Practice & Master Odd Rhythm Divisions On Your Walk (Part 2)

The Footsteps Metronome: Counting while Walking (Part 2)

In the following rhythm with triplets, you would want to start off, just counting 1 – 2 – 3 on every footstep, till you get the feel for it.

Even more so than was the case with the even-numbered divisions: it is important that you count “oooonneee – twooooo – threeeee”, giving all 3 notes an equal sustained length, to make sure that you perform all 3 notes evenly. (as opposed to “one twoooo three”, or “one two threeee”).

There is a certain “circular feel” to counting 3’s. With enough practice, after a while, you will get a good grasp of the specific feeling that comes with triplets.

When you get really comfortable and confident with your ability to count 3 numbers per footstep evenly, you are ready for the next step: combining quarter notes and triplets.

When this gets easier, you raise the bar and you start counting alternating 8th note and triplet rhythms.

The next level after that would be rhythmic combinations of triplets and 16th note rhythms.

As you keep getting better at evenly performing those rhythms, the next level after that would be the following, very fun rhythm, in which each beat has another rhythm grouping.

If you perform that rhythm backwards, you get:

The idea is that you come up with your own improvised rhythms while walking: combining the above rhythmic groupings, in any way you can come up with. The numbers that you count represent rhythmic grouping, and your footsteps represent beats as played by a metronome.

More advanced rhythms.

As this gets easier for you, you can always push the boundaries further and try to incorporate following more advanced rhythmic divisions.

The following rhythm is a triplet over 2 beats. What this means is that you count “1 – 2 – 3” every two footsteps.

On your 3rd footstep, you would count “1” again. Especially with this rhythm, it really is essential that you vocally spread out your pronunciation of the numbers as “oooone – twoooo – threeee” to make sure you make all 3 notes equally long.

That one will definitely take you some time.

Though, for reasons explained in last week’s blog, it would take you much longer to master the feel of this rhythmic grouping with a metronome than it will take you if you just count the rhythm over your footsteps while walking.

Then there is also the quintuplet: rhythms where 5 sounds are played over 1 beat.

And the following rhythm is a quintuplet over 2 beats, which is even more challenging. Every 2 footsteps you count “1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5”, having “1” again on the 3rd footstep.

Yet, just like anything: mastering this is merely a matter of constant repetition till you start getting the feel.

And then of course you can come up with rhythms where you combine even groupings and quintuplets, as in the following rhythm.

Or the next one, which is slightly more challenging:

Once you get the following rhythm down, you have certainly raised your rhythmic awareness tremendously.

And the next one is a bit of a challenge too: combining nothing but odd groupings.

Then there are of course also sextuplets.

Or septuplets: which you can incorporate in any combination with any of the above groupings.

The fantastic thing about those drills is that you can do them anywhere. You don’t have to carve out practice time, you don’t need your guitar, you don’t need to be home; yet, your playing and musicianship will skyrocket to higher levels in a reasonably short amount of time through those drills.

Meanwhile, you’re engaging in a healthy activity that is really good for you.
Now go for a walk and become a better rhythm guitarist in the process. 🙂

Meanwhile: Here’s a pdf with the whole lesson

The Footsteps Metronome


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