For drummers, the world is literally at your fingertips, as you create a rhythm based on a favorite style of music that can be as exotic as Hindustani or as American as the blues. Drumming has a long history in all cultures of being a voice for communication, and when you've got “the blues,” there may be no better way to say it than with your own drums.
American blues music is seen as the basis for most popular music heard today. As Willie Dixon once said, “The Blues is the roots, everything else is the fruits,” and any fans of hip-hop, jazz, rock or R&B knows, it is this influence that has helped launch the careers of so many musicians… all with a simple, yet driving, emotional rhythm.
The basis of the blues beat is the triplet. Triplets are essentially the cutting of a beat into three parts, and are counted as such. This three-way magic has a way of keeping the rhythm alive, while adding a touch of syncopation at the same time. For the blues, the rhythm holds the key to the more improvisational nature of the music as a whole, bringing alive the nuances in other instruments and vocals. But, in the blues, the drummer isn’t there just to keep time, a true blues drummer can stand alone with his or her rhythm, eliciting a response from the audience that can easily echo what the drummer is feeling within.
Blues drumming is transformative, and with its ability to change within a few measures of the beat, it is a foundation of group drumming events or drum circles. Today, the blues is a rhythm that not only connects cultures together, but, one that allows for the individuality any musician or audience may seek. Whether you prefer the cranking rhythm in punk music, or the thrilling beat of a community drum jam filled with drum circle instruments, those blues you feel are the ultimate expression of what rhythm is about.