Fundamental Drumming Patterns

Fundamental drumming patterns are the structures upon which most of drumming is built. They serve as the building blocks for various styles of music, providing the framework upon which drummers can add their own flair and creativity. Mastering these patterns provides a solid foundation for drummers to build upon and develop their own unique style and technique.

Simplified Drumming Patterns

Following an extensive examination of drumming fundamentals, encompassing drum rudiments, sticking patterns, double bass drumming, coordination, independence, drum beats, rhythms, drum fills, and solos, it was observed that these intricate concepts can be reduced to a few fundamental patterns. The ensuing table exemplifies all the conceivable patterns that can be crafted utilizing one, two, three, or four elements.

Pattern Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Pattern 1 ○○ ○○○ ○○○○
Pattern 2 ■○ ■○○ ■○○○
Pattern 3 ○■ ○■○ ○■○○
Pattern 4 ■■ ○○■ ○○■○
Pattern 5 ■■○ ○○○■
Pattern 6 ○■■ ■■○○
Pattern 7 ■○■ ○■■○
Pattern 8 ■■■ ○○■■
Pattern 9 ■○○■
Pattern 10 ■○■○
Pattern 11 ○■○■
Pattern 12 ■■■○
Pattern 13 ○■■■
Pattern 14 ■○■■
Pattern 15 ■■○■
Pattern 16 ■■■■

Group 3 Fundamental Drumming Patterns

Group 3 of the simplified patterns presents a set of eight distinct fundamental drumming patterns for a group of three elements numbered Pattern 1 to Pattern 8. It's common to group three notes together in drumming, called a triplet. This technique is widely used in all styles of drumming and can be found in drum rudiments such as the triplet stroke roll, single stroke four, single stroke seven, flam accent, Swiss army triplet, and others. The fundamental drumming patterns may also be applied to time signatures, such as 3/4 time, which contains three quarter notes per measure. This concept extends further to compound meters like 6/8, 12/8, etc., which are all made up of groups of three elements.

Group 4 Fundamental Drumming Patterns

Group 4 of the simplified patterns presents a set of sixteen distinct fundamental drumming patterns for a group of four elements numbered Pattern 1 to Pattern 16. These fundamental drumming patterns are designed to be applied to quadruple note groups and time signatures, and bear resemblance to the concepts previously outlined in Group 3 fundamental drumming patterns. Notably, the fundamental patterns found in Group 4 may also be identified in drum rudiments such as single stroke roll, double stroke roll, paradiddles, flam tap, among others.

Fundamental Drum Rudiment Patterns

Rudimental drum patterns are fundamental and elementary sticking patterns that drummers employ to develop their coordination, speed, and technique. Rudiments form the bedrock of drumming vocabulary and are indispensable for drummers across all levels. Rudimental drumming patterns such as single strokes, double strokes, paradiddles, and flams are some of the examples. In this section, we will define the fundamental drumming pattern elements as follows:

Pattern Element Key
Right Hand
Left Hand
Limb Notation Key
Limb Coordination
1 Left Foot
2 Right Foot
3 Left Hand
4 Right Hand

Single Stroke Rudiments

Single stroke rudiments are fundamental drumming patterns involving alternating strokes played by the hands. Mastery of these rudiments builds hand speed, control, and coordination, providing a foundation for more advanced techniques.

Single Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead

Applying Group 4 Pattern 10 of the fundamental drumming patterns and referring to the defined pattern element key, we find the single stroke rudiment sticking pattern that starts with the right hand.

Single Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead Group 4 Pattern 10 ■○■○ RLRL
Single Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead

Single Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead

When applying Group 4 Pattern 10 of the fundamental drumming patterns, we find a single stroke rudiment sticking pattern that starts with the left hand.

Single Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead Group 4 Pattern 11 ○■○■ LRLR
Single Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead

Double Stroke Rudiments

The double stroke rudiment is a fundamental drumming pattern used to play two consecutive strokes with each hand, alternating between right and left hands.

Double Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead

Upon examination, we can identify the double stroke rudiment sticking pattern as Group 4 Pattern 6 of the foundational drumming patterns when leading with the right hand.

Double Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead Group 4 Pattern 6 ■■○○ RRLL
Double Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead

Double Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead

When leading with the left hand, the double stroke rudiment sticking pattern is identified as Group 4 Pattern 8 of the foundational drumming patterns.

Double Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead Group 4 Pattern 8 ○○■■ LLRR
Double Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead

Inverted Double Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead

The inverted double stroke rudiment sticking pattern leading with the right hand is Group 4 Pattern 9 of the foundational drumming patterns.

Inverted Double Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead Group 4 Pattern 9 ■○○■ RLLR
Inverted Double Stroke Rudiment Right Hand Lead

Inverted Double Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead

When leading with the left hand, the inverted double stroke rudiment sticking pattern is Group 4 Pattern 7 of the foundational drumming patterns.

Inverted Double Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead Group 4 Pattern 7 ○■■○ LRRL
Inverted Double Stroke Rudiment Left Hand Lead

Paradiddle Rudiments

The paradiddle is a basic drum rudiment played by alternating single strokes between the hands, starting with the right or left hand, followed by a double stroke with the opposite hand, and then another single stroke with the first hand. In this section, we will combine two foundational drumming patterns to form the paradiddle rudiments sticking patterns.

Standard Paradiddle Rudiment

The sticking pattern for the standard paradiddle rudiment consists of a combination of Group 4 Pattern 14 and 3 of the fundamental drumming patterns.

Standard Paradiddle Rudiment Group 4 Pattern 14 and 3 ■○■■ ○■○○ RLRR LRLL
Standard Paradiddle Rudiment

Inverted Paradiddle Rudiment

The inverted paradiddle rudiment sticking pattern comprises Group 4 Patterns 9 and 7 of the fundamental drumming patterns.

Inverted Paradiddle Rudiment Group 4 Pattern 9 and 7 ■○○■ ○■■○ RLLR LRRL
Inverted Paradiddle Rudiment

Reversed Paradiddle Rudiment

Fundamental drumming patterns Group 4 Patterns 15 and 4 represent the sticking pattern for the reversed paradiddle rudiment.

Reversed Paradiddle Rudiment Group 4 Pattern 15 and 4 ■■○■ ○○■○ RRLR LLRL
Reversed Paradiddle Rudiment

Fundamental Drum Beat Patterns

This section will examine the fundamental drumming patterns and how they apply to drum beats. We start with how rhythmic beats are created and the application of the fundamental drumming patterns to define all the possible rhythmic beats that can be played. We follow this by applying the fundamental drumming patterns to accentuate rhythmic beats widely used in syncopated drum beats, fills, and solos. Finally, we look at the prevalence of the fundamental drumming patterns in various musical styles and genres.

Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Rhythmic beats are created by playing notes at specific intervals of time. When it comes to drumming, the durations of the notes, or the spaces between them, determine the rhythmic drum beat that is formed. The placement of the notes within a pattern or a measure of music plays a significant role in the overall feeling that the rhythm creates. The fundamental drumming patterns can be applied to the timing of notes to define all the possible rhythmic beat patterns.

Pattern Element Key
Note
Rest

Group 3 Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Here is the notation of all the possible drum beat patterns that can be played with three notes in a group. This includes all fundamental drum patterns of Group 3, with each pattern presented in its own measure. You can find Pattern 1 in the first measure, Pattern 2 in the second measure, and so on, with Pattern 8 appearing in the final measure.

Group 3 Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Group 4 Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

The following notation displays the sixteen possible rhythmic beat patterns that can be played with a group of four notes or rests. The measure numbers on the staff correspond to the pattern number for the fundamental drumming patterns.

Group 4 Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Accented Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Accented rhythmic beats are the emphasized or stressed elements in a musical rhythm. In music, rhythm is the pattern of sounds and silences in time, and beats are the basic units that measure this rhythm. Accented beats have more emphasis than other beats in the rhythm. This emphasis can come from increased volume, duration, or articulation, creating a sense of pulse, drive, and groove in the music.

Pattern Element Key
Accent Note
Note

Group 3 Accented Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

This notation score is the result of applying Group 3 fundamental drumming patterns to create all the possible accentuated rhythmic drum beat patterns number one to eight.

Group 3 Accented Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Group 4 Accented Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Here are the sixteen accentuated rhythmic drum beat patterns for Group 4 of the fundamental drumming patterns.

Group 4 Accented Rhythmic Drum Beat Patterns

Fundamental Drumming Independence Patterns

Drumming independence, also known as limb independence or coordination, is the ability of a drummer to control and manipulate each of their limbs (hands and feet) independently while playing different rhythms or patterns simultaneously. Exercises such as polyrhythms, ostinatos, and coordination drills can help strengthen the connections between the brain and each limb, improving coordination, timing, and overall musicality. Drumming independence is a vital skill for drummers of all levels and is essential for expressing creativity and musicality on the drum set.

Group 3 Independence Patterns

As an example, the following notation applies the fundamental drumming patterns to the right hand and right foot to form two-limb independence. The right hand is playing a basic ostinato pattern on a cymbal while the right foot is playing Group 3 of the fundamental drumming patterns on the bass drum. The same concept is applied to all the other two-limb combinations.

Group 3 Independence Patterns

Group 4 Independence Patterns

Here Group 4 of the fundamental drumming patterns are applied to form two-limb coordination between the left and right hand. This time the left hand is playing the fundamental drumming patterns against the right hand ostinato pattern. The same concept applies to other two-limb combinations.

Group 4 Independence Patterns

Fundamental Drum Stick Control Patterns

Drum stick control patterns refer to exercises or drills that aim to improve a drummer's coordination, dexterity, and control over their drumsticks. The goal is to develop equal proficiency in both hands, enabling the drummer to play smoothly and accurately across the drum set. Stick control patterns are essential for drummers of all levels, from beginners to advanced players, as they provide a structured approach to building fundamental skills that are applicable across a wide range of musical styles and genres.

Pattern Element Key
Right Hand
Left Hand

Group 3 Drum Stick Control Patterns

The fundamental drumming patterns of Group 3 are used on the hands to create all possible stick control patterns in triplet form.

Group 3 Drum Stick Control Patterns

Group 4 Drum Stick Control Patterns

Applying Group 4 of the fundamental drumming patterns produces all the possible stick control patterns in groups of four notes.

Group 4 Drum Stick Control Patterns

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