rich stitzel drummer.composer.author.educator

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Guitar Center Drum-Off 2014!!

Hey guys,

When I was asked to be a judge in the Chicago Guitar Center Drum-Off 2014 I was a bit skeptical, but when I watched some of the videos of past winners, I was quite impressed. After some research I decided to accept the duty because I realized that if the judges care about the artistic & musical integrity of the drumming craft, then the contestants will also resonate at a higher, more serious level.

I am personally inviting all of you Chicago drummers who are over the age of 16, and make less than 20K/year playing drums, and have no drum endorsements yet to consider entering this contest. I have had some good friends over the years win lots of nice gear and cash for doing this. Really great drummers whom I have had a lot of respect for. Drummers who are now highly sought after live & session players.

I have heard tons of ridiculous players in this town who I know fit the criteria. Let’s send a real drummer from Chicago to the national Drum-Off finals!

 Here is the link to sign up:

Guitar Center Drum-Off 2014

See you there!!

-Rich

 

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a quick look at polymeters and polyrhythms 4:3

Hey everybody!

It seems like when I start talking about polyrhythms & polymeters in clinics and workshops I get some blank stares, which makes sense if you haven’t spent too much time thinking about them, or studying them.  I just wanted to get a simple explanation out there with an audio example and a written music example so you could come at the concept from a few different angles and perspectives. The bottom line is, any complex relationships require a deep understanding of what something sounds like, what it feels like to play, and also what it looks like written down.

A polymeter is two or more meters happening at the same time. These meters share a common subdivision, so in essence a polymeter is different groupings of the same note values being played alongside one another. For example, 3 sixteenth notes being played over and over at the same time as 4 sixteenth notes are being played over and over. They begin together, but then grow further apart in their starting note, until finally (3 beats later in this case) they re-align and begin the cycle again.

A polyrhythm is two or more evenly spaced note values with different subdivisions resolving within the same amount of time. For example, four quarter notes being played in the same amount of time as 3 half note triplets.

In the audio example you will hear four cymbal notes in the same amount of time that you hear 3 snare drum notes.  You can practice shifting your perception as you listen to the track.

Here are some ways you can change your perception as you listen to the the track, which is same thing over and over…

First you will most likely hear the snare drum as the main pulse, and you will probably also organize it as 3/4 time. With this establishment of the time you will perceive the cymbal as playing a dotted eighth pattern. This is also called a hemiola. Practice counting aloud with this pattern by saying 1,2,3,1,2,3,etc.  This is a simple resolution of the pattern you are hearing. It resolves every measure. (before even trying to play these patterns, simply listen and count).

Secondly, we can start counting the complex resolution of the same pattern. To do this, you will count to four over and over with the snare drum pulse. This will require 3 measures of time to resolve back to one. 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4. Really let this settle into your inner core of time. Feel the groove of the pattern as you hear the dance of the cymbal carry you across the barlines.

Go back and fourth counting along with the snare drum  – 1,2,3,1,2,3 to 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4. This will help you establish the groove, and not just the sound. The groove is the bottom line. It has to feel good, not just sound interesting…

Third. We can now turn the polymeter into a polyrhythm by shifting our attention to the cymbal. This will become the new pulse foundation rather than the snare. Jump in and begin counting to 4 over and over with the cymbal. You will notice the snare is now in a triplet feel. You are now perceiving this pattern as a polyrhythm rather than a polymeter. You did it! So count with the cymbal 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4, etc. and really feel what the snare is doing. You will sense a time signature that might be 12/8, or you may just feel it in 8th note triplets in 4/4 time. Your choice, your perception ;-)  You are counting in a simple resolution of this polyrhythm. 4/4 time in this case allows the rhythms to resolve every measure.

Fourthly, we can move into the complex resolution of the polyrhythm 4:3. Continue to count with the ride but now you will only count to three over and over. 1,2,3 1,2,3 1,2,3, 1,2,3, etc. This is certainly the most complex of the four perceptions of this pattern. Over the bar line, triplet based, long resolution, etc. makes it a tricky one to keep track of. Stay with it. Once this one truly sinks in your playing will definitely take on a new shape through a new found freedom in your perception of time.

Now that you have a handle on listening to, and perceiving what is happening in a variety of ways you can begin to coordinate your hands to actually play the pattern and then apply the four counting approaches (aloud) again while playing it. This is a great workout. Don’t only limit the coordination to your hands. Try it with all two limb combinations: RH/LH, RH/LF, RH/RF, LH/RF, LH/LF, RF/LF (and then switch the role of each limb…).

Have fun!

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a new paradigm in music categorization

I was driving home the other night and was thinking about the way music has become so niche & micro-niche categorized, that it would be impossible to truly have a “record store” (remember those?!) in the real world with any kind of decent representation of all that’s out there now.  In a great book entitled “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson, he discusses in great detail internet marketing, micro-niche categories, and how things sell in the virtual world where there is no real need for physical product. This blog is not so much about that however.

At first the idea was just a silly thought that popped into my head, then I started thinking about it and somehow it seemed like it might actually have a legitimate impact on the way music is viewed, listened to, and thought about.

Instead of having categories like Alt Rock, Pop, Death Metal, Country, Drum and Bass, Americana, Folk, Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Avante Garde, etc., etc. What if music were categorized by how it came into existence?  There would be a category for Written by the Band, Written by the Band/Performed by Session Players, Written by a Team of Songwriters, Written & Recorded by the Performer, etc.

It seems like if a listener was aware that their favorite song was written by 9 different people, none of whom are playing or singing anything on the recording, it might make them think twice about who their actual favorite artists were. It may put things back into perspective with who is actually the talent & creative force behind what is being put out there. It would still be legal to create music in any way, shape, or form but perhaps a sticker on the cd, or a disclaimer on itunes could just inform the consumer a bit. Nothing harsh or anything. Just a simple notice:

“Please be advised that the music you are listening to was not performed by the actual band in the studio, nor were any of the lyrics written by the singer. Most of the songs were written by seven to ten people sitting in an office at the record label in a desperate attempt to keep the artists you are so in love with afloat. (Well, not the actual artist, but the empire that has been built around the artist’s image…). Thanks for listening”

or

“Please be advised that the music you are listening to was written and performed by the band, and the singer also wrote the lyrics. The music you are hearing was recorded by the musicians in this band as a band in the same room at the same time. There may be some fluctuations in time, but the energy and groove will most definitely transcend the soul.”

or

“Please be advised that the music you are listening to was painstakingly and meticulously edited using technology in order to insure the person who wrote this song sounds good enough to perform it”.

Would popular music tastes change if the general public was aware of how the music was created? Do the details even matter, as long as the tune is catchy and the band looks cool? If someone asked you what your favorite kind of music was and your answer was, “I like artist written/artist performed music with session musicians” we would understand that you were into Paul Simon, James Taylor, Sting, etc. If the answer was, “I like band written, band performed” we would know that you may like Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, or Pink Floyd. “I like team written, session musician music” would perhaps be Taylor Swift, or Justin Timberlake. “I listen to team written, producer programmed, anonymous silver helmeted button pushers” you may be into Daft Punk. We would understand the genre, regardless of the “style” of music.

I think musicians already do have a bit of tendency to categorize music into the way it was written, performed, and produced, and even marketed. I also think that the vast grass roots music fans out there do this as well. If this is so, why does it still seem like popular music is being ruled by teams of songwriters behind a particular artist? Im not judging it, I was just wondering about it as I was driving home last night…

What do you think?

 

 

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The Five Note Grouping

The five note grouping is a fun little entity that provides a superimposition of time that can, among other things, give the illusion of time slowing down. This is the first rhythmic quality that begins the series of “over the bar line” figures (values that don’t resolve within a duple meter) beyond the quarter note (the dotted eighth is greater than an eighth, but less than a quarter).

The Five Note Grouping as Math:

(Just a reminder…polyrhythms are values that have different rhythmic values, but all resolve together within a given space. Polymeters are figures that share the same subdivision, but have different values on top – three 16ths, five 16ths, etc. which cause the groupings to “overlap” each other in a way that it could take several cycles of the pattern before the downbeats line up together again.

Think about the planets. Each planet has a different rate at which it travels around the sun. That would be the same as the top number. Every revolution is different. The bottom number could be called “days” since that is the measurement that we use on earth.  We could have the day be the subdivision, or the hour, or whatever time measurement we choose.  So, just as it takes the Earth 365.25 days to revolve around the sun, it takes Mercury 88 days. Polymetrically speaking, if we want to know how often Earth & Mercury realign (as if to say play the downbeat of the same measure together) we would have to multiply 365.25 x 88 = 32142. Earth & Mercury will realign every 32,142 days. Luckily we are just talking about 5 note groupings in 4/4 time, and not 365 note groupings in 24th note subdivisions…

If you were to play a grouping of five 16th notes in 4/4 time, it would take 5 measures for your downbeat to fall back on beat one of the measure. (5 sixteenths x 4 beats = 20. Twenty beats = 5 measures of 4/4 time.) If you were to play a five 16th grouping in 5/4 time the pattern would resolve every measure, which would sound like a slow 4 superimposed over 5.

The accents would fall on 1, e of 2, and of 3, uh of 4, and then 5 in 5/4 time, or 2 of the next bar in 4/4 time. (see above example).

 

The Five Note Grouping as Quantum Mechanics (polymeter vs. polyrhythm):

(The observer paradox…)

If two people approached a third person (in the woods) playing a quarter note pulse in one hand, and a superimposed 5 note grouping in the other, there could be at least two observations of what is happening (actually 3).

Person A, the person performing the exercise would most likely be thinking of playing the pattern in 5/4 time. But the other two people could hear two completely different things:

Person B could be hearing the 5 grouping as the actual quarter note pulse, and thus believe he was listening to a Polyrhythm because he is hearing 5 notes being played in one hand in the same amount of time it is taking the other hand to play 4 notes. This pattern would resolve for him every measure of 4/4 time, and the 5 notes would feel “squished” in to the measure in order to resolve each bar…

Person C could be hearing what is happening in a third way. He could be hearing the pattern being played in 4/4 time with the five note grouping being played in an over the barline fashion, resolving every 5 measures.  This would be perceived as a Polymeter.

The Five Note Grouping as Practice:

I would recommend, just as with any practice, doing every possible combination of this pattern you can think of – RH/LH, LH/RH, RF/LF, LF/RF, RF/RH, RF/LH, LF/LH, LF/RH, BF/BH, BH/BF.

The “skeleton” pattern is the following:

5 note grouping skeleton

 

The “cell” pattern is as follows:

5 note grouping cell

The Five Note Grouping as Concept:

“Creative expression” is a slippery slope. (One man’s cerebellum is another man’s aorta).

Its always tricky to determine what is musical, what is contrived, what is creative, what is calculated.  If a difficult passage is practiced enough, it will definitely become part of one’s subconscious and thus may find its way into the “expression” category without sounding contrived. The creative drive in humans walks a thin tightrope upon which creativity can be confused with other acts of presentation that are merely regurgitation.

This concept is grounds for its own blog obviously, but very succinctly I will say that I believe the creative act to be a process by which the unknown comes into being, and anything else is a clever manipulation of what already exists. This concept requires much more focus, which I will do elsewhere…

The bottom line here is, once you have “mastered” a musical concept, it can be used in your palatte to paint the picture or story or emotion you are wanting to convey. A five note grouping may conjure an image in your mind that starts to find its way to the surface of your playing anytime something triggers the inspiration in the music. It could be a response to something else rhythmic that is happening, or it could be a way to manipulate the sensation of the pulse, or it could be an “inside joke” that you have through comraderie with your fellow musicians.

Or you could master this concept and never play it. Just understanding how time can be manipulated is sometimes enough to solidify your groove, or at least understand what others are doing. Having a deep relationship and knowledge of what is possible, and actually bringing it to the forefront of your playing DO NOT have to go hand in hand. Make your own decisions as to your own inner truth of what is important to state musically.

Here are some 5 note grouping exercises:

Download (PDF, 37KB)

 

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Freeque Deux

This was my first composition that incorporated the drummantra concept (probably around 2006).  Its basically an electronica type vibe with various instruments morphing in and out while the drumset part plays a continual drummantra of a 4/4 groove on kick & snare with a dotted eighth on the hihat, and 5 groupings on the ride cymbal.  Because of the 4/4 time signature, the dotted note, and the 5 note grouping the phrase lasts 15 measures before repeating.

The drum groove comes in after an 8 bar synth intro.

*The entire chapter of exercises building up to this drummantra will be available soon at drummantra.com

Download (PDF, 57KB)

 

 

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Zhak Drinalin

These tunes were composed for various ensembles of musicians. Score and parts are available in pdf form if you are interested in having these pieces performed by your ensemble.

This piece, “Zhak Drinalin”, was written for the Elmhurst College Percussion Ensemble in 2007. I included the drumset part to check out below.

Download (PDF, 65KB)

 

 

 

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Cathy Richardson Band 7.3.06

This is a performance from july 3, 2006 of the incredibly passionate and soulful tune of Cathy’s called “Ain’t No Home” from her record “Delusions of Grandeur”.  The video is edited to show the guitar/drum interaction between guitar hero Joel Hoekstra and myself.  Groove man Fran Kondorf is on bass, the vivacious Anne Harris is on djembe & dancing, and the inimitable Cathy Richardson is on keys and vocals.

This section of the song is open, and we are to build from nothing to huge and then back down into Cathy’s vocals.  This is one of my favorite interactions from Cathy’s gig, although every night was incredible. Hard not to be with a band like this. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

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Bertha Coolidge live at Scat Lounge 1.18.2015

This is from a Bertha Coolidge reunion show in January 2015. This band gets together once a year and does a show or two. We’ve been friends & musical partners dating back to about 1993.  Joey Carter on Vibraphone & Organ, Paul Metzger on Guitars, Aden Bubeck on Bass, and I obviously play drums.

This is a little drum solo during a John Scofield song called “Groove Elation”. Its a blues form and the band is just playing a simple ostinato of dotted eighth, sixteenth tied to an eighth, eighth, quarter rest, quarter rest. One of the things i really enjoy about playing with these guys is their ability to allow the music to go where it goes based on what anyone leads us in to at any given point. Everyone listens to each other and moves as a collective into different territory every time we play.  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

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Drummantra: The Dream. Full Exercise

The Drummantra is a series of compositions and exercises intended as an extension of your drum practice. The purpose is to develop coordination through multi-limb polymetrics. The exercises should be practiced slowly & with deliberation.

The ability to focus your attention, to maintain concentration, to keep track of where you are, to continue to play the patterns fluidly, and to remain relaxed is the basic formula for approaching the Drummantra exercises.

The “Drum” part is obvious, the “mantra” part is basically a term related to meditation, but rather than speaking a mantra with the voice, we are performing long repetitive phrases that act as a more physical mantra.

This specific exercise goes through a series of subtle permutations. The basic motif is a two measure tom melody accompanied by a constant 16th note shaker pattern.

The slow moving changes require concentration and relaxation.

The reason this exercise is called “The Dream” is it reminded me of a recurring dream someone I know used to have. He would be standing in the desert, and two suns would move infinitely slow towards each other and finally, hours later, they would meet and then begin their journey back to the edges of the horizon. And then start again. Very meditative, as can be this exercise.

Stay present and have fun!

-Rich

 

Download (PDF, 66KB)

 

 

 

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Drum Hang with Nate Wood

Nate Wood and I have been getting to know each other a bit over the past couple years from a couple visits of his to Chicago with Wayne Krantz (subbing for Keith Carlock once with Tim Lefebvre on bass, and playing bass w/Wayne & Keith the other time), and most recently with Donny McCaslin, Tim Lefebvre, and Jason Lindner (subbing for Mark Guiliana). Yeah. Nate’s burning.

Luckily a two nighter at the Green Mill for Nate gave us the opportunity to get a little more hang time than in our previous pre & post show chats.  Despite the stirring blizzard, Nate jumped on a train and headed to my place. Cymbal flight case in tow.

I set up two kits and put a couple mics overhead and that was that.

I am playing a walnut Craviotto 22x14bd, 13×9 walnut crav, 16×16 walnut crav, and a 4×15 1920’s ludgwig snare. My cymbals were 2 Sabian Jack DeJohnette flat rides (21&22), and some (14″ K crashes for hihats)

Nate is using a walnut Craviotto 18x16bd, 13×9 ludwig tom, 14×10 walnut crav tom, and a 6.5×14 copper/brass AK/Craviotto snare (29/50). His cymbals are an 18″crash, 24″ ride, and 15″ hats, all Istanbul Agop 30th anniversary cymbals.

Earlier in the week I was composing some new playalong material for the upcoming Drummantra Book, and I’m so glad I did because it gave us something completely fresh and new (for both of us) to play over. I did some Ableton tracking tricks to create more of a compositional shape to the piece, but when it is being used as a practice element for the book, it is more ostinato based so its a bit easier to keep track of.  The piece is a 15 measure long sequence, which allows for 5 groupings and 3 groupings to co-exist cleanly within a 4/4 environment so there is some room to play with things a bit and still have other elements going on.

Anyway. It was great getting to know each other a little more as people, and was also very cool to share some musical space together. I must say Nate is a very good soul. He is articulate, focused, extremely creative, considerate, supportive, and very well studied. And he likes good coffee.

I hope you enjoy this little 15 minute window into what ended up being over 90 minutes of playing with this piece.

Rich & Nate are both Vic Firth artists. Rich is also endorsed by Evans Drumheads, and The Box Kit drums. Nate is also endorsed by Remo Drumheads, and Istanbul cymbals.

 

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Drummantra: The Dream. Full Exercise

The Drummantra is a series of compositions and exercises intended as an extension of your drum practice. The purpose is to develop coordination through multi-limb polymetrics. The exercises should be practiced slowly & with deliberation.

The ability to focus your attention, to maintain concentration, to keep track of where you are, to continue to play the patterns fluidly, and to remain relaxed is the basic formula for approaching the Drummantra exercises.

The “Drum” part is obvious, the “mantra” part is basically a term related to meditation, but rather than speaking a mantra with the voice, we are performing long repetitive phrases that act as a more physical mantra.

This specific exercise goes through a series of subtle permutations. The basic motif is a two measure tom melody accompanied by a constant 16th note shaker pattern.

The slow moving changes require concentration and relaxation.

The reason this exercise is called “The Dream” is it reminded me of a recurring dream someone I know used to have. He would be standing in the desert, and two suns would move infinitely slow towards each other and finally, hours later, they would meet and then begin their journey back to the edges of the horizon. And then start again. Very meditative, as can be this exercise.

Stay present and have fun!

-Rich

 

Download (PDF, 66KB)

 

 

 

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drummantra: 2 bar phrasing (7,5,7,9,4) over dotted 8th

The Drummantra is a concept that I have been working on since about 2007.  The concept found its way into a compositional style that came to me when writing some percussion ensemble pieces. As the concept developed it became focused on several aspects of composition, drumming, improvising, and practicing. The foundation of the drummantra is a dynamic (non-static) subdivision (polymetric) that continues beyond the barline of a common subdivision (a dotted eighth note resolves every 3 quarter notes. In 4/4 time it would resolve every 3 measures). When overlaying multiple polymetric groupings atop one another the resolutions can take longer and longer to happen, which gives each beat, each measure a dynamic & “organic” life that continues to evolve as it twists and turns in a dance with the other rhythms.

Here is one of many combinations of groupings you can practice for a little over the barline phrasing. The pattern is 2 measures long in the hands, but when you add the bass drum the pattern doesn’t resolve until every 6 measures.

The goal is to get comfortable enough with these kinds of patterns over dotted notes to just be able to just “sense” or “feel” where you are in the measure. Once you’ve reached the ability to comfortably know where you are from your awareness of the underlying pulse, you can begin to improvise longer phrases with more ease and fluidity.

Suggestions for practice;

Accents can be: RH lead, LH lead, alternate sticking, Flams & Flam Accents, Flam Taps & Flam Tap Taps, etc.

You can also begin to voice the accents around the drumset (toms, cymbals, etc).

 

Good luck & have fun!

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polymeters and polyrhythms 4:5

The polymeter 4:5 begins to get a little more intense because the 5 is “outside” of the natural 4 grouping. I say “natural” because most people hear groupings of 4 with very little challenge. When we were looking at the three grouping, we learned that the 3 is “inside” the 4 which is easier to keep track of in the big picture. Because the 5 is outside of the 4, we are now stretching beyond the beat, and stretching beyond/over the barline. I use the term stretch, because as you will see, it feels like time is stretching a bit when we focus on this grouping of 5 notes.

Just as with the 4:3 listening and counting exercises, you will want to do the same with the 4:5 groupings. This will most likely not feel as natural as the 4:3 groupings, but once you get an ear on it, and start to identify how it sounds and feels, it will begin to make more sense and become more fluid and natural. And again, I recommend listening and counting for a while, until you are very comfortable with the concepts, before attempting to play the instruments.

If you haven’t become completely comfortable with the 4:3 section yet, please click HERE to work on it first. The foundation must be strong before venturing too far down the path. Not only do the fives sound complex, they look complex. Please be ready so you don’t frustrate yourself.

OK.

 

 

When you first hear the track you should start trying to hear the snare drum part as the main pulse. It will be counted as if it were in 5/4 time, so when you hear the snare and cymbal hit together, make that 1. Count with the snare drum to 5. 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5, etc. I would suggest doing this for quite a while until you are comfortable with the pulse and also able to anticipate when the cymbal is going to sound. This is the simple resolution of the polymeter 4:5, and resolves every measure of 5/4 time.

Second step is to be able to count the 4:5 polymeter in its complex resolution, which would be to count with the snare drum to 4 rather than 5. This will take 5 measures of 4/4 counting for the two meters to resolve. 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4. This will require quite a bit of concentration and focus because you are now experiencing a sequence that is 20 beats, or 5 measures of 4/4 time long. Keep track of where you are.

The third treatment of this grouping of notes is to flip it upside down and turn it into a polyrhythm rather than a polymeter. When I say flip it upside down, I simply mean shift the focus of the pulse to the other instrument, which in this case is the cymbal.  This will certainly require even more attention and focus because the slower pulse (the cymbal) is being chased by a new kind of subdivision in the snare drum – a fivelet or fifthlet. Although you are now counting to four with the cymbal – 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4, etc. you are hearing the snare drum jump in at very unnatural places in the beat. This is because the cymbal is now playing the first of every 5 notes which are arranged as fifthlets (5 notes per beat). If your like me you may find yourself putting the track on repeat and counting with the cymbal over and over again, even in your sleep…  Counting to four with the cymbal puts you in the simple resolution of the polyrhythm 4:5 because the pattern resolves in every measure of 4/4 time.

Fourthly, and certainly the most challenging is to now count the 4:5 polyrhythm in its complex resolution of 5/4 time, which requires 4 measures or 20 beats to resolve. Again, count with the cymbal to five over and over. 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5 1,2,3,4,5. Four times around will bring you back to the beginning of the cycle. This one one super heavy and as far as I’ve ever experienced, purely theoretical practice. I have not heard much music that is played using the fivelet subdivision for any endured length of time, and quite honestly it has an inherently very small groove factor attached to it.

To me, it is much more important to simply understand how this polyrhythm functions and what it sounds like more than actually using it in the context of performing music.  There are certainly some qualities of the 4:5 polyrhythm that are great vehicles for rhythmic tension, metronomic tempo changes, or compositional density, but the “complex resolution” of this polyrhythm is, for the most part, an exercise in theory and rhythmic ear training.

Enjoy;-)

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polymeters and polyrhythms 4:3

Hey everybody!

It seems like when I start talking about polyrhythms & polymeters in clinics and workshops I get some blank stares, which makes sense if you haven’t spent too much time thinking about them, or studying them.  I just wanted to get a simple explanation out there with an audio example and a written music example so you could come at the concept from a few different angles and perspectives. The bottom line is, any complex relationships require a deep understanding of what something sounds like, what it feels like to play, and also what it looks like written down.

A polymeter is two or more meters happening at the same time. These meters share a common subdivision, so in essence a polymeter is different groupings of the same note values being played alongside one another. For example, 3 sixteenth notes being played over and over at the same time as 4 sixteenth notes are being played over and over. They begin together, but then grow further apart in their starting note, until finally (3 beats later in this case) they re-align and begin the cycle again.

A polyrhythm is two or more evenly spaced note values with different subdivisions resolving within the same amount of time. For example, four quarter notes being played in the same amount of time as 3 half note triplets.

In the audio example you will hear four cymbal notes in the same amount of time that you hear 3 snare drum notes.  You can practice shifting your perception as you listen to the track.

 

 

Here are some ways you can change your perception as you listen to the the track, which is same thing over and over…

First you will most likely hear the snare drum as the main pulse, and you will probably also organize it as 3/4 time. With this establishment of the time you will perceive the cymbal as playing a dotted eighth pattern. This is also called a hemiola. Practice counting aloud with this pattern by saying 1,2,3,1,2,3,etc.  This is a simple resolution of the pattern you are hearing. It resolves every measure. (before even trying to play these patterns, simply listen and count).

Say this sentence as you hear the rhythm – “KICK the Sil-ver Buck-et”

Secondly, we can start counting the complex resolution of the same pattern. To do this, you will count to four over and over with the snare drum pulse. This will require 3 measures of 4/4 time to resolve back to one. 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4. Really let this settle into your inner core of time. Feel the groove of the pattern as you hear the dance of the cymbal carry you across the barlines.

We will still use “kick the silver bucket” but it will now be:

“KICK the Sil-ver Buck-et Kick the SIL-ver Buck-et Kick the Sil-ver BUCK-et”

Go back and fourth counting along with the snare drum  – 1,2,3,1,2,3 to 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4. This will help you establish the groove, and not just the sound. The groove is the bottom line. It has to feel good, not just sound interesting…

Third. We can now turn the polymeter into a polyrhythm by shifting our attention to the cymbal. This will become the new pulse foundation rather than the snare. Jump in and begin counting to 4 over and over with the cymbal. You will notice the snare is now in a triplet feel. You are now perceiving this pattern as a polyrhythm rather than a polymeter. You did it! So count with the cymbal 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4, etc. and really feel what the snare is doing. You will sense a time signature that might be 12/8, or you may just feel it in 8th note triplets in 4/4 time. Your choice, your perception ;-)  You are counting in a simple resolution of this polyrhythm. 4/4 time in this case allows the rhythms to resolve every measure.

Say this sentence as you listen to the rhythm – “THIS Rhy-thm Is a Trip”

Fourthly, we can move into the complex resolution of the polyrhythm 4:3. Continue to count with the ride but now you will only count to three over and over. 1,2,3 1,2,3 1,2,3, 1,2,3, etc. This is certainly the most complex of the four perceptions of this pattern. Over the bar line, triplet based, long resolution, etc. makes it a tricky one to keep track of. Stay with it. Once this one truly sinks in your playing will definitely take on a new shape through a new found freedom in your perception of time.

Now the sentence becomes “THIS Rhy-thm Is a TRIP This Rhy-thm IS a Trip This RHY-thm is a trip”

Now that you have a handle on listening to, and perceiving what is happening in a variety of ways you can begin to coordinate your hands to actually play the pattern and then apply the four counting approaches (aloud) again while playing it. This is a great workout. Don’t only limit the coordination to your hands. Try it with all two limb combinations: RH/LH, RH/LF, RH/RF, LH/RF, LH/LF, RF/LF (and then switch the role of each limb…).

Have fun!

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a quick look at polymeters and polyrhythms 4:3

Hey everybody!

It seems like when I start talking about polyrhythms & polymeters in clinics and workshops I get some blank stares, which makes sense if you haven’t spent too much time thinking about them, or studying them.  I just wanted to get a simple explanation out there with an audio example and a written music example so you could come at the concept from a few different angles and perspectives. The bottom line is, any complex relationships require a deep understanding of what something sounds like, what it feels like to play, and also what it looks like written down.

A polymeter is two or more meters happening at the same time. These meters share a common subdivision, so in essence a polymeter is different groupings of the same note values being played alongside one another. For example, 3 sixteenth notes being played over and over at the same time as 4 sixteenth notes are being played over and over. They begin together, but then grow further apart in their starting note, until finally (3 beats later in this case) they re-align and begin the cycle again.

A polyrhythm is two or more evenly spaced note values with different subdivisions resolving within the same amount of time. For example, four quarter notes being played in the same amount of time as 3 half note triplets.

In the audio example you will hear four cymbal notes in the same amount of time that you hear 3 snare drum notes.  You can practice shifting your perception as you listen to the track.

Here are some ways you can change your perception as you listen to the the track, which is same thing over and over…

First you will most likely hear the snare drum as the main pulse, and you will probably also organize it as 3/4 time. With this establishment of the time you will perceive the cymbal as playing a dotted eighth pattern. This is also called a hemiola. Practice counting aloud with this pattern by saying 1,2,3,1,2,3,etc.  This is a simple resolution of the pattern you are hearing. It resolves every measure. (before even trying to play these patterns, simply listen and count).

Secondly, we can start counting the complex resolution of the same pattern. To do this, you will count to four over and over with the snare drum pulse. This will require 3 measures of time to resolve back to one. 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4. Really let this settle into your inner core of time. Feel the groove of the pattern as you hear the dance of the cymbal carry you across the barlines.

Go back and fourth counting along with the snare drum  – 1,2,3,1,2,3 to 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4. This will help you establish the groove, and not just the sound. The groove is the bottom line. It has to feel good, not just sound interesting…

Third. We can now turn the polymeter into a polyrhythm by shifting our attention to the cymbal. This will become the new pulse foundation rather than the snare. Jump in and begin counting to 4 over and over with the cymbal. You will notice the snare is now in a triplet feel. You are now perceiving this pattern as a polyrhythm rather than a polymeter. You did it! So count with the cymbal 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4, etc. and really feel what the snare is doing. You will sense a time signature that might be 12/8, or you may just feel it in 8th note triplets in 4/4 time. Your choice, your perception ;-)  You are counting in a simple resolution of this polyrhythm. 4/4 time in this case allows the rhythms to resolve every measure.

Fourthly, we can move into the complex resolution of the polyrhythm 4:3. Continue to count with the ride but now you will only count to three over and over. 1,2,3 1,2,3 1,2,3, 1,2,3, etc. This is certainly the most complex of the four perceptions of this pattern. Over the bar line, triplet based, long resolution, etc. makes it a tricky one to keep track of. Stay with it. Once this one truly sinks in your playing will definitely take on a new shape through a new found freedom in your perception of time.

Now that you have a handle on listening to, and perceiving what is happening in a variety of ways you can begin to coordinate your hands to actually play the pattern and then apply the four counting approaches (aloud) again while playing it. This is a great workout. Don’t only limit the coordination to your hands. Try it with all two limb combinations: RH/LH, RH/LF, RH/RF, LH/RF, LH/LF, RF/LF (and then switch the role of each limb…).

Have fun!

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Foundational Series 1B

For those of you that have already downloaded and are practicing the Foundational Series IA worksheets, here is a second installment.  Foundational Series IB is simply repeating the material from Foundational Series IA but replacing the bass drum with the hihat.

Remember all of the things I listed to concentrate on from the Foundational Series IA post.

This is the beginning of testing your patience, and integrity with actually playing these exercises rather than “envisioning” what they would sound & feel like by just simply switching feet.  The coordination development of doing IA & IB is the foundation upon which the all of the Drummantra Series’ will require.

1. Make sure you are balanced and comfortable on your throne for these exercises.

2. Make sure your left foot is playing with just as much authority, groove, and consistency as your right foot.

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Foundational Series 1A

Here we have the Foundational Series as an introduction to developing some coordination concepts that will be the foundation upon which the Drummantras are constructed.  There aren’t any polymetric systems in the Foundational Series, although there are components and coordination experiences that we will eventually move into a polymetric landscape.

Practice Suggestions:

1. Play these exercises with a metronome on quarter notes, or even half notes if you are comfortable (the less information in the click, the more you will have to rely on your own inner time).

2. Play each exercise repeatedly, even if you feel like you’ve “got it”. Allow yourself to settle into the exercise, allowing “muscle memory” to get a foothold. I would suggest 20 times per measure, although once the Drummantra exercises begin, you will want to have developed enough patience to stay on an exercise for several minutes…

3. Count the quarter note pulse aloud while playing the exercises. You can use the words one, two, three, four, or you can use a sound like “duh” or “ka”.  Whatever you choose to say, make sure you are doing so OUT LOUD. This requires the physical engagement of the voice, thus adding another dimension to the body’s coordination development.

4. Record yourself. Listen back and see how it FEELS. Is each exercise grooving? Is it fluid? Does it feel as good as you think you can make it feel? (Don’t get hung up on the recording quality if you are using a phone or something to record yourself. And definitely don’t let yourself go crazy on getting a really good sound if you are mic’d up and using a DAW. This will distract and detract from the work).

5. Breathe. Seriously. Make sure you aren’t holding your breath (which is kind of common when concentrating on something that requires your attention). When you are breathing calmly you are able or relax, and playing from a relaxed space will keep your body limber and ready to respond.

6.  Have fun with this. Fun as in, don’t let it feel like work. Remind yourself that anything you do with intention and purpose will add a dimension of quality to your playing. The more you can be engaged in the exercise the more you will gain from what it has to offer.

Remember, it isn’t how long you practice that is important, its the intention & attention that aid in the development of great time, musicality, listening, and creating.  One hour of very attentive practice is much more effective than three hours of unfocused, undisciplined jamming.

 

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The Five Note Grouping

The five note grouping is a fun little entity that provides a superimposition of time that can, among other things, give the illusion of time slowing down. This is the first rhythmic quality that begins the series of “over the bar line” figures (values that don’t resolve within a duple meter) beyond the quarter note (the dotted eighth is greater than an eighth, but less than a quarter).

The Five Note Grouping as Math:

(Just a reminder…polyrhythms are values that have different rhythmic values, but all resolve together within a given space. Polymeters are figures that share the same subdivision, but have different values on top – three 16ths, five 16ths, etc. which cause the groupings to “overlap” each other in a way that it could take several cycles of the pattern before the downbeats line up together again.

Think about the planets. Each planet has a different rate at which it travels around the sun. That would be the same as the top number. Every revolution is different. The bottom number could be called “days” since that is the measurement that we use on earth.  We could have the day be the subdivision, or the hour, or whatever time measurement we choose.  So, just as it takes the Earth 365.25 days to revolve around the sun, it takes Mercury 88 days. Polymetrically speaking, if we want to know how often Earth & Mercury realign (as if to say play the downbeat of the same measure together) we would have to multiply 365.25 x 88 = 32142. Earth & Mercury will realign every 32,142 days. Luckily we are just talking about 5 note groupings in 4/4 time, and not 365 note groupings in 24th note subdivisions…

If you were to play a grouping of five 16th notes in 4/4 time, it would take 5 measures for your downbeat to fall back on beat one of the measure. (5 sixteenths x 4 beats = 20. Twenty beats = 5 measures of 4/4 time.) If you were to play a five 16th grouping in 5/4 time the pattern would resolve every measure, which would sound like a slow 4 superimposed over 5.

The accents would fall on 1, e of 2, and of 3, uh of 4, and then 5 in 5/4 time, or 2 of the next bar in 4/4 time. (see above example).

 

The Five Note Grouping as Quantum Mechanics (polymeter vs. polyrhythm):

(The observer paradox…)

If two people approached a third person (in the woods) playing a quarter note pulse in one hand, and a superimposed 5 note grouping in the other, there could be at least two observations of what is happening (actually 3).

Person A, the person performing the exercise would most likely be thinking of playing the pattern in 5/4 time. But the other two people could hear two completely different things:

Person B could be hearing the 5 grouping as the actual quarter note pulse, and thus believe he was listening to a Polyrhythm because he is hearing 5 notes being played in one hand in the same amount of time it is taking the other hand to play 4 notes. This pattern would resolve for him every measure of 4/4 time, and the 5 notes would feel “squished” in to the measure in order to resolve each bar…

Person C could be hearing what is happening in a third way. He could be hearing the pattern being played in 4/4 time with the five note grouping being played in an over the barline fashion, resolving every 5 measures.  This would be perceived as a Polymeter.

The Five Note Grouping as Practice:

I would recommend, just as with any practice, doing every possible combination of this pattern you can think of – RH/LH, LH/RH, RF/LF, LF/RF, RF/RH, RF/LH, LF/LH, LF/RH, BF/BH, BH/BF.

The “skeleton” pattern is the following:

5 note grouping skeleton

 

The “cell” pattern is as follows:

5 note grouping cell

The Five Note Grouping as Concept:

“Creative expression” is a slippery slope. (One man’s cerebellum is another man’s aorta).

Its always tricky to determine what is musical, what is contrived, what is creative, what is calculated.  If a difficult passage is practiced enough, it will definitely become part of one’s subconscious and thus may find its way into the “expression” category without sounding contrived. The creative drive in humans walks a thin tightrope upon which creativity can be confused with other acts of presentation that are merely regurgitation.

This concept is grounds for its own blog obviously, but very succinctly I will say that I believe the creative act to be a process by which the unknown comes into being, and anything else is a clever manipulation of what already exists. This concept requires much more focus, which I will do elsewhere…

The bottom line here is, once you have “mastered” a musical concept, it can be used in your palatte to paint the picture or story or emotion you are wanting to convey. A five note grouping may conjure an image in your mind that starts to find its way to the surface of your playing anytime something triggers the inspiration in the music. It could be a response to something else rhythmic that is happening, or it could be a way to manipulate the sensation of the pulse, or it could be an “inside joke” that you have through comraderie with your fellow musicians.

Or you could master this concept and never play it. Just understanding how time can be manipulated is sometimes enough to solidify your groove, or at least understand what others are doing. Having a deep relationship and knowledge of what is possible, and actually bringing it to the forefront of your playing DO NOT have to go hand in hand. Make your own decisions as to your own inner truth of what is important to state musically.

Here are some 5 note grouping exercises:

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Teaching

The following are most of the main teaching situations that I have been involved in:

Drum Clinics at various music stores, schools, and churches, 1995-present

Technology/Electronic Music Workshop @ Tarrant County College, 2014, 2015

Ultimate Guitarist Summer Camp @ University of Green Bay, WI. Drumset & Band Leader. 2011-present

Day Jams Site director, 2011-2012

Ravinia Reach, Teach, Play program Chicago, Il, 2007-present

Rhythm Section Master Classes Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX, fall 2003

Rhythm Section Master Classes Ft.Worth Jazz Festival, summer 2003

National Guitar Workshop (featuring Robben Ford), Chicago, IL, drumset, summer 2003

Day Jams Chicago, IL (Rock & Roll summer camp), drumset, summer 2003 – 2011

Texas All Star Jazz Camp, Collin County Community College, Plano, TX (big band camp), percussion, 2002-2005

Kevin Connelly’s Drum Studio (private lessons), drumset & percussion, spring 2002-2007

Village Music, Deerfield, IL, (sub for Barret Harvey), private drumset lessons, Fall 2001

Jim Widner Band Camp, Drury College, Springfield, MO (big band jazz), percussion, 1997-2001

Jim Widner Band Camp, University of  Southern Alabama, Mobile, AL (small group jazz), drumset, 1999

Jim Widner Band Camp, Texas Christian University, Ft.Worth, TX (big band jazz), percussion, 1999

Martin High School, Arlington, TX (private lessons), concert percussion/drumset, fall 1998- spring 2001

Lamar High School, Arlington, TX (private lessons), concert percussion/drumset, 1998

Member of National Federation of State High School Associations, 1998-2001

Judge for UIL Solo & Ensemble contest, Joshua, TX, 1996

Author of Directions in Drumming (four-way independence text), 1995

Rhythm Section Clinics at colleges & high schools, 1994-present

Castleberry High School, River Oaks, TX, drumset/percussion, 1993-1994

Ft.Worth Independent School District Summer Fine Arts Program, 1993

Principia Upper School, St.Louis, MO, drumset/percussion, 1990-1991

 

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Bands

The following is a list of most of the bands that I have either recorded or performed with:

Anne Harris  Chicago, (world chick pop), Drumset, fall 2005-2011 (recorded cd’s Gravity & Faith, and Live at the Acorn Theatre)

Auraphone, Chicago, (11 piece big band), drumset, 2007-present

Banda Eclectika (Mexican Pop), drumset, 2011

Bertha Coolidge Ft.Worth (original acid jazz), Drumset/percussion, 2000-present (recorded Live at Caravan of Dreams, Live at Johnny Reno’s)

Bill Ham Trio Ft.Worth(guitar driven fusion), Drumset, 1996

BKO (Chicago Jobbing Band), 2010-present

Black Dog Jazz Band Ft.Worth (house band for jazz jam sessions), Drumset,  Fall 1998-Summer 2000

Brad Thompson & Rich Stitzel Duo, Fort Worth (funky improv pop), Drumset/percussion, 1998-2001

Brasco CD Release Ft.Worth (mood rock), Drumset, Summer 1998

Casa De Luz (Latin Worship service of Willow Creek), Chicago, drumset, percussion, 2008-present

Cathy Richardson, Chicago, (Power Chick Rock), drumset, June 2004-2009

CBS Jazz Trio Ft.Worth (Joey Carter, Aden Bubeck, Rich Stitzel), Drumset, 2000-present

Chris Irvin, Dallas(Old School Country), Drumset/percussion, 2000

Christian Howes Group (modern jazz), drumset, midwest tour, March 2005

Christian Howes w/Bertha Coolidge St.Louis(electric violin jazz), midwest clinic & concert tour, 2001

Citizen Lane, Denton, TX (horn funk band), Drumset, 1998-2000

Cornelius Bumpus & Christian Howes, as artists in residence at Principia Upper School, St.Louis, MO, drumset, May 2003

Crawl, Chicago, (groove fusion), drumset, 2007-present (recorded “Crawl”)

Dahebegebees, Austin, TX(Latin rock), percussion, 1992-1994 (recorded)

Dennis Keith Band, Chicago(corporate jobbing band), drumset/percussion, 2002

Don Stiernberg Jazz Group, Chicago (madolin driven acoustic jazz), drumset, Spring 2002

Elizabeth Wills,Ft.Worth (Singer /Songwriter Folk Pop), Drumset, 2000

e band, Chicago, (chick singer songwriter), Drumset/Percussion, 2008-present (recorded “No Lonely in Alone”)

E-Mics, Chicago (musician pop), drumset sub for Dan Leali, May 2002

Erin Miller Band, Ft.Worth(Avante Pop), Drumset/percussion, 2000 (recorded “Erin Miller; Release)

Ernie Hendrickson, Chicago, (Americana Soul), drumset, 2007-present

Ft.Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (20 piece jazz orchestra), timpani & percussion, 2000-present

Ft.Worth Youth Jazz Band (big band), Drumset, 1993

Gertrude, Chicago (chick rock), drumset, 2002-2003

Gil Evans Fellowship Band IAJE Performance awarding Dale Wilson Los Angeles(big band), percussion, 1995

God & Country (original musical – Chicago), drumset/percussion sub for Bob Garrett, December 2002

Grapes Of Darwin, Ft.Worth (funky pop), Drumset/percussion, 1992 (recorded “Grapes of Darwin”)

Groove Posse II, Dallas (corporate jobbing band), Drumset, 1998

Gutarola Chicago (acoustic instrumental jobbing band), percussion sub for Dan Leali, Spring 2002-present

Hello Dave (Chicago pop), African & European tour, percussion, Winter 2003

Hillbilly Cafe, Ft.Worth(Americana Rockabilly), Drumset, 2000

H.O.R.D.E. Tour Dallas(Starplex Amphitheater), Drumset,  1997

Howard & The Fine Sisters, Dallas (musical comedy troupe), Drumset, 1996-1999

Indigo, Chicago (corporate & wedding band), drumset sub for Kevin Connelley, November 2002

Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chicago  (Royal George Theatre, Chicago Center for the Performing Arts), drumset, Dec.2001-May.2002

Jeff Stitely Orchestra, Chicago (corporate jobbing band), drumset sub for jeff stitely, 2002

Jellyeye Drum Theatre Chicago (action drumming group), Fall 2001-present

Jim Widner Big Band, Missouri (big band jazz), percussion, 1997-present

Laura Colorado (Mexican Pop Star concerts & Live DVD filming), drumset, 2012

Ladies of the Canyon, Chicago (female tribute band), annie lennox, tori amos, heart, 2006

Lost Camels, Ft.Worth (power funk), percussion, 1991-1992

MARS Drummer’s Night Out Clinic/Performance Arlington, TX (Bertha Coolidge), Drumset, Fall 2000

Martin H.S. Percussion Concert Guest Artist, Arlington, TX, Drumset/Percussion, 2000, 2001

Mary Wilson of The Supremes Ft.Worth, TX, percussion, October 2002, December 2002

Michael Lerich Orchestra (Chicago Society Band), drumset, sub for Bob Rummage, 2003

Miranda Lambert, Texas, (Country Superstar), Drumset, Fall 2006

Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies, Chicago(cajun/zydeco), midwest performances, Drumset, Fall 2001-present

107.5 The Oasis Jazz Band Dallas (smooth jazz), Drumset, 1995-1997

Orbium, Chicago (improv house), drumset, percussion, ableton, 2008-present

Outside Influence, Chicago (corporate jobbing band), drumset sub for Dan Leali, 2002

Paul Metzger & Friends (original jazz), drumset, 2015

Pit Musician for over a dozen musicals, Drumset/percussion, 1989-1996

Principia H.S. Spring Jazz Guest Artist, Concert St.Louis, Drumset, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014

The Renegades (high energy fusion), percussion, 2013-present

Rhapsody Orchestra (Chicago Jobbing Band), Drumset, Winter 2005

Rick Stitzel Jazz Quintet Ft.Worth (small group jazz), Drumset, 1993-present

Rob Curtis Band (Chicago Jobbing Band), drumset, June 2004

Roberta Piket Trio Ft,Worth (New York jazz pianist), Drumset, Fall 1999

Rob Parton Orchestra (Chicago Jobbing Band), drumset, 2003

Rob Schulz Band (surf pop), drumset, 2007-present

Silence Obscure Ft.Worth (techno-pop), Drumset, 1988-1989

Sophisticats (Chicago jobbing band), drumset, Summer 2004

Stephenville Jazz Festival (Guest Artist & Clinician w/Bertha Coolidge), drumset, March 2003

Sticky LuPree (chicago soul funk), drumset March 2003-present

Sumo (improve house), drumset, 2010-present

Tarrant County College Faculty Recitals (small group jazz), Drumset, 1992-1997

Texas All-Sar Big Band , Dallas, TX, percussion, 2001-present

Tin Man Dallas (adult contemporary), west coast tour & elsewhere, percussion, 1993-1994

Tom Van Kanagan Orchestra (corporate jobbing band), drumset sub for Tom Radtke, 2002-2003

Tributasaurus (Fleetwood Mac), drumset (w/Dan Leali), May 2004

Tropix Ft.Worth (jazz fusion), percussion, 1992-1996

The Undulating Band (Texas roots pop), national touring act, Drumset/percussion, 1994-present

The Unknown New, percussion, 2014-present

Will Gillham Band/Dean’s Madness Ft.Worth(art rock), Drumset, 1997-1999

Wood Burning Ninja Ft.Worth(original Americana jazz), Drumset, 1997

Yon Ft.Worth (new wave techno), electronic Drumset, 1986-1987

 

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Musicians

Though its difficult to remember everyone, the following are many of the musicians I has performed or recorded with (if you notice yourself missing, please let me know).  (l=live, r=recording)

Accordion:

Frank Caruso (l), Jo Ann Doherty (l), Red Hot Mojo (l,r)

Bass:

Rob Amster (l), George Anderson (l,r), Mike Arnapol (l), Eric Bailey (l), Kris Berg (l), Mark Berls (l), Mike Bodycomb (l), Bob Bowman (l), Gary Bristol (r), Ford Brittain (l,r), Anthony Brock (l), Aden Bubeck (l,r), Rod Carey (l), Chris Clemente (l,r). Bob DeBoo (l), Eric Delegard (l,r), James Driscoll (l), Ladell Farell (r),  Tim Fox (l),  Byron Gordon (l), Kip Green (l), Jeff Hanley (l), Steve Haines (l), Dave Hiltebrand (l), Wally Hustin (l), Marc Johnson (l), Dennis Johnson (l), Lou Karfa (l), Tom Kennedy (l), Fran Kondorf (l,r), Todd Lazar (l,r),  Bob Lizik (r), Geoff Lowe (l,r), Dan Loomis (l,r), Paul Muaer (l), Paul Mutzabaugh (l,r), Jon Penner (l), Drew Phelps (l,), Jeff Plant (l,r), Chuck Rainey (r), Tim Rice (l), Brian Sandstrom (l), Kurt Schweitz (l), Tim Seisser (l,r), Terrence Slemmons (l,r), Todd Smallie (l), Chuck Smith (l), Shawn Sommer (l), Danny Stone (l), Harlan Terson (l), Matt Thompson (l,r), Josh Thurston-Milgrom (l), Matt Ulery (l), Paul Unger (l), Al Wetzel (l), Jim Widner (l,r), Rus Wimbish (l), Brian Worthen (l),  Eric Zukoski (l),

Drumset:

Peter Aan (l), Frank Alongi (l), Matt Betton Jr. (l), Ed Breckenfeld (l), Keith Carlock (l,r), Matt Chamberlain (r), Kevin Connelley (l), Donzell Davis (l), Mike Drake (l,r), Seth Goldberg (l), Johnathon Fisher (l), Mihael Hale (l), Danny Handler (l),  Gary Hobbs (l,r), Ari Hoenig (l), Jerry Howeth (l,r), Michael Jerome (l), Nick Kitsos (l), Jason LaMarca (l), Dan Leali (l),  Tom Leddy (l), Shawn McDaniel (r), Kris Myers (l), Shannon O’Brien (l), Khari Parker (r), Billy Ramsey (l), Rich Redmond (l), Brian Resindez (l), Eddie Reyes (l), Bill Shupp (l), Blair Sinta (l), Jeff Sipe (l), Pete Sweeney (l), Jim White (l), David Ybanez (l,r)

Guitar;

Kevin Afflack (l), Neil Alger (l), Scott Anderson (l,r), Darryl Boggs (l,r), Thad Bonduris (l), Rob Brown (l,r), Tom Burchill (l,r), Don Cento (l,r),Wes Chihoz (l,r), Joe Cropin (l),  Tom Dempsy (l), Ernie Denov (l), Buddy Fambro (l,r), Kevin Grove (l,r), Mike Hall (l,r)), Ted Hall (l), Bill Ham (l,r), Brain Harmon (l,r), Ernie Hendrickson (l,r), Peter Hennes (l), Joel Hoekstra (l,r), Dane Johnson (l,r), Dylan Jones (l,r), Doug Kershaw (l), Rohn Lawrence (l), Tzvi Lichenstein (l), Mark Matejka (l,r), Dennis McCumber (l), Mike McGowan (l), Ed McMahon (l), Paul Metzger (l,r), Tim Miller (l,r), Cameron Morgan (l), Curt Morrison (l), Peter Muschong (l), Mike Pinto (l,r), Kim Platko (l,r), Bill Pohl (l), Luke Polipnik (l), Frank Portolese (l), Tony Rey (l), Matt Ross (l), John Sample (l), Giampero Scuderi (l), Jim Shannon (l), Rob Shulz (l,r), Chris Siebold (l,r), Tim Stopulous (l,r), Michael Tahlier (l,r), Jim Tashjian (l,r), Brad Thompson (l,r), Andy Timmons (l,r), Scott Tipping (l,r), Derek Trucks (l), Tom Vitacco (l,r), Sam Walker (l), Alex Weeden (l),  Pete Weise (l), Keith Wingate (l), Scotty Wray (l), Jeff Young (r), Zoey Szmulewitz (l,r)

Mandolin:

Kevin Grove (l,r), Anne Harris (l,r), Don Stiernberg (l)

Percussion:

Norm Bergeron (l,r), Doug Brush (l), Dennis Calito (l,r), Mike Duffy (l), Eddie Dunlap (l), Bob Garrett (l,r), Andy Jones (r), Travis Knepper (l), Rhani Krija (l), Kalyan Pathak (l), Patch Paz (l), Thom Sharpe (l), Charlie Short (l), Deep Singh (r), Joe Sonnefeldt (l), Vance VanDonselar (l),

Piano:

Jordan Baskins (l), Matt Betton Jr. (r), Joey Carter (l,r), Rob Clearfield (l), Carolyn Day (l), Pete Drungle (l,r), Kent Ellingson (l,r), Clark Erickson (l,r), Bobby Floyd (l), Mark Gheen (l,r), Dave Gordon (l), Chris Kline (l), Kevin Kozol (l), Ben Lewis (l,r), Bob Long (l), Frank Mantooth (l,r), Stu Mindeman (l), Paul Mutzabaugh (l,r), Donald Neal (l),  Matt Nelson (l,r), Kevin O’Connell (l), Tony Orant (l), Roberta Piket (l), Richard Powell (l), Mike Pulgarin (l,r), Evan Rea (l,r), Jerry Rosen (l), Kevin Smith (l), Erin Stitzel (l,r), Tim Stopulous (l,r), David Taylor II (r), Vijay Tellis-Nayak (l), Reggie Thomas (l,r), Lee Tomboulian (l,r), James Vernon (l), Kent Wehman (l), Brad Williams (l),

Saxophone:

Jeff Antoniak (l), Steve Baughman (l), Matt Betton Sr. (l), Tommy Bradford (l), Cornelius Bumpus (l,r), Wes Chihoz (l,r), Mark Colby (l), Mario Cruz (l), Rick DiMuzio (l,r), Jim Gallareto (l), Brian Gephart (l),  Randy Hamm (r), Tim Ishii (l,r), Glenn Kostur (l,r), Randy Lee (r), Michael Levin (l,r), Tim McNamara (l), Kevin McNerney (l,r), Rene Ozuna (l), Kim Park (l,r), Michael Pellecchia (l), Bill Perkins (l,r), Ed Peterson (l,r),  Dave Pietro (l,r), Kim Richmond (l,r), Jim Riggs (l), Jon Stone (l,r), Bill Trujillo (l), Tom VanKanagan (l),  Dave Williams (l)

Trombone:

Keith Adkins (l,r), Ron Anson (l,r), Andy Baker (l,r), Michael Burgess (l,r), Dave Butler (l,r), Jack Cobb (l,r), Jeff Livorsi (l,r), Paul McKee (l,r), Doug Perviance (l,r), A.G. Robeson (l,r), Brett Stamps (l,r), Nathan Sutton (l), Eric Swanson (l,r)

Trumpet:

Andrew Ecklund (l,r), Dan Evans (l,r), John Harner (l,r), Scott Harrell (l,r), Clay Jenkins (l,r), Keith Jourdan (l,r), Tijuana Julian (l,r), Matt Lewis (l), Rob Parton (l), Cara Pollard (l), Dave Scott (l,r), Larry Spencer (l,r), Rick Stitzel (l,r), Mike Vax (l,r), David Von Blohn (l,r)

Singers:

Kevin Aldridge (l), El Boogie (l,r), Darryl Boggs (l,r), Wes Chihoz (l,r), Brett Childe (l,r), Laura Colorado (l,r), Jeff Dewbray (l), Dennis DeYoung (l), Gary Eckert (l), Rosana Eckert (l,r), Lane Eubank (l,r), Cheryl Fonfara (l), Cary Floyd (l,r), Will Gillham (l,r), Ingrid Graudins (l), Michele Hallman (l), Anne Harris (l), Mike Himebaugh (l), Tommy Chris Irvin (l,r), Norah Jones (l), Becca Kaufman (l,r), Richard Kincaid (l,r), Miranda Lambert (l), Matt Lewis (l), Dupee LuPree (l,r), Holly McGuire (l) Kevin Mahogany (l), Wendy Morgan (l), Red Hot Mojo (l), Wendy Morgan (l), Kristy Parton (l), Cathy Richardson (l), Bobby Romero (l), Tiffany Shea (r), Robin Simone (l), Matt Spiegal (l), Shana Spiegel (l), Erin Miller (l,r), Rob Shulz (l,r), Tommy Sullivan (l), Lonnie Summer (l), Brad Thompson (l,r), Brent Van Sickle (l), Justin Smith (l,r), Angie Wendt (l,r), Elizabeth Wills (l,r), Mary Wilson (l), Melissa Ziemer (l,r)

Vibes:

Doug Brush (l), Joey Carter (l,r), Aaron Crouch (l), Jay Garrett (l),

Violin:

Katherine Andrick (l), Steve Gibons (l), Rich Halajan (l), Anne Harris (l,r), Christian Howes (l,r), Doug Kershaw (l),  John Ling (l), Reggie Rueffer (l), Matt Stedman (l), Lenny Wallace (l), Zara Zaharieva (l)

 

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Rich’s Bio

Rich Stitzel is a third generation professional musician and educator. His father, Rick Stitzel, plays trumpet, is a big band composer, and director of jazz studies at a college in Fort Worth, Texas. His mother, Martha Stitzel, plays 8 woodwind doubles, and is head of instrumental music at a boarding school in St.Louis, MO. His uncle, Matt Betton Jr., has recorded drums on many historic albums with artists including George Strait, Jimmy Buffett, and T-Bone Burnett. His grandfather, Matt Betton, was the founder & executive director of NAJE, The National Association of Jazz Educators, as well as executive director emeritus for IAJE, (international association).

Rich was trained in drums & percussion at the prestigious University of North Texas from 1990 to 1995 where he studied with Ed Soph, Mike Drake, and Rich MacDonald. While in Texas Rich found himself in live and studio situations with many world class artists including Andy Timmons (Danger Danger, Olivia Newton John), Keith Carlock (Sting, Steely Dan), Aden Bubeck (Miranda Lambert), Bill Ham (Cher), Lou Carfa (Maynard Furgeson), and many, many others.

Rich has given master classes, clinics, and taught music camps all over the country.  He is the author of a four-way independence book “Directions In Drumming”, and has put out two solo cd’s of original compositions. Rich is also a teaching artist for Ravinia’s “Reach, Teach, and Play” outreach program where he visits the Chicago Public Elementary Schools and teaches jazz & classical music to K-3 grade. Rich is currently working on a new book entitled “Drummantra: The Art & Science of Polymetric Relationships”

Rich has always kept a very busy performing, recording, and touring career since 1992. He has toured throughout the United States, as well as internationally including Mexico, Canada, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Sinai.  He has worked with many artists in all genres including legendary soulstress Mary Wilson of the Supremes 2002, the Grammy nominated rocker Cathy Richardson (Jefferson Starship) 2004-2009, guitar genius Joel Hoekstra (Night Ranger, White Snake) 2004-2009, Platinum selling & Grammy winning country superstar Miranda Lambert 2007, jazz violin whiz Christian Howes (Les Paul Trio, Bill Evans) 2001-present, superstar saxman Cornelius Bumpus (Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers) 2001, world music songstress/blues diva Anne Harris (Otis Taylor, Jefferson Starship) 2004-2010, transcendent folk/country artist Ernie Hendrickson (2008 – present), as well as a plethora of equally amazing artists from all over the country, and countless world class musicians for recording & live work.

Rich’s creativity, energy, knowledge, and professionalism allows him to maintain an extremely vibrant and diverse career in the music industry. He is endorsed by Evans drumheads, Vic Firth sticks and innovative cajon company, The Box Kit.

 

The following is a list of Rich’s educational experiences:

University of North Texas (Denton, TX), 2 O’clock Lab, Jazz Singers, Zebras, African Ensemble, 1993-1995

Tarrant County College (Ft.Worth, TX), Faculty Jazz Ensemble, Musicals, Night Band, Associates Degree 1999

Principia College (Elsah, IL), 1991

Principia Upper School (St.Louis, MO), Regional & State Honors Jazz & Concert bands, Graduated 1990

Western Hills H.S. (Ft.Worth, TX), City & Regional Honors Jazz & Concert Bands 1986-1988

Monnig Middle School (Ft.Worth, TX), Honors Bands 1983-1986

Robert E. Lee Elementary (Denton, TX), 1975-1982

Studied with: 

Ed Soph (1994-1995), Mike Drake (1993-1994), Rich McDonald (1989-1991), Kevin  Gianino (1989-1990), Craig Williams (1989), Preston Thomas (1986-1987), Randy Drake (1985), Rick Rogers (1984-1987), Joel Fulgham (1978)

Single lessons:

Michael Spiro (Feb. 2003, march 2011) Freddie Gruber (Jan. 2001), Gary Hobbs (June 1997), Chalo Eduardo (Spring 1995), Dave Mancini (Spring 1992), Gary Chaffee(Summer 1991)

 

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