THE TENOR DRUMMER Intermediate How to Play Fivelets – Prep for Pulse 2022

How to Play Fivelets – Prep for Pulse 2022

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Fivelets are a must-know subdivision

Are you a master of eighth notes, sixteenth notes, triplets and sixtuplets? Learning how to play fivelets is next on the list!

Back when I was marching, they were still relatively uncommon, but now fivelets seem to be everywhere.

The 2022 Pulse Opener Tenor Feature is in the Learn This Lick queue, and there are a few tricky fivelets in there. So, I put together a quick exercise to get those locked in.

Grab the music here.

Sixteenths to Fivelet

The first fivelet we see is over two counts (half note fivelet, 5:2) preceded by sixteenth notes.

how to play sixteenth to fivelet

The sixteenth notes are quite a bit faster (8 notes over 2 counts compared to 5), so you’ll have to pull back quite a bit for the fivelets.

In the second measure, your main focus should be on the Left attack of the second fivelet. This should line up right with your metronome. If your Left hits before the metronome, you’re going to fast. If your Left hits after the metronome, your fivelet is too slow.

Adjust accordingly until it lines right up. Of course, all of the fivelet notes should be evenly spaced.

Another click you can listen for is in between the 3rd and 4th notes of each fivelet. Counts 2 and 4 land at the exact half-way point between them.


Fivelet Roll

In the Pulse lick, the sixteenth notes actually go into a fivelet roll. Here, your wrists are moving at the same speed as before, but you’re playing diddles.

how to play sixteenth to fivelet roll

Even though the accents are gone, keep your focus on the Left attack of the second fivelet.

When you get comfortable with that, go ahead and try the whole line. Keep in mind that your wrists play at the exact same speed for all fivelets.

sixteenth to fivelet

Sounding good? Let’s move on.

Triplet to Fivelet

The other fivelet in the Pulse tenor feature goes from triplet into a half note fivelet.

Since there are 6 triplet notes over two counts, the fivelet over two counts is just a little slower.

We’ll go ahead and play one fivelet with out diddles, then add them in for the second. Focus on that Left attack on count 3.

how to play triplet to fivelet roll

Fivelet Para-Diddle-Diddle-Diddle-Diddle

The sticking for this other fivelet is actually RLRRLLRRLL, or a para-diddle-diddle-diddle-diddle. Yes, that’s a lot of diddles.

The nice thing about this sticking is the pattern is always Right hand lead, so you can line up your Right attack on count 3 with the met. We’ll do the check pattern first, then add the diddles.

Also, we have a RLL sticking for the triplet going into it.

how to play triplet to fivelet roll

Don’t hesitate to isolate any trouble spots and rep them over and over.

When you feel good about that. Try the whole line.

triplet to fivelet

As always, take it slow, be your own worst critic, and don’t forget to have fun! That’s what drumming is all about.

See you next time!

Hey, thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my post on How to Play Fivelets, be sure to check out my other lessons and look out for the full Pulse 2022 Opener Tenor Feature.

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