"In the Crack"? LOL


Senior Member
Sup drummers. K so i just stumbled upon this wonderful thing called "in the crack" drumming. Now, i am a new guy, so i hope all you drum veterans know a lot about this.

Basically, what is this type of drumming? I think i may have stumbled upon this when i was trying to learn to play the standard jazz ride pattern and instinctively played this. I dunno, but could you guys post a video of this in action? How is it a cross between a standard groove and a shuffle groove?

Also, the Drumming Bible says this pattern is almost impossible to write because of its nature, but why is this? Please elaborate, because i do not get how a timed rhythm could not be able to be notated.

Finally, did this style get its name like many other genres of music, sexually? Certainly more than the others, but this just seems so... obvious.


Platinum Member
By your description, it sounds like Tea In The Sahara (Stewart Copeland). Not quite a shuffle, not quite straight 8ths, but somewhere in between. I've seen Stanton Moore go into this concept somewhere on YouTube, but I've never heard it called "In The Crack" so I'll be watching this closely.


Junior Member
I think you are referring to a type of feel that is played in between completely straight and completely swung. It is almost a sloppy type feel. It is possible to notate, yes, but the manner a drummer executes what is written cannot be fully defined on paper. If feel could be notated we might as well have robots and drum machines play drums.

Think of the many ways you could play a flam. You could play the two notes of the flam just about simultaneously or very far apart. Either would still be a flam and have the same notation.

Let me try to find the Stanton Moore demonstration on this and I'll edit the post if I find it. Here it is: http://www.vicfirth.com/artists/moore.php See Clip 3 Exercises to Develop a 2nd Line Feel

"in the cracks" used in this transcription http://www.drummerworld.com/Videos/jojomayerdrummerworldgroove.html


Platinum Member
"In the cracks" is the phrase you're hunting for. It's used to describe the feeling given by playing subdivisions which don't fall accurately on duple or triple meter - i.e. straight 8ths or triplets. It can be found on a lot of early Rock-n-Roll records, and in the New Orleans vein was probably best exemplified by Earl Palmer:

Listen to the intro snare groove on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8-NEYNhzjo

Or here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOR1OkwiBCY

Here the whole band is in on the act: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5VkTcmQxD8&feature=related

Here it's the percussion that create the tension between 2 and 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RAfxiyMKAk&feature=fvst

And listen carefully to the hihats on one of my personal favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuM2FTq5f1o&feature=related

Try copping that! Yowza!

For me, the trick to even approximating the feel is to stop thinking about subdivisions altogether and simply try to make the sound. I think that sometimes our conception of time in Western music is dictated too much by written notation. In order to keep things neat and tidy, we write our subdivisions with the stems evenly spaced, and this gives us the impression that we ought to play them all that way. Many Jazz and Big Band charts are artefacts of this tension between sight and sound, writing figures as straight-eighths, but with the suggestion to play them like triplets, even though triplets aren't quite it either. If you listen to a lot of music that isn't originally based in written notation and time signatures (African music, Afro-Cuban, New Orleans, Irish and Scottish, Arabic, Indian) there's a lot happening "in the cracks" between two and three. Hell, a proper old school Viennese Waltz is impossible to notate. (Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4J0MKsG_is&feature=related) The only way to get at that is to listen and imitate. BTW, the African descent stuff and the relationship of 2/2 to 6/8 is Phil Maturano's thing. He's around here a lot, you should check out his stuff.
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Senior Member
I watched the Stanton Moore video and I think I am starting to get it, but in the other videos its hard to pick out.
Would the basic pattern sound on a ride like "ding da-ding da-ding da-ding da-ding..."? Because if you add some bass and snare into there it makes for a cool sounding groove.