Reggae Drumming

Topics: Reggae, Drum kit, Time signature Pages: 2 (625 words) Published: December 16, 2012
Discuss the theoretical and technical concepts of reggae drumming, with reference to its historical context (500-600 words) Reggae is a music style (genre) which developed in the Caribbean (Jamaica) in the late 60s, which originated from the development of “Ska” and “Rocksteady”. Reggae is recognized worldwide by the rhythmic accents provided from the off-beat pattern (usually played by the guitar or piano) it is also known as the “Skank”. This pattern accents the 2nd and 4th beat in each bar (or on the ‘&’ of each beat all depending on how the music/ piece is counted) and combines with the drum that emphasises on beat 3 creating a unique feel. Reggae music usually has a 4/4 time signature, with a low tempo. For the drums, 8th notes are often played on the hi-hat, followed by a loud snare or rim-shot which can always be heard on the 3rd beat of a bar. Like any other genres, reggae music uses a standard drum-kit (bass drum, 2 rack toms, 1 floor tom, hi-hats, Crash / Ride Cymbal (s) and a highly tuned snare. Percussive instruments such as the tambourine, jam block, cowbell are also used quite frequently, as it gives a wider range of variety to perform syncopation.

Cross- stick is a technique commonly used in Reggae music. There are three main types/ styles of Reggae drumming known worldwide.

“One Drop”:
Reggae drum rhythms are fairly flexible guidelines. The “Down Beat” is the most important thing of all in reggae drumming. It’s the reason why reggae is controversial. Another characteristic of reggae drumming is the common use of hi-hats (they’re the premier cymbal used). This is because they hold a steady and consistent beat (it provides a steady/ hypnotic groove primarily based on repetition and is also the time keeper)

The Snare is usually played along with the bass drum on the 3rd beat of each bar (sometimes more) the snare hit is often a rim-shot (which is when the snare-head) isn’t hit, but the rim of the snare is hit to provide a softer,...
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