The sixteenth note has made quite a name for itself. Speed metal, jazz, hard rock; those are only a few of the genres that incorporate the sixteenth note into their music regularly.
Before we get into accented semiquavers, first you need to take a look at your drums playing.
When you are striking, how high off the drum is your hand?
How even are your notes?
How even are your accents?
Do you use too much or too little power?
Once you analyze your playing while keeping these questions in mind, undoubtedly, you end up with quite a few answers. Some might even shock you.
If you play with greater stick height, keep in mind that your strokes take longer to fall. If your power is distributed unevenly, work on keeping your notes within an equal volume range. The same goes for your accents; you don’t want a pleasant accent to be followed up by a cringe-inducing ear splitter. The key to learning to accent notes is to be able to keep your accents the same, and your regular notes the same, that way listeners can easily distinguish one from the other.
Here are some examples of semiquaver accents, transcribed using Guitar Pro 6.
This first example shows the accent on the first beat. You want the accent to have as much power as possible, while still maintaining pleasantness. You don’t want your friends and family going deaf. Remember that the power is mostly in your wrist and forearm, so don’t drive the stick with your bicep like a wild man, either.
This second example has accents on every other beat. This means that you will be accenting with both your main hand and your off hand. Accenting with both hands will make the piece more difficult, but it will also help you control the power of both hands much more efficiently.
To help yourself remember the pattern of accents so that you can maintain your accent consistency, count your one-two’s (one and two and one and two and…). Each time you say ‘one’ or ‘two,’ you will be accenting the note. Each ‘and’ is a regular note. Counting along is a great way to help muscle memory as well.
The third and final example is a little more difficult. With doubled accents, followed by doubled, regular notes, your power has to really be in check. This exercise is a good tool to gauge exactly how in control of your striking power you truly are.
When accenting the first two notes, be aware of stick height. If you end the second accent with your sticks too high, you will inevitably strike much harder than you intend. This will mash together your accented notes and your regular notes, making them indecipherable from one another.
With your metronome, slowly practice these drum exercises on your pad. Be sure to take note of your form. As I said earlier; stick height is very important when accenting notes.
With accented sixteenth notes in your arsenal, you will have the ability to begin to take on jazz, hard rock, and even fusion.
Keep your form good, and practice hard!
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