Rhythm Studies 2

Course Number: MUS-214DLCredit Hours: 2

Course Description

As a continuation of Rhythm Studies 1, this course instructs the musician in developing fluency while playing in more odd-meter time signatures (5/4, 7/4, 9/8, 11/8, 15/8 etc.). The class is exposed to different feels and time concepts, and is challenged to play in a variety of odd, extended, or shifting meters, with the goal of applying these concepts to their own musical endeavors.   Prerequisite: Rhythm Studies 1.

Ralph Humphrey

Ralph Humphrey is one of Los Angeles’ most demanded studio drummers, recording for TV, motion pictures, albums and jingles. His most recent projects include Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Charmed, Piglet’s Big Movie, Star Trek Enterprise, The Simpsons, ABC 50th Anniversary Special, Far From Heaven, Coca-Cola, and Ping golf clubs. His past touring and recording experience includes the Don Ellis Big Band, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Akiyoshi-Tabackin Big Band, Al Jarreau, Manhattan Transfer, Seals and Crofts and Free Flight. He can also be heard on album projects by Wayne Shorter, Tom Rainer, Mike Miller, Jeff Richman, The Outsidemen, and Babaghanoush, among many others.

Ralph is the author of the drum book Even in the Odds and contributes occasional articles to Modern DrummerMagazine.

See the Ralph Humphrey page at Drummerworld.com.

Course Outline

Week 1:

  1.  Present 7/4
  2.  Useful foot ostinatos
  3.  Composite meter
  4.  More 7/4
  5.  8th-note triplets in 7/4 applied
  6.  Diminution and Augmentation in 7/4


Week 2:

  1.  Fills using 8th-note triplets in 7/4
  2.  Afro-Caribbean, Bembe and other 8th-note triplet or 21/8 patterns
  3.  16th-notes applied to 8th-note phrases in 7/4
  4.  Sticking and hand and foot combinations


Week 3:

  1.  Grooves and fills using subdivided 16th-notes in 7/4
  2.  7/8 time signature
  3.  Cyclic patterns in 9/4
  4.  Polypulse in a 9-note cycle
  5.  Present 9/8

Week 4:

  1.  Present 11/8
  2.  Present 13/8
  3.  Longer odd meters
  4.  Present 12/8
  5.  Polypulse and polyrhythm using a 12-note cycle


Week 5:

  1.  More polyrhythm
  2.  Metric modulation
  3.  Superimposed metric modulation
  4.  More superimposed metric modulation
  5.  Polypulse/polymeter and the Mahavishnu Orchestra

Hardware & Equipment Requirements:

You will need:

  • Acoustic 4-piece (or more) drumset (snare, bass, and at least two toms) with at least 1 crash, 1 ride, and hi-hats; electronic kits are acceptable
  • Sticks and brushes
  • Metronome (or metronome app)
  • Audio Technica ATR2100-USB microphone
  • Behringer Xenyx Q502USB Mixer
  • Webcam
  • Desktop or laptop PC or Mac with speakers, running the most up-to-date versions of Google Chrome or Firefox (see “Software Requirements” for more info)
  • Video/audio recording software, such as iMovie or Windows Live Movie Maker
  • Printer, so that you can print out music examples used in the course or an iPad or similar device
  • Isolation headphones, such as Vic Firth’s SIH1 Drummer’s Headphones or in-ear monitors
  • optional: CD/MP3 player (separate from computer) 

Software Requirements: