What is "Lift"? Part V: Creating Lift in a March

Now you know where to find the beats, backbeats and offbeats in simple time and compound time, let's begin the process of putting this knowledge to use when writing a drum score. This week we'll be looking at the march style (these examples would also work for pointed reels in 2/2 time). In the examples below, the first bar demonstrate a lack of lift and the second bar shows how making a few subtle changes can create the lift we're looking for.

The first example is a common one bar roll phrase--two back to back sixes followed by a single five. In the second bar, notice how lift is created using a crescendo leading into an accent on the backbeat. To add even more backbeat pulse, the end of the single five is also accented.



The next example uses a slight alteration of flam rudiments to achieve forward motion. In the first bar, flam taps are used. However, when these flams are moved to the offbeat (creating tap flams) and combined with an accent on the offbeat of the triplet, the phrase gets a nice bounce to it!



Sometimes, moving only one accent can make a big difference to the lift in a musical phrase. In the first example, accented are placed on the beat and the backbeat. Simply moving the second accent over one note creates the desired lift.



These two musical phrases below are almost identical with the exception of the accent placement. In the first example, accents are placed on the beat. When there are too many beat accents in a score it becomes heavy sounding, lethargic and lacks forward motion. In the second example, accents have been moved to the offbeat and the heavy flam accent from the second beat of the first bar has been removed creating a nice bounce.



Hope the preceding examples have given you enough ideas to get you started. Next week we'll be working with some practical examples of lift in round reels. Until next time, happy drumming!

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