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Old 10-26-2015, 02:48 PM
rrayner rrayner is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 722
Default Flam Workaround

We had a discussion a year or so ago about using grace notes as flams in percussion notation. Wikipedia has an entry which defines a flam as, "Two taps (a grace note followed by a full volume tap) played very close together in order to sound like one slightly longer note." Using grace notes works fine, except in triplets.

In my current piece, I wanted to use a descending tom-tom pattern as a fill figure between horn statements.

In the attached "Flams" file, measure 1 is the 5-note rhythmic pattern I wanted to start with. Measure 2 shows my attempt at adding grace notes to each of the 5 notes. I can add flams (grace notes) to the odd-numbered notes, 1, 3 and 5, but not to notes 2 and 4.

In measures 4 and 5, I tried the same pattern with eighth-note triplets. The same restriction exists -- I cannot put flams on notes 2 and 4.

In measure 7, I copied measure 1 for reference. In measure 8, I copied measure 1 and converted each of the 5 notes to eighth-note triplet value and converted the quarter rest to 2 eighth rests to create space for the insertion of simulated flams.

In measure 9, I inserted 64th-note triplets in front of each of the 5 tom-tom notes, and filled in the series for the first tom-tom note (shown). I repeated this fill-in pattern for each of the other 4 tom-tom notes (not shown). I haven't figured out a way to avoid having to enter all 8 of the 64th-note triplets (Mark actually used a 128th-note triplet on the grace notes that work -- I can't see how to make a 128th-note triplet, but the 64th works fine).

Then I deleted the first 7 of each of the 64th-note triplets for each tom-tom note, leaving just one 64th-note triplet for each note, i. e., the flams. Measure 12 shows the end result.

I have included measure 11 with nothing but 4 bass drum quarter notes to provide context for listening to the end result by playing measures 11 to 13. Measure 13 is added simply to provide an end to the rhythmic figure.

As a final adjustment, I extended the duration of each of the 5 tom-tom notes to be 309 ticks, just like the original quarter-note triplet pattern.

I will use the end result in my current piece in the Drums Work part, but not the Drums part that a live drummer would see. This measure will simply say "fill", and the drummer can create any rhythmic figure of choice. If anyone has an idea of how better to accomplish this end, I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say.

Ralph Rayner
Attached Files
File Type: not Flams.not (15.3 KB, 6 views)
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