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Les différents styles de musique à la batterie, redison.coml

The Different Music Genres on Drums 🥁

When we talk about different styles of drum music, we can refer to many aspects.
Each musical genre on drums has its own rhythmic composition that provides the guideline for the whole. Jazz, blues and rock all have nuances, etymology, techniques and sounds that are associated with the drumming that accompanies them.

Latin music makes an intense use of Ostinato rhythms on the bass drum, jazz drummers often use complex ride cymbal rhythms, while metal drummers often focus on the double bass drum.

In this article, we will introduce you to the different genres of drumming, and explain what distinguishes each style from another. In the world of drumming, there are also styles of playing. For example, one player may play rock music differently than another player. This may be due to each player’s personal style and sense of groove.

We will also discuss the etymology of these different musical genres to explain their characteristics and nuances. Here we go!

Rock 🤘drumming 🥁

Rock is a very broad musical genre. It includes all styles from the 1950s to today and beyond.
Rock is characterized by electric guitars, straight eighth and sixteenth note grooves with strong off-beats played on the snare drum on beats 2 and 4, and simple melodic and harmonic rhythms.

Rock music has a sense of rebellion and non-conformity, which is why it initially attracted a younger audience. Rock drums are extremely simple: strong, intense grooves with powerful drum strokes that reflect the specificity of the genre.

Some of the most famous rock drummers of all time include John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Ginger Baker (Cream), Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and Stewart Copeland (The Police), among others.

Rock was born out of blues, gospel and country music. Legends like Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry drew from these genres to create a new sound.

Over time, rock has resulted in sub-genres such as surf, garage rock, blues rock and progressive rock, to name a few. Regardless of the subgenre, the characteristics of instrumentation, song structure, melody, harmony and rhythm can be related to the parent genre that started it all: rock n’ roll.

Playing Rock on drums

What really sets rock music apart from all other music is the presence of a counter beat. The backbeat became popular in the 1950s and 1960s and took off in its own way to give rise to many different types of music.

A backbeat is typically a snare drum hit that is placed on beats 2 and 4 of the bar, in a standard 4/4 bar. The effect of a backbeat on the sound of a song is undeniable.

Before backbeats were widely used, jazz drummers often accentuated beats 2 and 4 of the measure. This is the case, for example, in a classic swing rhythm. To accentuate these beats, they would push the hi-hat pedal and play the ride cymbal a little louder. This extra volume on those two beats really builds up the momentum of the “swing”.

This style was adopted in the early days of rock’n’roll. The hi-hat and ride combination was replaced by a louder snare hit. Likewise, the swing eventually gave way to a more direct sounding eight note rhythm. The result is the classic rock beat you hear today.

Here’s an example of a typical rock beat with ZZ Top’s hit song “Gimme All Your Lovin”:

While rock music tends to involve powerful drumming, the format of rock songs can differ greatly. You can have pure rock, funk rock, pop rock, blues rock, and many other genres. Some rock songs are based on blues and jazz forms, which we’ll talk about later.

Rock drums have also changed in style when it comes to the sound of the drums themselves. A typical rock drum kit features powerful drums and equally powerful cymbals. To achieve this sound, you simply purchase a large drum kit and set the skins to produce a deeper sound.

Playing pop on drums

When it comes to pop, the same rules apply. Many rock songs have become popular and have become “pop” songs, so it is not relevant to differentiate between the two styles.

One thing that can be said about pop music today is that it tends to be more radio friendly, so in other words, maybe tone down the drums a bit for pop music. It may involve testing smaller drum sizes and making more musical chords. That said, a rock song to some will be a pop song to others.

Simple song structures, easy-to-sing melodies, eighth- and sixteenth-note drum grooves, and simple but well-crafted lyrics are the essence of pop music. A typical pop song usually follows an intro-verse, chorus and ending structure, sometimes with subtle variations. Normally, the verse and chorus sections alternate and are repeated two or three times.

While playing pop on the drums is fairly simple, there are subtle aspects to keep in mind. Precision and accuracy are a must. Pop drummers must be exceptionally attentive to the metronome.

Pop music literally means “popular music”. Many of the same rules that apply to rock music also apply to pop. However, the subtle differences that do exist concern the variations in sound. A pop drum sound can also tend to be heavily produced, which is achieved through the use of triggers and samples.

Blues 🎼 drumming 🥁

In some ways, the blues is closely related to rock and quite close to jazz as well. Blues drumming is generally broken down into three categories of rhythms: straight eight blues, shuffle blues, or 12/8 blues. There are other variations, but we will focus on these three, as they constitute the majority of cases.

Straight eight blues is close to the rock rhythm. “Straight eight” really refers to the way the beat is played. The hi-hat in this example are played straight, which means that the tempo between the eight consecutive notes is equal. You can combine the placement of the snare and bass drum to create new arrangements, but the main time signature here is played in the classic way.

Contrary to the straight eight blues, the shuffle blues means that the rhythm is not flat. Here, the eight notes are played with more than one bounce and are not evenly distributed.

This approach is very common and can be heard in a lot of jazz, rock, pop, etc.

Here is a video that shows a “Texas” Blues Shuffle: one of the most difficult rhythms to play on drums. If you are looking to get into blues drumming, this rhythm is a must.

It’s worth mentioning that the “shuffle” or “swing” rhythm is not just a feature of the blues. You will hear it in many, many musical styles.

Jazz 🎷 drumming 🥁

The blues is often considered the most important influence and preamble to jazz. It served as the foundation on which jazz built its style.

Jazz drumming started in Dixieland or “Early Jazz” in the 1910s, and evolved into jazz fusion in the 1970s and Latin jazz in the 1980s.

Jazz was really born in New Orleans, in the Caribbean and in Africa. The influence of the music from this period can be clearly identified, even though jazz has continued to evolve, and today it includes major characteristics of the different musical styles from this period. Jazz drumming requires an easily adaptable method of percussion playing 🪘 very different from traditional European styles.

The most important aspect of jazz music is the “swing”, which is mainly felt through the subdivision into triplets. As early as the end of the 19th century, jazz musicians were swinging to compositions. Jazz was the pop music of its time. One of the most famous examples of drum swing, essential to the jazz rhythm, can be found on the soundtrack of the legendary movie The Pink Panther.

Listen to it here…

The entire drum kit is used around the 45 second mark of the video. You can hear a swing played on the ride cymbal. Also, the drummer plays the hi-hat on beats 2 and 4, for an extra “swing” feel.

Swing beats in jazz can be played on any drum or cymbal. Very often the hi-hat is chosen to keep the beat. Very often the hi-hat is chosen to keep the beat.

Jazz is by no means restricted to swing. In fact, jazz is perhaps the most universal music there is, as jazz musicians are constantly welcoming new styles and sounds into their art.
You’ll find plenty of straight eight jazz tunes, as well as shuffles and just about every other rhythm you can think of.

Jazz drumming has continued to evolve throughout the 20th century. However, no one style has completely overwhelmed the others, and it has drawn on many cross-over influences from different genres.
Initially, traditional jazz drummers were primarily inspired by military rhythms. Over time, new techniques emerged and with them a better musicality.

Jazz has gradually developed many sub-genres such as bebop, free jazz, Latin jazz and modern jazz. While all of these genres are inspired by the traditional aspects of jazz, they also have their own characteristics.

Among the most influential jazz drummers are Max Roach, Kenny Clarke, Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Cobb, Warren Baby Dodds, Papa Jo Jones, Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones. Although most of these drummers have died, their influence on the jazz world continues to inspire not only young up-and-coming musicians, but living legends as well.

Reggae & Ska drumming 🥁

Played with the right amount of sensitivity, precision and focus, reggae grooves are really fun to listen to. Reggae grooves are made up of a lot of details and variations that make them difficult to play.

Like other genres, reggae can also be decomposed into several sub-genres, giving it a rich variety of rhythms to explore. The most common reggae rhythms are ska/rocksteady, one drop, rockers and steppers.

Reggae drumming is precise and direct. The drummer’s job is to maintain a tight, steady groove that must be supported by the bass player. Together they lay the foundation for the remaining rhythm section, guitar and keyboard.

Ska is a form of reggae music that originated in Jamaica in the 1950s. It can be considered a mixture of American Rhythm and Blues and Caribbean styles such as calypso and mento. There are two different types of ska: Jamaican ska and British two-tone ska.

A classic ska groove is characterized by accents on the upbeats, rests on the first beat of the bar, and the snare and bass playing in unity on beats 2 and 4. Famous reggae drummers include Sly Dunbar, Santa Davis, Nelson Miller and Carlton Barrett.

Playing reggae on drums

Reggae can be swung or played in a linear pattern. One of the most common characteristics of reggae is its ability to avoid overplaying the first beat. Accentuation of the first beat is more common in rock and pop songs and less common in jazz and reggae songs.

In practice, this means that you should not play too loudly on this rhythm. The highlights of reggae are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th beats of the bar. Expert reggae drummers create transitions and patterns to emphasize these beats.

Here is an example of 1-drop:

The “1-drop” is a common reggae pattern that uses the jazz emphasis on beats 2 and 4 and the accent on beat 3 with a rim click and bass drum. This rhythm can be played with a swing or a straight feel.

It’s a matter of personal taste and what suits the song best. To go from a straight pattern to a swing, just play sixteenth notes on the hi-hat.

For more variety, you can also play with the position of the bass drum. Try placing the bass drum on beats 1 and 3. Then try it on all eight notes: you’ll see that it gives a very different pulse to the rhythm.

Latin 💃 drumming 🥁

Salsa, samba, bossa nova, rhumba, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian are typical Latin music forms. The biggest difference between a simple drum register like rock/pop and Latin music is the rhythm.

Latin drumming can be quite impressive. Some of this music consists of rhythms and styles we’ve already discussed, such as eight-beat rock grooves. Other Latin music requires familiarity with clave and traditional rhythms.

Playing Latin music on drums can also become a real challenge for someone who is too used to playing rock. This is because most forms of Latin music are centered around the clave. The clave is a characteristic rhythm of Latin music that determines the whole.

The clave is a rhythmic sequence common in Latin music that acts as the guideline for the song. From a drummer’s point of view, the clave represents the road map to play on. It is a sort of guide to the beats that you can accentuate and play with. Claves are often two-bar sequences that can be split and rearranged.

Here is a demonstration of the 3-2 rumba clave applied to the drums:

Notice that the first bar contains 3 rim clicks and the second bar contains only 2. This is where the 3:2 comes from. You can also reverse the bar order to create a 2:3 clave. The clave in this example is a “rumba 3:2” clave. There is also a “son clave” which is a slight variation on this principle.

Latin music is also often played in 6/8. This means that the clave is played, but with a different sound. Listen to how this 6/8 rumba clave sounds compared to the 4/4 rumba clave above:

Also, instead of playing a straight groove on the snare, bass and hi-hat, Latin music is extremely free and moves from one subdivision to another quite fluidly. It also involves the use of percussion instruments such as cymbals, congas (tumbadoras), bongo, cowbells, jam blocks and wood blocks.

Mastering these rhythms is largely a matter of understanding the beats. Soak up the music and you will develop a better understanding of the musical language involved.


As you have discovered through this article, there are many types of music.

Learning to play different styles of music on drums is a great way to improve your skills as a drummer. This varied approach will help you enrich your skills as a musician and push you out of your comfort zone.

So, for your next practice session, play a genre you’re not familiar with. It might make your drum practice from a completely different perspective!

👉 And don’t forget, our pocket drum kit: the senstroke box will be the perfect companion 👌 to learn and practice drums anywhere and anytime

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