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In this video lesson, I want to talk about my favorite Latin drum beat which is called the Songo. And this is a beat that was actually designed for the drum set. Now, what I mean by that, it wasn’t adapted from percussion instruments from the 1940s, 1950s and so on. It was actually created for this instrument. I'm going to break this down for you nice and slow. You can see how this one works.
Exercise number one. If you look at this one on the sheet music, you’ll notice that the ride symbol, you can play the bell if you want, you can play the surface, it’s your call, is played on the half note which is one and three, so you’re just playing one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. So that’s simple, that’s the simple part.
The left hand which will play on the snare drum for this example is on beat two on the end of three, on the end of four in the first bar. The second bar, we have two snare drums on the end of one and on beat two. Then we have another snare drum on the end of three, and finally the last one is on the end of four. So we want to practice this before we add any feet pattern. Watch this.
Exercise number two is exactly the same as exercise number one. We’re going to play half notes on the ride symbol, the various snare notes. Now, we’re going to play the bass drum on the end of two and on beat four in both bars. This pattern is also known as a Tumbao pattern, which is very familiar if you’re playing Latin music with the bass player. So watch how this one sounds. This is a great groove.
Exercise number three is the Songo complete around the full drum set—snare drum, three toms, and the bass drum. The first bar is exactly the same as exercise number two. Your left hand is going to remain on the snare drum. Bar number two if you look at the exercise, the small tom is being played on the end two, the mid-tom gets the end of three and the floor tom is being played on the end of four. The nice thing about this beat is it’s linear. What linear means, there’s not two sounds or no two limbs are being played at the exact same time, so you can really break this beat up nice and slow and it’s going to come together for your in no time. This one is fun. Watch this.
Well, this concludes the section on the Songo beat. A lot of fun to play, I would suggest practicing it slow, fast, incorporating some fills and some solos, and then find some great play-alongs out there you can play some Songo grooves to. Have fun.