When learning to play the drums it’s important to understand different drum note lengths and what those notes are called. Every country has it’s own name for different note lengths but in English speaking countries there are two main systems used – the US system and the UK system. The US system is rapidly evolving as the international standard for note naming on the drum kit, however it’s very useful to know both.
- US terminology refers to Quarter Notes, Eighth Notes, Sixteenth Notes etc.
- In the UK note lengths are still commonly referred to as Crotchets, Quavers, Semiquavers etc. This terminology is used extensively in classical music.
Reading drum rhythms
We’ve already talked about what the different notes look like. Now you need to know the rhythm in which to hit them. To keep things really simple we’re only going to look at two different note lengths to start with:
- Quarter notes
- Eighth notes
What is a quarter note?
Quarter notes are really your most basic note type. They dictate the ‘beat’ in most pieces of music. A quarter note is shaded black and has a stem with no flags on the stem.