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Old 05-29-2013, 05:32 PM
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Arky Arky is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Germany
Posts: 3,062

Here's my review of
"The Drum Master Key“ by Florian Alexandru-Zorn
(book, 50+ pages, approx. 15 Euros)

Florian Alexandru-Zorn is the author of several books (on brush playing, jazz standards and drums on famous music scores) and also published his superb DVD „The Brush Secret“ (actually a 2-DVD set) in 2012. „The Drum Master Key“ is his newest book.

When I tried to order the book I was told it’s not available yet so I addressed the author himself (the book hadn't hit German/European stores at that time yet but Florian had a few promotional copies at his disposal), and Florian was so kind as to send me one copy for free – how cool is that! For a minor return service though – he asked me to write a review, and here it is ;-)

At first I was surprised by the book having a mere 50+ pages. But then I realized that the book is designed to provide concepts, not specific exercises. The book contains handful of exercises though, as examples of how those concepts can be applied. There’s just a couple chapters.

The 1st chapter is „The Key To Time“ (including the ‚Pyramid Stickings‘ concept – which in itself is a kind of Stick Control in mini format as that pyramid system of stickings allows for a huge number of combinations, and when written out, those would produce several pages of Stick Control). The time pyramid also contains groups of 5 and 7 to fill up the typically used subdivisions from quarter notes to 32nd notes. Applying various stickings to those subdivisions creates an abundance of possible combinations.

The 2nd chapter, „The Master Key“ explains the concept of various aspects like timing, sticking, accent studies etc. adding up removing anything that could limit one’s playing. This chapter also applies the various subdivisions to stickings and accent patterns so again, numerous combinations are created. There’s also some examples of how those concepts can be applied in a groove context. The patterns themselves can be played on the same drum or across various drums, using hands and/or feet etc – the user is encouraged to take this approach and come up with his own way of applying them to the drumkit.

The 3rd chapter discusses accented note groups (of 3, 5 and 7) applied to various subdivisions including the 5 and 7 rhythms, polyrhythm/polymetrics and also a few blank pages (read on).

I already encountered some of the concepts in the online lessons that Florian is offering (I’ve been a member for a few months now), and I clearly see the huge potential of those concepts as they can be applied to so many situations. E.g. when working on some rudiments, those can be played in unusual subdivisions or with different accents, enormously varying up one’s practice and creating quite some challenge.

Finally there’s a section on polyrhythms/polymetrics (a total of 10 patterns) plus a few blank pages for the user to determine how to assign the accented vs. unaccented beats within a pattern to specific drum elements. So many (rather: endless) possibilities.

Ultimately this is not the typical xy amount of exercises book, everything is based on concepts. Applying those concepts calls for creativity so everybody would get various results out of this book. I like the versatile concepts discussed a lot but frankly, I haven’t fully gotten accustomed to those concepts yet. That’s because my other drum books usually focus on providing specific examples – which is great but a somewhat different approach.

Check this book out if you have a chance. I can recommend it but the sheer number of variations takes a serious amount of independent learning/applying which is rather different from many other tutorials. It takes some time to experiment with those concepts but the benefit will be deep.
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