Learn to Play the 3-3-7
Pattern with Finger Cymbals
Triples and the next
Variation (Part 2)
magazine, Sep/Oct 2008
by Anthea Kawakib Poole
More Basic Finger Cymbals for
Yes, all of these drills
are on my YouTube channel, but if you want to SEE the
patterns written down, these articles will help. Let me know
if anything’s unclear or doesn’t make sense to you; but be
sure to subscribe for more updates: www.youtube.com/user/DanceEternal.
If you're learning on
your own, start slow and only do what you can do well
enough to practice; don’t be discouraged if the
challenging combinations at the end of the second clip
take you a while to master. A few minutes of practice
several times a week will really make a big
difference in the long run!
The mystical number
Last article went over
Singles, Doubles, and Rolls.... good basic stuff you need to
know before getting fancy. Now we’ll unlock the magic
“Triple Whammy” that makes all the fun, fantastic finger
cymbal patterns you’ve been itching to play!
In my cymbal method, a
“triple” is 3 alternating strokes per 1/2-beat (more or
less)...and the other half of the beat is usually empty,
or silent. If you’ve heard of “triplets”, this ain’t them.
(Shades of the notorious “3/4 shimmy” debate.... but
that’s another story. And I’ve got my version of that on
Optional side note on
the timing of Triple versus Triplet: instead of 3
strokes per 1/2-beat, a tripLET is 3 evenly-spaced strokes
throughout one whole beat. See the timing below (remember
we’re using a capital H for the dominant hand and lowercase
h for the other one)
But let’s not get too deep into it right now, except to
notice that they sure do look different, don’t they? All
we’re doing right now is learning to play and understand triples.
Triplets is for much later.
Let’s Get a
Sitting down with
your cymbals on, play the triple pattern above:
H h H (pause) H h H (pause) etc. Count it like this: 1-2-3
(pause) 1-2-3 (pause) etc. As we did in the previous
article, you can use a metronome (www.MetronomeOnline.com)
- s-l-o-w, at about “66" or so, and on each ‘click’ your dominant
hand is playing.
Don’t worry about the
beat (1 a + a 2 a + a etc.) yet, that’s next.
For now just make sure your dominant hand is starting
and ending each triple pattern of 3 strokes. You can
see your dominant hand is going to be playing a LOT!
(We’re using the metronome
super-slow right now; but when you get on your feet, that’s
going to change so get used to this pattern now!)
When that’s comfortable
for you, we have to change how you’re thinking about it.
Now we’ll “put in the numbers” of the beat (also called
the “count”): each ‘click’ of the metronome is now a
2 3 4 5
6 7 8. Give your fingers a rest and
just count the clicks several times - out loud is best!
Good - now put in the “and a’s” like this, making
sure the NUMBERS are still on the clicks:
and a 1 and a 2 and a 3
and a 4 and a 5 etc., but the “and a’s” are
NOT on any clicks.
Here we go! Here we
go! Here we go! Here we go!
Okay, get on your feet,
cymbals ready again; we’ve got to get your body and cymbals
Just stand in place, arms out in dance position (not
all curled up in front of you!) and play your triples as
H h H H h H H h
H H h H (See Figure 2).
(Remember, CAPITAL H = dominant hand; lowercase h =
You see the beat (the numbers) is now “very important”--it’s
underlined and bold. Just like when you
drilled the Singles, Doubles, and Rolls patterns, you’re
going to STEP ON THE BEAT, playing your cymbals too. Here’s
Get your metronome (or
slow music) going, hear the beat, starting counting it:
1 - - - 2 - - - 3 - - - 4
- - - 5 - - - 6 - - - 7 - - - 8...
then add the “and a’s”:
and a 1 and a 2 and
a 3 and a 4
(make the numbers a little louder, because
Start your cymbals,
still counting, and shift your weight from side to side on
When that’s comfortable,
start walking like a dancer: arms out, spine erect,
head lifted, eyes up, stepping gracefully. Please keep
your hands still - no jerking or flipping around
- that becomes a bad habit really fast.
Do this drill for a
while, then change it up like we did previously (with the
Singles, Doubles, and Rolls):
I hope that’s
working for you! The main thing is to get really
comfortable with your triples - then we can start putting
together some cool finger cymbal patterns using triples
and the patterns from the previous article!
- 4 counts walking
playing cymbals, 4 counts walking not playing
- walking in a circle,
or walking forward and back
- do your drill in
place, with hip sways on your weight changes
- extra points for
using your arms: while posing in place, see if you can
keep playing your triples pattern while going through a
graceful and lovely arm pattern! For instance, 4 counts
arms going up to overhead, 4 counts coming back down...