Imprisoned by Ding-Dinga-Ding-Dinga

SKF NOTE: Ed Soph’s video clip above brought back my long, long struggle with the ding-dinga-ding-dinga ride cymbal beat.

Soph demonstrates that beat and then says, “We all know that a ride pattern is not this, even though there are thousands of books that would make us think that it is.”

When learning to play the drumset was my life mission, playing exercises in popular jazz drum method books against a ding-dinga-ding-dinga ride cymbal beat was usually tedious, too mechanical, and not musical.

I’d hear jazz drummers on records playing ding-dinga-ding-dinga on slow to medium tempo songs. Not always, but often.

On record, during tv appearances, and in concert — drummers abandoned ding-dinga on uptempo tunes.

Great drummers like Roy Haynes, Paul Motian, and Elvin Jones, I eventually discovered, ignored a repetitive ding-dinga-ding-dinga at all tempos.

While music and rhythm evolved, Ding-dinga-ding-dinga remained static, and young drummers were told they had to use it.

What utter nonsense. Ride cymbal pattern phrasing should be musical phrasing. When ding-dinga-ding works best — use it. Just don’t be imprisoned by it.

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