Welcome to the world of odd meters. I like to refer this world as the Odd Meter Zone!!!! In this lesson we're going to dissect 11/8. Let's get started!!!!
Okay, let's say we were to write out eleven 8th notes to a measure. Now let's say we group the 8th notes into 4 groups of 2 and one group of 3 like we see in Example 1. You can group them however you like but for this lesson, let's do it this way. Let's say we were to draw an imaginary line to subdivide the bar like I did. You could actually look at the measure as a combination of 6/8 and 5/8. Now try clapping or tapping each 8th note on your lap, accenting the first 8th note of each group.
Example 2 show what we come up with if we group the 8th notes into quarter notes. Because the last three 8th notes don't group evenly, we have to make it a dotted 8th note.
Example 3 show us what we would come up to if we were to break each quarter note in 16th notes. Because of the dotted quarter note at the end, we have to make two equal groups of three 16th notes.
Example 4 is very similar to Example 3 except that the last grouping has been changed into dotted 8th notes instead of one dotted quarter note. In order to really feel those dotted 8th notes properly, you must internalize the sixteenth notes from Example 3.
In fact, that's all you should be doing with these exercises is internalize them by tapping them out on your lap or even on hand drum or conga. Start slow with Example 1 and slowly work through the examples until you can feel the quarter notes and the dotted eighth notes in Example 4. When you feel comfortable with the hand exercises, Example 5 shows a bass line that is based off of the subdivisions you've been working on. Good luck with this and if you have any questions about it, feel free to email me.
Next month we'll look a little deeper into 11/8!
Until next time,