“Rhythmic perspectives” is the logical continuation of the previous “Rhythmic illusions”. In his second book, Gavin Harrison provides a method to study all the possibilities of playing any given rhythm. He relies on the same former concepts and offers a set of new ideas to expand our creativity, but he also will guide us to play any given pattern from all points points of view. This will give us total control on what we are playing.
Gavin Harrison himself is very clear in defining what this book is for: imagine you are driving down the road in a cheap, old car at 70 mph. You will be constantly struggling to hold the thing on the road, feeling you’re going too fast in a not very secure way. Now, if you were cruising down the same road at the same speed in say, a new Jaguar, you would probably be relaxed and confident, feeling you’re not really going that fast, because you know the car is capable of much more than that.
This is how we drummers should feel when playing any rhythm. We should be comfortable because we we know much more than that. We should have a lot harder stuff under our belt. Mastering the drums is something that goes far beyond of the speed we may achieve or the number of rudiments we can play. At the end, it will consist in knowing the rhythmic possibilities of what we are playing. “Rhythmic perspectives” is a book that will help us a lot to understand where we are and what we can do at every moment, and will give us a tremendous amount of tools that will make us confident to face any musical situation.
While in “Rhythmic illusions” Gavin Harrison presented the A and B status of a rhythmic illusion (A being our perception knowing where we are and where is the “one”, and B being the listener’s perception fooled in believing the drummer has changed meter or tempo), now he introduces a way of seeing each rhythm from a dimensional perspective. Essentially it is about changing the way we deal with subdivisions. Through the book, Gavin Harrison will teach us four dimensional perspectives, which are four ways of dealing with subdivisions: in triplets, semi-quavers, quintuplets and septuplets.
In the examples, we will play note groupings in different parts of the drumset varying the focus of attention inside the pattern. This will train our brain on the way it perceives a rhythm by placing different amounts of attention (background to foreground) to the elements we are playing. At the end of the day, we will be playing three or four versions of the same rhythm, gaining total command of the different rhythmic illusions we can create on it.
All this may sound too technical or complicated, but Gavin Harrison makes it really affordable, guiding us through a smooth process, step by step. We will find a set of preparatory patterns and exercises at the beginning of every chapter, clear explanations about every subject with practical examples and indications on how to approach each exercise such as what to play first to feel comfortable and then adding each element. The book comes with a CD with almost every exercise played by Harrison and some extras.
Besides these new concepts, Gavin Harrison has added new examples and ideas on rhythmic illusions, displacements, modulations and some swing exercises. At the end of the book we will find a series of master exercises that cover everything and will help us to gain confidence and command of all these concepts.
This post is also available in Versión en Español.