say the 1 to the 4, a lot of times the 4 is the chorus, or bridge, or turnaround or whatever and a lot of times the rhythmic feel changes along with the chord change, and/or the transition needs to be set up with a rhythmic fill or figure, so it indirectly applies. If I were Skippy I would have fibbed about knowing it ha ha...The Nashville number system? Not a problem, piece of cake! Lets play!
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Re: Nashville Number System

I have done some recording with Nashville artists, and larryace nailed it. There isn't an actual correlation between the numbers and the actual drums, etc (like, you will never have a producer say to you "Play a fill starting with 16th notes on the 1 drum, then move to 8th notes on the 5 drum"). However, you might hear "When it transitions to the four, we need a big fill.
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
Re: Nashville Number System

It is really simple...

If a song is in the key of C, C would be 1, C# would be 2, d would be 3, d# would be 4, e would be 5, f would be 6, so on and so forth...

EX.

15751 would be c e f# e c

Hope that helped.
I think it's more than just that - I read the Jim Riley Modern Drummer article about the Nashville Number, he explain pretty much in details.


BTW, here's Jim "Lips of an Angel" charted with the Nashville Numbers

 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
Re: Nashville Number System

I think it's more than just that - I read the Jim Riley Modern Drummer article about the Nashville Number, he explain pretty much in details.


BTW, here's Jim "Lips of an Angel" charted with the Nashville Numbers


And you will also see parentheses used to indicate a single bar which has more than one chord rather than being underlined. Any number by itself is a single bar and if a bar is 2/4 or anything other than what the original time signature is, it will be notated above the bar with "II" for example for a 2/4 bar. There really aren't any standard rules on this type of chart except for the numbers which make it simple to change the key of a song on the fly.


Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com

http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
 

hazysonic

Junior Member
Re: Nashville Number System

Lots of opinions here, but not much in the way answering your question.... NNS definitely applies directly to playing a song on drums. There's a few good web pages on NNS, some books on it.

Already mentioned here is how it notates form and structure (I - V - Pre - C) and the chords. And you can see that rhythms are written in above measures or for a section of the tune.

It also tells you the tempo, harmonic rhythm (how often chords change). Individual numbers represent 1 measure but if two or more are underlined or in parenthesis, it means that there is more than one chord change for that measure. Also the "<" symbol shows when chords are "pushed" to happen half a beat early (which you would usually follow with your kick). A diamond around a number means a sustained whole note (you would usually hit a cymbal). if there is an added measure at the end of a form it would use a single "." ... Slashes right after a number indicate a cutoff (choked hh or crash usually), and slashes by themself inside parenthesis or underline shows beats.

Ideally you can sit down with a NNS chart and play a song you've never heard before and know exactly how many measures in each verse, when to build the pre-chorus, when to fill into the chorus, where the accents are, if there are any stops/hits/diamonds and anything else that goes on in the song. If you understand the chords as well, you'll be ahead of the game getting the feel right, but either way it definitely applies directly to playing a song on drums.
 

mind_drummer

Platinum Member
Re: Nashville Number System

Lots of opinions here, but not much in the way answering your question.... NNS definitely applies directly to playing a song on drums. There's a few good web pages on NNS, some books on it.

Already mentioned here is how it notates form and structure (I - V - Pre - C) and the chords. And you can see that rhythms are written in above measures or for a section of the tune.

It also tells you the tempo, harmonic rhythm (how often chords change). Individual numbers represent 1 measure but if two or more are underlined or in parenthesis, it means that there is more than one chord change for that measure. Also the "<" symbol shows when chords are "pushed" to happen half a beat early (which you would usually follow with your kick). A diamond around a number means a sustained whole note (you would usually hit a cymbal). if there is an added measure at the end of a form it would use a single "." ... Slashes right after a number indicate a cutoff (choked hh or crash usually), and slashes by themself inside parenthesis or underline shows beats.

Ideally you can sit down with a NNS chart and play a song you've never heard before and know exactly how many measures in each verse, when to build the pre-chorus, when to fill into the chorus, where the accents are, if there are any stops/hits/diamonds and anything else that goes on in the song. If you understand the chords as well, you'll be ahead of the game getting the feel right, but either way it definitely applies directly to playing a song on drums.

Good first post and welcome BTW.

As I can read notation chart, there's one thing that I need to ask, what is the advantage or better, "what is the pros & cons of both drum notation, the music noted chart & NNS ?"
 

PBW

Member
Re: Nashville Number System

Already mentioned here is how it notates form and structure (I - V - Pre - C) and the chords. And you can see that rhythms are written in above measures or for a section of the tune.
The original poster is asking "how do nashville numbers pertain to the drums".

These things you're talking about, like rhythm and tempo, are all things APART from nashville numbers, that may also be present on a lead sheet. Things like "rhythms written above the measure" and "slashes to show beats" are nothing to do with nashville numbers. They are conveyed by other things on the lead sheet.

The numbers alone are not much use at all.
 
Last edited:

Jim Riley

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Re: Nashville Number System

Hey Guys It's Jim Riley here.

I'm finishing up a book for Hal Leonard on this subject and would be glad to answer any questions on the subject. You can find me at my website, www.jimrileymusic.com Or ask away here.
The best thing about the system is that since each number standing alone represents a measure you can clearly see how many measures are in a particular section without counting them. .Thats because they are grouped in musical phrases (usually 4 bar phrases.)
The biggest things as a drummer to look out for is that little < sign above and to the left of a number. That tells you to attack that chord an eighth note sooner. It is called a push. Normally two chords to a measure means you play the first chord for two beats, then change on beat three chord. When you see that push in the second measure of the ch, that would mean play an accent on the and of two instead of beat three
The other thing to look out for is the diamond, Like the 4 at the end of the ch. That means stop playing the groove and play a whole note on your chrash and bass drum. Hope this helps...

-Jim Riley
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
Re: Nashville Number System

Hey Guys It's Jim Riley here.

I'm finishing up a book for Hal Leonard on this subject and would be glad to answer any questions on the subject. You can find me at my website, www.jimrileymusic.com Or ask away here.
The best thing about the system is that since each number standing alone represents a measure you can clearly see how many measures are in a particular section without counting them. .Thats because they are grouped in musical phrases (usually 4 bar phrases.)
The biggest things as a drummer to look out for is that little < sign above and to the left of a number. That tells you to attack that chord an eighth note sooner. It is called a push. Normally two chords to a measure means you play the first chord for two beats, then change on beat three chord. When you see that push in the second measure of the ch, that would mean play an accent on the and of two instead of beat three
The other thing to look out for is the diamond, Like the 4 at the end of the ch. That means stop playing the groove and play a whole note on your chrash and bass drum. Hope this helps...

-Jim Riley
I like these kinds of notation systems. I jammed a few times with a keyboard player that would right out songs we were learning with NNS. He would use a whole sheet on a clipboard and it becomes one big cue card for the whole song. I've also used Billy Ward's method and I like Kenny Aronoff's approach of writing playing style notes all over the sheet.

It was a little difficult for me at first to learn a song this way. After I learned Jacob Dylan's - One Headlight this way, I remember I made it through the next five songs we learned as a four piece without having any stops because I recognized the navigational cues to the songs.

I can imagine, if you are a studio badass you could jam first-time tunes and everybody could stay together, and get one-take worthy stuff.

I really need to study NNS again. I have fallen back to a hybrid method sloppy looking cribsheet that is sometimes harder to understand if you go back and look at it weeks later. I usually learn a song and if we dig it out and play it again then I go on memory and wing it.
 
Last edited:

Jim Riley

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Re: Nashville Number System

Well, one of the biggest advantages of this system is that everybody reads the same chart! If you write a bunch of style notes and bar counts, chances are only you would be able to read them. I can write a NNS chart, pass it out to a band and make it through a song.
I noticed someone had said that the numbers don't mean much to drummers. While it's true that we don't play chords, don't you want to know what the rest of the band is playing? For me, knowing what chord the band is going to on the bridge determines what I'm going to play. The other advantage is if you can follow along with the numbers, you never have to count. All you have to do is listen to the chords as the go by to keep you place.
My final reason for wanting to have the numbers in my chart is, as musicial director, it is my responsibility to know what the rest of the band is doing. It is also very helpful to "speak thier language." They hate is when you ask them to take the song from 4 bars after that big fill..... :)
 

Isaac Lee

Member
Re: Nashville Number System

On a scale of 1-10 how important is knowing the NNS to a modern working drummer who divides his time between live performance, studio, rehersals, and auditions? Thanks!
 

mikei

Gold Member
Jim Riley Snare??? Have any of you heard or seen it in person?

Hello,

What is the scoop on the Jim Riley Signature Snare from Ludwig. 8 x 14 stainless steel with die cast hoops!

Have any of you had the pleasure of hearing it or seeing it.

I am very tempted to purchase one, but haven't heard any reviews.

Thank you very much for your time.

Mike
 

brady

Platinum Member
Re: Jim Riley Snare??? Have any of you heard or seen it in person?

I would be interested in hearing more about it too. When I first saw it I thought, "There's the deep metal snare I've been looking for." It's about the same price as a Black Beauty, I would love to know how it compares.
I thought Jim Riley had been on here before. Maybe he will see this and fill us in. And just maybe provide some free samples for the first two guys on DW to ask about his awesome new snare!!
 
Top