16th notes on drums question

Sticks Of Fury

Senior Member
Hello.
I think I asked a similar question about 16th notes on here, years ago. You guys could probably tell me to google it, but I will ask you guys since you know a ton about drums/drumming.

There are a couple different things about 16th notes referring to drums, right? When you play the high hats with two hands and bring your right hand down to hit the snare, 16th notes, right? But doesn't 16th notes also mean that the fill is extended longer? Like 2 bars instead of one? I don't know much technical music terms. You guys know what I'm talking about.

I was confused years ago because I always thought that those fast 8th note tom rolls, were 16th note fills. That fast 8th note tom roll was on Cream's song "White Room", for example.

So basically, could you guys break down any 16th note terminology on drums, for me? I would really appreciate it. Thanks. Take care.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
In most popular music there are 4 quarter notes per measure, we call it 4/4 time. Each quarter note contains 4 sixteenth notes, or 2 8th notes, or 1 8th note and 2 16th notes. With me so far?
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
if your tapping your toe to the metronome / pulse.

it would be 4 hits for every foot tap

1 e and a , 2 e and a.

those are 16th notes... its a rate of the notes,, it can be a fill, a groove,, rests, anything
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
The problem is that you're thinking of them as a measure of time, when they are not. They are in fact a division of time. The note value does not relate to how many bars a fill or groove is played, nor does the concept relate to what part of the kit you're playing... 16th notes can be played on the snare just as easily as on a high hat,(or even a piano or counter-top for that matter) and they can be played with as many limbs as you can manage.

You gotta fundamentally change the direction you're thinking of this in. To be blunt it seems like you're not even close.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
In regular 4/4 time 16th notes means four notes pr. beat.


This is really fundamental, though. I understand that some people want to get away without learning the fundamentals, but I suggest you do yourself a favour, get a beginner drum book and learn the basics of reading and counting rhythms. You can thank me later.
 

poppies

Senior Member
Sticks of Fury, feel free to PM me, and we can go over this on the phone. Might be a little tough to understand without hearing some examples.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
As others have said, a sixteenth is a quicker subdivision - two 16ths take the same space as one eighth note when played at the same tempo.

In this figure, if the time signature is 4/4, every line takes exactly the same amount of time - one measure.

 

tcspears

Gold Member
There are a couple different things about 16th notes referring to drums, right?
There aren't a couple of different things, a 16th note is a note with a specific duration - a 16th of a whole note. You could also see it as 25% of a quarter note, or half of an eight note. There's a visual above that breaks that down.


When you play the high hats with two hands and bring your right hand down to hit the snare, 16th notes, right?
I think you are talking about a groove here. That has nothing to do with 16th notes. You could be playing 32nd notes, 8th notes, or quarter notes with both hands on the HH.

Again 16th notes are specific notes with a specific duration. It's entirely possible that the beat you're describing uses 16th notes, but it doesn't have to.


But doesn't 16th notes also mean that the fill is extended longer? Like 2 bars instead of one? I don't know much technical music terms. You guys know what I'm talking about.

I was confused years ago because I always thought that those fast 8th note tom rolls, were 16th note fills. That fast 8th note tom roll was on Cream's song "White Room", for example.
16th notes are notes with a specific duration, they have nothing to do with how many measures a fill takes up.

I know I've heard that song, but I'm not super familiar with it, so I can't comment on the fills he uses.

There are a certain amount of measures for every song, usually it's 32. If the song is in 4/4 time, then each of those measures contains 4 beats.

Musicians can divide those four beats up in any number of ways, but the parts have to fit into the measures. Imagine you have an apple. It doesn't matter if the apple is whole, cut into 4 pieces, or cut into 16 pieces... it's still one apple. That apple is one measure of time.

Most rock/pop, jazz, and Latin songs are based on 8th notes and are in 4/4 time. 4/4 time means there are 4 beats (quarter notes) per measure. If I'm playing a rock beat, I might play 8 8th notes, hit the snare on 2 and 4, and the BD on 1 and 3.

Those 8 8th notes still equal four beats to the measure, I'm just playing notes with a shorter duration.

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

16th notes are just notes with half the duration of 8th notes, so playing one bar of 4/4 would look like:

1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a

The measure still takes the same amount of time to be played, we're just playing more notes with shorter duration. We're cutting the apple into 16 pieces, rather than 8.



Also, to piggy back on what Odd-Arne Oseberg said, understanding note duration is probably one of the most fundamental things that a drummer needs to learn. I'd STRONGLY recommend getting a beginner's drum book and going through it and/or getting in touch with a teacher.
 

Brian

Gold Member
Hello.
I think I asked a similar question about 16th notes on here, years ago. You guys could probably tell me to google it, but I will ask you guys since you know a ton about drums/drumming.

There are a couple different things about 16th notes referring to drums, right? When you play the high hats with two hands and bring your right hand down to hit the snare, 16th notes, right? But doesn't 16th notes also mean that the fill is extended longer? Like 2 bars instead of one? I don't know much technical music terms. You guys know what I'm talking about.

I was confused years ago because I always thought that those fast 8th note tom rolls, were 16th note fills. That fast 8th note tom roll was on Cream's song "White Room", for example.

So basically, could you guys break down any 16th note terminology on drums, for me? I would really appreciate it. Thanks. Take care.
Well, the fills in white room would be 16th note triplets
correct me if I'm wrong, haven't listened to that song in years if not decades
 
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