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"SAY N' PLAY" Your Drumset

The New Drumset Language

by Brother Dave

my email: Dave@PureChristians.org

Copyright 2003 by Dave@PureChristians.org (in N. Central USA)
All Rights Reserved.

Notice: These introductory samples are for your private practice only;
NONE of this new material shall be published anywhere in any form without our prior written agreements and terms.

Learning Lesson 7

Playing flams, ruffs and rolls by adding b or . or $

On the snare drum, one stroke is BA or just B or b or . (various shorthand notations)

We will add a b or a . (period) before B to show 2 strokes, and get bB or .B (or .b) for a flam of 2 strokes. These are played fast, nearly together,
LR or RL
-- > ----- >

We will add bb or .. to B to show 3 strokes and get bbB or ..B (or ..b) for a 3-stroke ruff

bbbbB or ....B (or ....b) is a 5-stroke roll; but using $ to equal .. is easier to read; thus $$B is also a 5-stroke roll.

These rolls of 5 or more strikes are played in time, and the time is so noted.

$$bB is 6-stroke roll, $$$B is 7-stroke roll, $$$bB is 8-stroke roll

$$$$,B is a 9-stroke roll, played RRLLRRLLR Usually a quarter note roll time plus the next tap (of B)

$$$$,$$$$,B is a 17-stroke roll. Usually a half note roll plus the next tap (B)

$$$$,$$$$,$$$$,B is a 25 stroke 3 beat roll of a half note roll plus a quarter note roll plus the next tap (B)

$$$$,$$$$,$$$$,$$$$, B is usually a whole note roll plus a tap (B) to start the next measure (if in 4/4)

If the hands are rolling in triplet patterns of 3 per beat (making RRLLRR or LLRRLL per quarter note beat) then you will often see, all in common use:


Yes, there are many possibilities for other rolls ! Also, instead of the rudimental RRLLRRLL roll of just two taps per hand motion, you can use (especially in jazz) 3 or 4 taps per hand motion for a PRESS or tight BUZZ roll. Some advanced players have developed the ability to play short rolls with just one hand. There are good books on how to do this, as well as learning this from a drum teacher, which is better if you have the time and the money for same.

Here is a simple roll notation in 4/4 time

1. ----, ----, ----, ----, the pulse is in 16th notes of hand motion, to get 32nd notes in the rolls, ALSO

1. ---- ---- ---- ---- (same pulse, without the "," to separate the notes logically)

1 2 an e 3 4eAN (the count is shown here)

1. B-$$, B-$$, $$$$, $$B-, [remember, "- -" are pulse rests; and "," (comma) doesn't count at all ]

Learning Lesson 8

Playing miscellaneous percussion will be in lower case:

cowbell = t, ti,ting, tu,tung
wood block = p
triangle = hee

The smaller,high-pitched cowbell is ti or ting; the larger, low-pitched cowbell is tu or tung

wood blocks (or temple blocks) with 5 tones could be p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 etc. as needed, or p(Bb) p(G) p(A) etc. for the exact pitches needed

triangles are hee1 hee2 etc,

The above Lessons complete the presentation of this "SAY 'N PLAY" drum notation. Soon will come many interesting (intermediate level) drum patterns to learn and to play.

Practice Lesson

Here is a popular Guaracha rhythm (a fast rhumba) on two (high and low) cowbells, in 4/4

the count is:
1. ----, ----, ----, ---- pulses are 16th notes
1 and 2 e -a (3)e -a 4 and [you may count (3) but you don't play a cowbell there]

This is usually played with just one hand, the other hand will be playing 2 or 3 toms on back beats (at 2 and 4 counts)

1.ti-ti-, tutu-ti, -ti-tu, tu-ti-

2. repeat 1.

3. and 4. ad lib (play any cowbell Guaracha rhythm you want)

Later, we will add the bass, hi-hat and three toms to the above, and get some fun (but hard to play at first) driving rhythms and fills in Guaracha style.

Quick Review of all 16 basic "Say 'N Play" words

1 limb KA BA OM SH (hi-hat, snare drum, bass drum, ride cymbal)

2 limbs (played together) BASH BOOM OMSH KABA KOOM KASH

3 limbs (played together) KABASH BOOMSH KABOOM KOOMSH

4 limbs (played together) KOBS (say fast K'BOOMsh)

NO LIMBS (REST) is a dash line -
(and all commas "," are just logical separations, having no time)

Practice Lesson

Triple Triplets Round of 8th note triplets, in 4/4 (jazz, blues, swing, shuffle styles)

Triple Triplets Round

1. ---, ---, ---, --- the count is in 4/4 and 12 total 8th note triplet pulses ( 3 per quarter note)

(1) trip let, 2 trip let, 3 trip let, 4 trip let,
(2) trip let, 2 trip let, 3 trip let, 4 trip let, [etc., is one good way to count this; measures are in ( )]

Here is the above beat in "Say 'N Play" notation


2. repeat 1.

3A. OMSH - -,KOBS - SH,
3B. OMSH - -,KOBS - SH,

4. repeat 3.

Note, measures 3 and 4 are the basic jazz beat; you could also use a shuffle or all triplets on the ride. You could also play measures 3 and 4 first, then 1 and 2; or play measures 3, 1, 4, 2 etc.

Do email me (click Email at upper left of each page) your comments, questions, suggestions, etc. If you have any interesting, cool, groovy (intermediate level for now) beats to share with others here; send me some that you want published, let me know if you want your email/URL/brief bio added. Using both old and this new notation together is best. I don't like .pdf format; maybe a .jpg or .gif image of the old notation could be put up on these pages, next to the new language.

In future lessons, coming soon, we will do many exercises and practical rhythms for fills and solos in many styles. Check back here every few days for this new material.

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