"Grouping" What is it?

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vorsybl

Guest
This was mentioned in the benny greb dvd a bit...but I didn't really understand it. Today, another drum student for his "final" procured an extensively organized drum solo that utilized this concept of grouping. Most of it was different time signatures being played in each limb, also using double bass. So there was a lot of subdivision across the toms and bass drum, also lots of stick tricks on down beat accents with 32nd double bass in between.

Another student argued it wasn't practical drumming, I somewhat agreed based on what many members here describe "good" drumming to be.

However I was further intrigued by this concept of phrasing...and would like to understand this new concept as I can guess that it uses the previous concepts of subdivisions as components.

The student briefly alluded to its meaning by saying that "grouping is how you group notes." Can anyone elaborate?

(Also I did a search first on this topic and came up with nothing solid on it, don't wanna be redundant)
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
Few concepts can raise the level of your playing more than an understanding of note grouping. And few concepts are more difficult to convey in writing. But I hope this short article will stimulate your interest in this intriguing subject.

Note grouping is a way of giving meaning to notes by accenting some and deemphasizing others. This idea has a long history. Baroque musicians sometimes talked about “good” and “bad” notes—the idea being that some notes should be given more weight than others. Think of it like this. Consider the following sentence:

“What do you want?”

A simple question of only four words. But now consider the different shades of meaning you can get by emphasizing different words:

“WHAT do you want?”
“What DO you want?”
“What do YOU want?”
“What do you WANT?”
“WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
“WHAT...DO...YOU...WANT?”
The words themselves are unchanged, yet each new inflection changes the meaning of the sentence. In fact, inflection alone can radically change the meaning
 
V

vorsybl

Guest
If that's true, I get that so far...I interpret what you said to mean it's a way of giving a drum beat texture. I mean, when I hear people play accented and unaccented notes on the hihat and snare, the same bass drum pattern underneath sounds different.

So then what are odd groupings? Same thing with added beats? He was talking about something where you add odd groupings to a 4/4 foundation. That doesn't make any sense.

I'll have to look up grouping in terms of instruments in general as well, and this Baroque period

I'll make an example to see if I understand what you're saying better.

In the pdf is one groove with some accents in it for 2 measures. In the next 2 measures I added would you call it a "16th note grouping" of left hand hits? Then in the subsequent 2 measures has the "grouping" changed? Look at the last 2 measures, I tried adding groups of three notes starting on every third note. Is that an odd grouping?

Also are you alluding to the 4 16th notes in a beat by using four words? Its a good example

You see for me unfortunately the only way to get better is to first write out things to familiarize myself with the sound, then I'm also learning how to play it physically as well, Damn it's embarassing I have a long way to go before I can get good
 

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moontheloon

Silver Member
If that's true, I get that so far...I interpret what you said to mean it's a way of giving a drum beat texture. I mean, when I hear people play accented and unaccented notes on the hihat and snare, the same bass drum pattern underneath sounds different.

So then what are odd groupings? Same thing with added beats? He was talking about something where you add odd groupings to a 4/4 foundation. That doesn't make any sense.

I'll have to look up grouping in terms of instruments in general as well, and this Baroque period

I'll make an example to see if I understand what you're saying better.

In the pdf is one groove with some accents in it for 2 measures. In the next 2 measures I added would you call it a "16th note grouping" of left hand hits? Then in the subsequent 2 measures has the "grouping" changed?

Also are you alluding to the 4 16th notes in a beat by using four words? Its a good example

yeah think of them as 16ths....8ths ...whatever....

odd groupings would mean....take the same idea and apply it to 3, 5 , 7 , 9 , whatever.....

like the way Benny uses.... radio, university, and listen to the radio for 3, 5, and 7
 
V

vorsybl

Guest
Yeah man Greb is the man seriously I proudly say he's my inspiration to take drumming to the next level and make some good music.

I tried an "odd grouping" in the last two measures of the pdf

Here is an overview as I understand grouping:
http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=taki gamala&fp=1&cad=b

Benny Greb's video does a nice job of covering 3, 5 and 7 note groups. Well worth the bread.
Excellent resource never heard of this ancient type system thanks man. I'm watching the video though and I see no difference between singing gamala taki taki and just using numbers. Seems like the idea of grouping is just how you count out a measure. I could easily just sing 1-5 making the "ones" loud in 1231212
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
In a Zappa tune, they throw in the phrase "guacamole queen", which I understand Frank overheard Chester Thompson saying while practicing so he put it into the lyrics. So I use that for 5 sometimes.
The pronunciation of the words helps feel the accent. ta ki ta ki gamala definitely feels like 1 2 1 2 1 2 3.
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
A simple question of only four words. But now consider the different shades of meaning you can get by emphasizing different words:

“WHAT do you want?”
“What DO you want?”
“What do YOU want?”
“What do you WANT?”
“WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
“WHAT...DO...YOU...WANT?”
The words themselves are unchanged, yet each new inflection changes the meaning of the sentence. In fact, inflection alone can radically change the meaning
Wow, that's really a great way of putting it. Well done sir.

I was noodling around with with fancy rudiments. They're all essentially the same sticking but switching around where the flam and the accents are completely changes the feel. Cool stuff.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I've sorta' strayed into this territory looking through some Zappa articles when he talked about groupings. For instance, if you found the Black Page No. 2 he speaks of the groupings as a ratio: like 5:4 or 7:2, and he explained then it was a way to make an odd number of notes fit in to the space of an even number. So in this instance, he's having the player play 5 sixteenth notes in the space of 4, or 7 quarter notes in the space of 2 half notes. That's about as far as I got with his explanations. But that's what I understand groupings to be. Somebody verify?
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I've sorta' strayed into this territory looking through some Zappa articles when he talked about groupings. For instance, if you found the Black Page No. 2 he speaks of the groupings as a ratio: like 5:4 or 7:2, and he explained then it was a way to make an odd number of notes fit in to the space of an even number. So in this instance, he's having the player play 5 sixteenth notes in the space of 4, or 7 quarter notes in the space of 2 half notes. That's about as far as I got with his explanations. But that's what I understand groupings to be. Somebody verify?
Bo, I think that's a different subject. In his autobiography he also mentioned that the best at that was Vinnie C. Is that what polyrhythms is, by chance?

The groupings thing, as I understand it, is placement of accents, flams, diddles, or other voicings on a pattern. So let's say you're working with 16ths and the 5 pattern (12123 or TA ki GA ma la or GUA ca MO le queen or U ni VER si ty), you repeat the pattern over a bar of 16ths, and let's say left hand plays the unaccented on snare, right plays accents (capitalized) on the ride.

The groups:
3 = GA ma la
5 = TA ke GA ma la
7 = TA ke TA ke GA ma la

One measure =
TA ki GA ma la TA ki GA ma la TA ki GA ma la TA. Pattern repeats from the beginning at 1 being TA (for now, but obviously that's another road to go down later too).

Now go nuts, play the accents with right hand around the toms, then on the closed hats, then get a beat of your choosing going, and play the accents by closing the hats over your beat, or on cowbell, or cowbell all but the accents. Play 16ths around the kit, but hit the accents with the bass.

Then, displace by one beat:
queen GUA ca MO le queen GUA ca MO le queen GUA ca MO le queen
Then, displace by two beats:
le queen GUA ca MO le queen GUA ca MO le queen GUA ca MO le

Then combine groups:
3 + 5 + 7 + 1. The plus +1 is there to round it out to 16.
GA ma la TA ke GA ma la TA ke TA ke GA ma la la
Then voice it every which way, place it around the kit, play the accents with a doublebass flam, displace it one two or three notes, etc.

Benny Greb has you playing all the patterns voiced with:
Hand to hand accents
right on, lefts off, and vice versa
diddles on accents
diddles on non-accents (which sounds awesome)
flame the accents
hand to hand doubles
Kit: all the below over any ostenato built from the remaining three limbs:
bass
hat clicks
left hand on anything you can reach
right hand on anything you can reach

No end to this stuff.
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've always thought of groupings as a rhythmic pattern that "does not necessarily line up with the measure"

For example, if you have a repeating pattern of five 16th notes, the first note of the pattern is not going to line up with every quarter notes, and will not line up with the "one" of each bar, but none the less, it is fixed rhythmic figure. Thus most people would call it a 5-note grouping

1e+a2e+a3e+a4e+a1e+a2e+a3e+a4e+a..etc

But as noted, a grouping does not necessarily have to repeat itself to be called a "grouping"
 
V

vorsybl

Guest
I'm going to see if I can apply your explanation Spreggy to a groove real fast, as it seems to make more sense now. I got a 95 on my economics final, so while the teacher was lecturing I was thinking about this grouping idea and what You've said so far Spreggy. So I tapped my foot on the 1s of 1 2 3 1 2 12 then on the 1 and 2 of the first part, and the 2s of the second two parts. It sounded pretty trippy. So I get that, but if you break that down into notes, all that is is playing a note on the places I tap with my foot. Now what if you add subdivisions in between these numbers, or syllabals of a word? That would constitute a grouping would it not? And the time signature would either be 5/4 or 5/8 depending on how you want to count it, but how do you put a pattern in 5 into a measure of 4 foundational beats (4/4)
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Vorsy, it's in 4, at least what I am explaining.

Here's a measure of 16ths.
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Accent the bolds. Or play a diddle on the bolds. Or flam the bolds. But start with accents to get the basic idea before launching into the next level.

Here's a measure of a 3 group, call it (out loud as you play) GA ma la or 123 or RA di o:
11 1 1 1 1 11 1 11 1 1 1 1 1

Here's a measure of a 5 group, call it TA ke GA ma la or 12123 or U ni VER si ty:
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Here's a measure of a 7 group, call it TA ke TA ke GA ma la or 12 12123 or LI sten TO the RA di o:

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Restart the pattern on 1 of the next measure.
 
V

vorsybl

Guest
Yo first lemme say thanks for taking the time in giving me this useful information. I'm going to practice this for a bit and see if I can develop a feel for it.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
That last explanation is as simple as it gets! You just take any number of notes and keep repeating them under the measure, if it doesn't line up, just hit the extra notes to round out the measure.

So if in 4/4 you have 16 notes, a 5 note grouping would take 5 + 5 + 5 = 15. You still need one more note to round the measure, so you hit that extra note and keep repeating the same 5 note pattern.
 

moontheloon

Silver Member
Wow, that's really a great way of putting it. Well done sir.

I was noodling around with with fancy rudiments. They're all essentially the same sticking but switching around where the flam and the accents are completely changes the feel. Cool stuff.
absolutely.....

in the rudimental drumming world its called putting it on "the grid"
 
W

wy yung

Guest
I find it helps to offer a visualisation. For example: let's say we have 4 people dressed in red. They stand appart in a line. We have a virtual bar of 4 quarternote people. Is we wanted to create four groups of 5, we could add 4 people dressed in blues between our red quarter notes. Thus creat 4 groups of 5 within a 4/4 group of quarternote people. Red blue blue blue blue Red (I.e. 2)

(Normally I just play this. I hope this explanation helps)
 
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