Sight reading

red4u

New member
Hi guys, i've been struggling with sight reading forever and could really use some help with how to count more complex stuff (or at least complex in my eyes).
I'm primarily a drum set player and play mostly by ear and feel. However, I do have a soft spot for snare drumming and that's where I feel sight reading becomes inevitable, as the rudimental parts become more intricate.

I've been spending more time on my practice pad than on my kit lately, which really made me wanna dive more into the rudimental drumming and learn some snare licks. The problem is, when I try to read the music, if the beat isn't filled with a pretty straight forward pattern, i'm literally like a deer in headlights. It gets even more frustrating if I don't have an audio reference.

I'd like to get to a point where I can read the lick and count it slowly properly, without having to rely on copying what I hear when someone else plays it.

Here are two examples from two different licks that i've been trying to learn recently. I'd appreciate it if you could shed some light on how to count the tricky parts please.

Example 1:
1.png
I understand the first 2 beats are just "1 & a 2 & a", but I have no clue how to count the last three notes. I assume it's sort of a triplet that's spread throughout beat 3 and 4? or maybe not? either way, no idea how to count it.


Example 2:
2.png

Is that a sextuplet on the “and” of beat 1? A nested sextuplet? (If that’s even a thing?) I counted it slowly like “1 1&a1&a” (then the rest of the bar is just straight 16th notes). This is how I understood it, but I may be completely off.

Any corrections, tips and tricks are greatly appreciated:)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Example 1:
View attachment 92912
I understand the first 2 beats are just "1 & a 2 & a", but I have no clue how to count the last three notes. I assume it's sort of a triplet that's spread throughout beat 3 and 4? or maybe not? either way, no idea how to count it.
Right, that's a quarter note triplet happening on beats 3-4. You can get the rhythm by playing those 8th note triplets without the drags, accenting the right hand-- the RH accents = the quarter note triplet.

I don't know if I've ever counted a quarter note triplet. You might count it the same way as the 8th note triplets, but slower-- in this case 3-trip-let, or 3-&-a.

Example 2:
View attachment 92914

Is that a sextuplet on the “and” of beat 1? A nested sextuplet? (If that’s even a thing?) I counted it slowly like “1 1&a1&a” (then the rest of the bar is just straight 16th notes). This is how I understood it, but I may be completely off.
Yes, that's a 32nd note sixtuplet starting on the & of 1. I rarely count regular sixtuplets, I definitely would not count a 32nd note sixtuplet. I would just count beat one as 1-&.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
I don't know if I've ever counted a quarter note triplet. You might count it the same way as the 8th note triplets, but slower-- in this case 3-trip-let, or 3-&-a.
wouldnt it be easier to count the subdivision the notes land on?

3-a-&
 
Last edited:

brentcn

Platinum Member
wouldnt it be easily to count the subdivision the notes land on?

3-a-&
This makes it sound like the notes land on the 3 , the “a”, and the “and” of beat 4 — which is not correct.

You could count it:

3 trip let 4 trip let

The beats on bold are where the notes happen. The unbolded can be thought of as rests.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
The easiest way to count the first example is two groups of 6. In the second half of the measure, just play only the odd-numbered notes. 1 2 3 4 5 6.
 

red4u

New member
Thanks everyone for all the answers and @brentcn for the video demonstrations. I did already have video references to know how these parts should sound, but seeing it slowed down was great and made it easier to count once I understood how to.
The funny thing is, yesterday, when I was still trying to dissect example 1, I tried putting those notes on a grid of 16th notes, in hopes that maybe that's what it was. Something like "3 e & a 4 e & a". Obviously that didn't make any sense. I don't know how it didn't occur to me to try the same concept on a triplet grid. So dumb of me. Well, I guess you learn something every day.
Anyway, thanks again guys, I really do appreciate it!
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
This makes it sound like the notes land on the 3 , the “a”, and the “and” of beat 4 — which is not correct.

You could count it:

3 trip let 4 trip let

The beats on bold are where the notes happen. The unbolded can be thought of as rests.
Oh oops, my bad.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
wouldnt it be easier to count the subdivision the notes land on?

3-a-&
Or 3-let-trip. I would never do either just for routinely counting the rhythm-- maybe just to demonstrate in person how the quarter note triplet relates to an 8th note triplet. But I would just do that with the accenting thing.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
From what I recall,there are some etudes where you simply can't count the beats ,it's ear and feel.
I remember playing a piece from 1776 on woodblocks that simulated a horses hoofs on the pavement while galloping.
Dotted 32nds I believe is how it was written.
About 2:08 into the clip.

As for quarter note triplets ,I never count them ,it's always feel.
Played Walk with God back in junior high and the intro was a quarter note triplet with a bolereo rhythm theme and the marching cadence had a quarter note triplet question and answer transition.
 
Last edited:
Top