SIX-EIGHT RHYTHMS: An Introduction
In my teaching practice I find that six-eight rhythms
are some of the hardest ones to grasp mainly due to a poor understanding
of the breakdown and pulse. Six-eight rhythms are prevalent in many cultures, below you will find a wide ranging list of examples. These recordings are currently
available on cd and they would complement any musicians library nicely,
so make an effort to find them and study them.
Recordings: [track] [artist] [title] [label] [style]
▪ Baba Jinde - Olatunji Drums Of Passion (Columbia CK 8210) West African
▪ Ye Ye - Mongo Santamaria Afro-Roots (Prestige
▪ Terra - Paulinho Da Costa Agora (Pablo OJCCD-630-2) Afro-Brazilian
▪ Tio Goyo - Wilfredo Franco Peru
Musica Negra (ASPIC X55515) Afro-Peruvian
▪ El Aparecido - Inti Illimani La
Nueva Cancion Chilena (Monitor MCD 71794) Chilean
▪ La Flor Azul - Mercedes Sosa Live
in Argentina (Tropical Music 680.916) Argentinian
▪ La Cigarra - Linda Ronstadt Canciones
De Mi Padre (Asylum 960 765-2) Mexican
▪ Ghozali - Charef Zerouki My
Gazelle (GlobeStyle CDORB 047) Algerian
▪ Mac's Fancy - De Danann Mist Covered
Mountain (Gael-Linn CEFCD 087) Irish
▪ Water Girl - Zakir Hussain Making
Music (ECM 1349 831 544-2) Indian
▪ Pancho's Seis Por Ocho - Eddie Palmieri/Cal
Tjader Bamboleate (Charly194) Latin Jazz
▪ Incident At Neshabur - Santana Abraxas (MFSL UDCD 552) Latin Rock
▪ That's Alright - John Lee Hooker The
Healer (Chameleon D2-74808) Rhythm & Blues
▪ Waraya - Salif Keita Amen (Mango
CIDM 1073 848 793-2) Contemporary North African
▪ Lusambo - Alex Pertout Alex Pertout (Larrikin
LRJ-273) Contemporary Latin-Jazz
▪ The Juggler - Weather Report Heavy
Weather (CBS CD81775) Contemporary Jazz
▪ Proof - Paul Simon The Rhythm Of
The Saints (Warner Bros 7599-26098-2) Pop World
What they all have in common is that the pulse
is felt in exactly the same way. If you count in 6/8 the 'pulse'
(or your foot) will be on beats 1 and 4. Practice the following exercise
a) Clapping all the notes while tapping your foot on beats 1
b) Tapping 'hand to hand style' (R L R L R L) while
tapping your foot on beats 1 and 4. It is important to count throughout.
If you think in 4/4 you can transfer the above
example to eighth note triplets, counting 1+a 2+a 3+a
4+a. This will give you two bars of 6/8 in one bar of 4/4. This time the 'pulse' (or your foot) will be on beats 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Now try this popular Afro Cuban 6/8 cowbell pattern
by clapping the rhythm while tapping your foot on beats 1 and 4.
In order to fully understand 6/8 rhythms, practice
counting, clapping and tapping until mastered.
© Alex Pertout. All rights reserved. No part of this article
may be reproduced without prior written permission from the author. This article was first published in Drumscene magazine.