I'm struggling with the Samba!

Migaluch

Senior Member
Hey drummers. OK so i am in my school's Jazz Band and my song to play is "Brazil", almost exactly like the one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCT_CMfh_NM&feature=related . As usual, my teacher passed out the sheet music for the song, but as we began playing he told me that he didn't like what i was playing and to come up with something else: a real Samba (in juxtaposition to the rather bland beat i was playing before). I was excited to be able to play such a beat, and over the next couple days i practiced it and was able to play it at a somewhat slower tempo than played in the Drummer's Bible. I was glad to have learned the beat, but as i played the beat for him in class, he asked me if i could play it double time!

Now, as you probably don't know, the tempo for Brazil is pretty fast, and my teacher was asking me to play an extremely fast foot pattern ("bass, hat bass bass, hat bass bass, hat bass bass, and so forth, in 16th notes resting on the "e" of all four notes). This is a task that i doubt i can do, for my feet are not so developed and my coordination is not the greatest. I mean, i am only a drummer with less than 2 years experience and i am asked to play these fast 16ths along with a ride pattern and the partido alto snare pattern!

I would LOVE to be able to play this beat perfectly, but the Samba is such a difficult pattern, even when played at slower tempos. I would hate to let my teacher down, (he's a saxophonist, so he doesn't realize how hard it is) but i am probably not ready for this song at such a tempo.

So what should i do? Should i ask him if the whole band could play it at a slightly slower tempo? And do you have any suggestions for making the best improvements to one's foot speed and control to play the samba beat?

Please tell me if some things are not clear because i feel i am just rambling on with this post. Please try to help me if you can!
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
When do you have to have it up to speed by? Will you have enough time to work hard on it and come up with the goods....or at least something that's acceptable to the rest of the group?

As it currently stands, there are two options as I see it:

1. Work like crazy to get it down.....no guarantees here though, you can only learn it as fast as you can. But if you work your bum off, who knows what you'll be able to do.

2. Be honest and let the band leader know you are struggling with it. Who knows? He may assist you by playing it slower, he may realise that it's a hard ask for you and drop it from the set, he may simply demand that you either get it down or sit that one out. You won't know until you speak to him. Show him you're trying hard and let him decide.....at the end of the day, the decision is his. As long as you are showing you're keen to try, he may well accomodate your needs.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDu32kfkChk

Not easy, but you can play a steady 16th note high hat pattern accent the 'a' and the downbeats alternating hands while playing four on the floor. Then work in the color of the high hat (not only with the accents) but opening and closing it. You can then work in syncopation on the snare or on the toms if you want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrTrl6o7qmw

The jazz samba, fast tempo like you described is not easy. Just keep on practicing and you'll get it.
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
Hey drummers. OK so i am in my school's Jazz Band and my song to play is "Brazil", almost exactly like the one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCT_CMfh_NM&feature=related . As usual, my teacher passed out the sheet music for the song, but as we began playing he told me that he didn't like what i was playing and to come up with something else: a real Samba (in juxtaposition to the rather bland beat i was playing before). I was excited to be able to play such a beat, and over the next couple days i practiced it and was able to play it at a somewhat slower tempo than played in the Drummer's Bible. I was glad to have learned the beat, but as i played the beat for him in class, he asked me if i could play it double time!

Now, as you probably don't know, the tempo for Brazil is pretty fast, and my teacher was asking me to play an extremely fast foot pattern ("bass, hat bass bass, hat bass bass, hat bass bass, and so forth, in 16th notes resting on the "e" of all four notes). This is a task that i doubt i can do, for my feet are not so developed and my coordination is not the greatest. I mean, i am only a drummer with less than 2 years experience and i am asked to play these fast 16ths along with a ride pattern and the partido alto snare pattern!

I would LOVE to be able to play this beat perfectly, but the Samba is such a difficult pattern, even when played at slower tempos. I would hate to let my teacher down, (he's a saxophonist, so he doesn't realize how hard it is) but i am probably not ready for this song at such a tempo.

So what should i do? Should i ask him if the whole band could play it at a slightly slower tempo? And do you have any suggestions for making the best improvements to one's foot speed and control to play the samba beat?

Please tell me if some things are not clear because i feel i am just rambling on with this post. Please try to help me if you can!
What you could do is practice two things:

1. A "stand-in" groove to make do while you practice number 2
2. The real thing and let your band director know that while you are working on the real thing, you need to use the stand-in groove for the time being.

Just firing from the hip here! You could also get a copy of this:

http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=586191

It has the Bossa Nova (slow Samba) independence in it.

Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
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http://www.facebook.com/mike.mccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Not easy, but you can play a steady 16th note high hat pattern accent the 'a' and the downbeats alternating hands while playing four on the floor.
Yes, strip it down. It's a bright tempo, and the standard foot pattern will bog down and kill the groove if you don't have it absolutely cooking.

You should get some actual samba in your ear, as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_I2TRyDMvo. The parts you're emulating with DD's groove are the surdos (the bass drums) and the tamborims (the high, chattery-sounding drums), starting @ 1:04.

For future reference- because you probably don't want to mess with it at this stage- they don't actually play straight 16ths on that chatter rhythm- they squash them towards the front of the beat, so the accents on 1 e & A almost match the first and last notes of a triplet. Just keep it loose and put a little more emphasis on the 'a' than on the downbeats and it'll sound fine.

Here are some more, because it's fun:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zUNmoKU9UE&feature=fvw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly8Cwyml_OI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLHy6QxGVzw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvXIgv5IJN8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8GKv4O6Sec
 

m-dub

Junior Member
Some things to think about for samba:

1. Are your feet and hands in sync? If not, slow it down.

2. What is the left hand phrase? If it always starts on the downbeat, you may not be with the melody or comping of the other instruments.

3. What is the cymbal phrase? If you play dang dang-a dang, you're weakening the left hand phrase and throwing the groove off balance. Start with a unison figure with the left hand, then add more notes as you go.

4. How do you play fast 16ths on the hi hat with one hand? Practice groupings on two and three (separately). Like the moeller technique, 'throw' the stick, and let your fingers assist with the natural rebound of the second (and/or) third note.

5. Most importantly, have you listened and really absorbed samba? You have to digest it, then it will come out naturally. Don't try to analyze the "swing", or it will sound contrived.

Check this out!

http://www.vicfirth.com/education/drumset/walker.php

All the best,

Mark

www.wiggage.com/markwalker.html
 
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