Best exercises for playing in 5/4

SVBJECT

Well-known member
I'm looking at playing a track in 5/4 - as in for years my bands just been a midi controller based project so the songs already written, but I wanna learn to play on drums. Obvious route, just trawl through it slowly, but ideally I'd like some practices to improve my 5/4 playing before really tackling it.

Any recommendations?
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
Find some songs in 5/4 and play to them.ie: “Living in the past” Jethro Tull, “Do what you like” Blind Faith, “4 sticks” Led Zep. All different approaches.
 

SVBJECT

Well-known member
Yes....I think I'm more concerned about tripping over myself coming in and out of fills etc....Sticking issues, breaking my natural inclination to hit the 1 (cos that now the 5 eh!).

So songs, sure and yes I will, but I think I'm hoping more for things like that classic rudiment the Paradiddadle or whatever!! Sticking exercises that help develop the brain counting in 5s naturally, that I can do on the practice pad on my lunch break at work say.

The best I got so far is the word hippopotamus doing single stroke rolls and accenting the HIP!
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
Stating the obvious, but 5 is just 4+1. It's called odd time because it is based on an odd number, but there is nothing odd about it. Overthinking it will create more obstacles. Get rid of the notion of it being odd, strange, etc. In some parts of the world 5/4 is common time.

Definitely agree with mrfingers. Create a playlist of songs in 5, and listen to them ALOT. A few songs were already mentioned. Two more I am sure you know... the theme from Mision Impossible, and Take Five by Dave Brubeck. Some of my favorites... Seven Days by Sting, English Roundabout by XTC, and WTF? by OK Go.

For rudiments and fills, doing some work on a pad won't hurt. Use a metronome, and count out loud.

Start with 5 stroke singles accenting the 1 (downbeat). Do the same accenting the 3, and then the 4. The latter are the most common place for the backbeat in 5/4. After singles, work on 5 stroke stickings with doubles: para-pa-diddle (rlrll and lrlrr); para-diddle-pa (rlrrl and lrllr); pa-diddle-diddle (rllrr and lrrll); and diddle-pa-diddle (rrlrr and llrll). Transfer that to the kit, and work on orchestration.

Again, don't overthink it. Have fun! (y):D
 
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jansara

Junior Member
Forget the fills until such time as you're as comfortable laying down a figure in 5 as you are in 4. Once 5 is ingrained in your feel, fills come much easier. Keep it simple.
 

crash

Member
I'm looking at playing a track in 5/4 - as in for years my bands just been a midi controller based project so the songs already written, but I wanna learn to play on drums. Obvious route, just trawl through it slowly, but ideally I'd like some practices to improve my 5/4 playing before really tackling it.

Any recommendations?
When you play in 5/4, you can break down the counting into 3 beats + 2 beats, or 2 beats + 3 beats. I play big band charts and jazz charts, 5/4 sounds tough, but if you break it down, it's always 3+2 or 2+3 It does take some practice to get the feel of it. All odd meters can be broken down in a similar fashion. Once you have some experience practicing it'll feel better. Listening to some 5/4 parts before you practice will really help. This is the easiest approach. Use a metonome.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Groove Essentials 2.0 has 3 cool grooves in 5 that you can learn, starting from pretty damn easy to fairly difficult, so you can wet your feet as fast as you want.. Two of them are in 5/4, one is in 5/8 iirc. Last fall I recorded some videos for these.


Get that book and jam out those grooves, it will really help.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I agree with the recommendations to find some songs in 5/4 and play to them. Having a tune in your head while you're playing in 5 will help you acclimate to it. The more you play to it, the more it will become second nature. The only reason 4/4 seems so automatic is because it's so common. If most tunes were written in 5/4, that would feel normal and 4/4 would feel like an odd time signature. And if you just play the beat without the music, you can make up your own fills and that will result in you becoming proficient with the time signature. The more you do something, the easier it becomes.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
For general work just work on 5 like you learned to work in 4/4. You'll obviously have more options, but the most common and useful backbeat in a pop/rock context will be on 4(then 3). Go through some basic options.

With fills again you'll have to work on the basic 3 bars + 1 f fill just to get used to it. Just fill the bar ith 8th notes and then start taking some away for other rhythms.

There's nothing inherently difficult with 5/4, you're just not used to it. If you focus only on that for a while you'll learn fast.
 
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