"Grouping" What is it?

Spreggy pretty much covered it...but here is a visual to help!


For some reason the note beads have disappeared, but you can still see the groupings.



The sheet shows 2 examples a bar of 16th notes with various accents, written with standard notation and using 4 part counting (1e&a, 2 e&a...)

A slight tweaking of the beams between the notes reveals the accents patter much more clearly. Ex. 1 can be expressed as 3+3+3+3+2+2

Ex. 2 uses some 5 note groupings. (5+5+3+3).

What is fun is to play these accent schemes over a constant pulse with your feet ...quarters, dotted quarters, or even a syncopated pattern like the mambo bd pattern.

Quite simply, this type of notation just makes accent patterns easier to see and remember.

I was exposed to this idea in the late 80's when Casey Scheuerel taught the tabla counting system at PIT in a funk setting. Very useful...especially as a way to figure out odd time signatures on the fly.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
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.
I'll go with that too ;)
 
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vorsybl

Guest
If my semester wasn't ending next week with some finals on the subsequent week I'd be spending all day exploring this idea, I'm really excited to. I can't really until semester is over but if I come up with any applications I'll be sure to post for clarity. I'm gonna be spending all summer playing and practicing and studying music with my guitarist friend who is nasty at the guitar, I think so at least, and working at a bar most likely

Thanksagain
 

brentcn

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?
I think that drummers and educators prefer to call this a polyrhythm, since there are two rhythms occurring simultaneously (the top number is one rhythm, the bottom number serves as the "frame of reference" rhythm). Zappa may have reserved the term "hemiola" for what we now commonly refer to as "groups", because of his classical training.

Groupings occur when the subdivision hasn't changed. If we're playing constant 16ths, and then accent every third 16th note, then we're playing groups of 3 16th notes, but we're not playing triplets. Likewise, if we're playing triplet 16ths, and we accent every 7th note, we're playing in groups of 7, but not septuplets.

If pressed, I would call 5:4 a "group of quintuplets" over a quarter note, and 7:2 a "group of septuplets over a half note".
 
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vorsybl

Guest
What if you accent the second note, is it still considered a 3 note grouping?
 
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vorsybl

Guest
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.


Hey, I was rereading the posts here and wanted to see if I sort of get the idea. I gotta say the ride pattern sounds crazy, even with just a couple snare and bass notes. The accents are supposed to be the bell, so I'm hoping I've applied this grouping idea correctly.

If so, the next question is, the fact that you chose to bold or accent the numbers that you chose, doesn't mean that it's a prerequisite for it to be a grouping of 5. So If I chose a 1 to accent instead of 2, and the opposite as well, it'd still be 5?

Can you do what I did with the ride cymbal with the left hand and foot as well? But in another number, so maybe groupings of 3
 

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Spreggy

Silver Member
Hey, I was rereading the posts here and wanted to see if I sort of get the idea. I gotta say the ride pattern sounds crazy, even with just a couple snare and bass notes. The accents are supposed to be the bell, so I'm hoping I've applied this grouping idea correctly.

If so, the next question is, the fact that you chose to bold or accent the numbers that you chose, doesn't mean that it's a prerequisite for it to be a grouping of 5. So If I chose a 1 to accent instead of 2, and the opposite as well, it'd still be 5?

Can you do what I did with the ride cymbal with the left hand and foot as well? But in another number, so maybe groupings of 3
Yes to all, if I understand you correctly. So it looks like you understand the potential of applying 3, 5 and 7 beat rhythms over a beat. Your next move should most definitely be to buy the Benny Greb video.
 
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vorsybl

Guest
This is nuts man! The possibilities with this concept is endless then, what's the best way to develop freedom in playing these various groupings?

Also, can you do this in other subdivisions? LIke 32nds, 8ths, even 8th triplets and 16th triplets? What a trip! And even other time signatures? You could have a grouping of four in a 5/8 measure

Dude, I finally got a couple hours to play today, and I'll be playing tonight as well, but excuse my french but shit man, THIS is IT, this is what got me into drumming, sounds like these. Where textures on different parts of the drumset (ride, snare, bass, and so on) actually interact with each other in a meaningful way. That must be what Greb was talking about in that section. Damn, it's pretty hard to. I was basically playing my pdf, because I think it sounds cool. But that's just with that "grouping" if you will, I could experiment with all the possible groupings even though there are probably hundreds, I am just really excited about this because I know working on this area will greatly improve independence, and might even encode into long term memory the four placements better. Because when I'm counting I Just find it easiest to count using 1 e + a, and I found in playing that ride pattern that the first beat accents the down and up beat, the second beat accents the two weird off beats (e and a), then in the third beat accent on the upbeat and accent on the down beat. I'm sure there's a mathematical reason for that arrangement. It sounds really good though to me anyway. But what I'm saying is my hope is that after a while of doing various exercises that I'll be creating for myself each limb will eventually develop the feeling of playing one of the four notes, or all of them and everything in between. After that the technical stuff becomes autonomous and leaving more attention for creativity. Thanks again to all who explained this but especially Spreggy
 
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08mike11

Junior Member
This is hands down one of THE best threads I've ever read on any forums. The amount of knowledge being shared here is vital to drummers everywhere. I lgrinned from eye to eye reading this whole thread, thanks to those of you who shared a unique insight into grouping. Its nice to here someone else's view!
 
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vorsybl

Guest
I agree. Honestly I'm going to go crazy with this concept, just permutating everything I possibly can and in the midst will come accross grooves that I like that will be extremely complex divided across all 4 limbs. I just haven't had time because of finals and shit but it's almost over and man I'm spending the next 3 months seriously coming up with some new stuff and expanding my facility.

This thread does own
 
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