Learn How To Play The Drums Online With 250 Free HD Video Lessons!

HOW TO READ DRUM CHARTS

   

In this lesson we will look at how to read drum charts. There are a few different ways that music is written for contemporary drummers. You occasionally get a chart that is like how a drum solo would be written - every single note is written. This is very similar to how classical music is written. At the other end of the spectrum, sometimes you get given nothing more than a lead sheet from a Real Book. Most drum charts however, fall somewhere in the middle.

Between composers and arrangers there isn't one standard way of writing charts, although most arrangers these days have clued onto the fact that you need to write more than "play a rock beat" at the top of a fairly blank page. This lesson aims to demonstrate most of the most common signs and symbols you will see.

Most drum charts won't have a drum key or legend, but most instructional books will. In either case it's good to familiarize yourself with that arrangers notation for drumkit. It might look like this..

The first thing to do, is to read through the drum chart like a road map, so that you will know what's happening the first time you play the chart. Things to take note of here are:


REPEAT SECTIONS:


To save writing the same passage of music more than, section repeats are used. In the example below you play the 2 bars, then repeat, because the double bar line has 2 dots on the inside.

 

 


 

 

LESSON MENU or MORE LESSONS IN THIS SERIES

Drums & Pedals Setup Tuning Your Toms Drumstick Choice
Jack's Gear Setup How To Control Dynamics Different Stick Sounds
How To Hold Your Sticks How To Control Speeds Sleishman Pro Series Drums
Counting Quarter Notes Classical Technique Vs Drumkit Technique? Crescendo & Decrescendo
Counting 8th Notes Drum Notation & Basic Theory Triplets & Flams Chop Builder
Counting 16th Notes Writing Cheat Sheets Fast Triplet Drum Fills
Counting Triplets Reading Drum Charts