The Sexy 9

(Featured image totally related by the way. It’s a good geometrical representation of 24 points inside of a 4 pointed object, which is totally relevant to sextuplets in a 4 note Western music narrative.)

Coming at you this week is a lick and some different exercises included with the lick. It’s a 9 note phrasing in a 16th note triple feel. The 9 is an especially interesting number for a triplet phrase inside of a measure of 4 beats. It’s probably safe to imagine that most drummers in the Western part of the world will be playing some incarnation of a 4 beat measure anyways.

The 9 note phrasing as opposed to the 6 or 3 note phrasing is so much more hip. Why? In triple time it goes over the bar line or resolves on the upbeat, making some of the accents fall into interesting beat territory. But it totally comes with a word of caution. These types of linear licks are almost always explosive and full on attention grabbers. I could totally see this lick getting you some nasty glares from the rest of the band if not careful. Let’s be honest, most folks could care less if you’re resolving on the upbeat or playing over the bar line. Most bands just want the crash on the 1 anyways. But say you’re feeling frisky and you know where this thing is gonna land, this could leave you feeling like the beat ruler you are.


The first measure is the beginning 9 note pattern. And just for emphasis, the two notes before the 3 strong snare hits are really meant to be played soft. When played up to speed and just soft enough, it really gives this a great sound. And the last 6 notes of each phrase are the first 6 within the 9 phrase to complete the measure and fall back onto the 1 (because in all seriousness, playing it this way will be the preferred method in most musical applications (but don’t play it safe)).

But once that is up to speed, the next 5 phrases are just displaced phrases of the parent lick. There are bunch you can do with this one, but I found those 5 to be pretty interesting. In general, displacing your phrases are a great way to maximize their creativity and sound fresh without having to learn anything new. Though offsetting it by one or more can be surprisingly difficult, more so than you may imagine.

In addition to that, the 6/8 phrase is there just to show how neatly the phrase fits in 6/8. Cool!

The last one is a back beat with the 9 phrase beginning on the 3, therefor making it cross the bar line and eventually resolving at the end of the next measure, causing it to be played a cycle of 4 times. It can be experimented with on all the downbeats and upbeats. The and of 3, the 4, the and of 2, etc. Since this lick shifts from downbeat and upbeat, both places make great starting and stopping points, and the more experimentation with them will yield cooler results! And of course, the placement and sticking of this is totally up to interpretation of the player but I’ve been navigating this by way of: KKRLrrLRL.

Happy grooving!

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