Steve Rooney: Funky Fives

Steve Rooney006Tutor: Steve Rooney

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

They can be awkward to play and sometimes sound mighty strange, but learning to phrase with groups of five is great discipline and can be really rewarding. Here are a few different methods of tackling this odd number…



Example 1

If you never phrased with quintuplets, start with this single stroke example on the snare, keeping a quarter note hi-hat count. I always use the word ‘u-ni-ver-si-ty’ to accurately space the notes to the pulse. When it feels right, try it round the whole kit.


Rooney dots Iss123.mus

Example 2

A quick way to make interesting figures is by using this different sticking, double, double, single. This makes it easy to split between the drums and develop accents, for instance.

Double, Double, Single:

Rooney dots Iss123.musExample 3

I really enjoy messing about with the sticking: single, single, single, double, as it’s simple to ghost the left hand on the snare while smashing out singles with the right.

Single, Single, Single, Double:

Rooney dots Iss123.musExample 4

Adopting a linear approach to split the quintuplets can give you some great off-kilter grooves. Try these two ways of splitting the strokes.

Rooney dots Iss123.mus

Example 5

All of the previous examples can be phrased as groups of five in a sixteenth-note context, rather than quintuplets. The resulting shifting accents give you great poly-rhythmic possibilities. Here’s the sticking from 3 for example.

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Example 6

Okay, here’s a linear snare-kick figure using a single, single, single, double sticking, again as a five-group of sixteenth notes polyrhythm. Playing a quarter note on the hats with the other hand shows the accents shifting across the bars.

Rooney dots Iss123.mus

To see me work through these examples and expand on them further, check out my website


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Posted in Beginner, Difficulty, Tuition

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