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The New Orleans Clave Rhythm

Unlocking the Secrets of Cross Rhythms in New Orleans Brass Band Music.

Have you ever wondered how the snare drum takes center stage in New Orleans brass band music? Or how two drummers can create a cross rhythm that goes across the bar line? If you're curious about these questions, you're in the right place.

In this video, we'll explore the secrets of cross rhythms in New Orleans brass band music. We'll break down the rhythm and show you how to incorporate it into your improvisation. So, let's dive in!

To start, let's talk about the two-drummer setup in New Orleans brass bands. Typically, one drummer plays the snare drum and the other plays the bass drum. The bass drum provides the rhythm's backbone, while the snare drum adds some sophisticated rhythmic phrasing.

Now, let's focus on the snare drum's rhythm. In a standard New Orleans brass band rhythm, the snare drum plays all the eighth notes, or quavers, with accents on beats two and four. However, in this example they play a cross rhythm that creates a two-bar phrase. 

The snare drummer plays a three-note pattern that starts on the first eighth note and repeats every three eighth notes with a four note grouping at the end to complete the 16 eighth note loop. This creates a rhythmic tension that goes across the bar line and gives the music its unique feel.

To hear this rhythm in action, listen closely to the drums in this piece of music. You'll hear the bass drummer playing the standard one bar rhythm, while the snare drummer adds the cross rhythm on top. Together, they create a two-bar phrase that loops every two bars.

Now, let's explore how you can incorporate this cross rhythm into your improvisation. One way to do this is to play scale patterns that align with the rhythm. For example, you can play a pattern of three notes followed by another pattern of three notes, then repeat this pattern four times before adding a final pattern of four notes to bring it back to the beginning.

By incorporating this cross rhythm into your playing, you'll add an element of complexity and interest to your improvisation. 

In conclusion, cross rhythms are a crucial element of New Orleans brass band music. By understanding how they work, you can add a new dimension to your playing and create unique and interesting improvisations. So, start experimenting with cross rhythms today and see where they take you!

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