...and the Bolero Drum Beat
The Bolero is a ballad rhythm (a slow tempo, around 80-100 bpm)
that comes from Spain. It stems from the Rhumba beat and is often
used in ballroom dancing (The Bolero). It is also commonly used
with belly dancers. You'll see them swinging and swaying their
veils to this slow, sultry beat. The Bolero has been applied to
many different styles internationally from Cuban string trios
and small Latin combos to modern jazz and big bands. It is more
often than not accompanied by a vocalist.
the Bolero was played in 3/4 (see Ravel's Bolero below) but as
the years went by, syncopation was introduced into this rhythm
and it started being applied to duple time or 4/4. You'll also
commonly hear it played a bit faster these days resembling more
of a Rhumba.
rhythm in 3/4:
| Dum diddle di dum diddle di dum dum | Dum diddle di dum diddle
di diddle di diddle di |
rhythm applied to 4/4:
| Dum diddle di dum dum dum di dum dum |
to play the Bolero on the Drums
played on hand drums, it was eventually applied to drumset. Of
course Ravel's version is played on the snare drum only. Like
many ethnic drum beats, it can also be divided between the cymbal
(or HH), snare, and bass drum as long as it is approached simplistically
and tastefully. The most important thing is to play the triplet
on the second beat for authenticity. For effect, you can turn
the snares off and/or use the cross-stick technique for variation.
1. Learn more about the history of the Bolero by clicking
Most famous was Maurice Ravel's Bolero (1928). Click
here to hear this listen to an Real Media (.ram) sound sample.
(You may need to turn up your speakers a bit.)
The Bolero was brought center stage in the popular movie
"10", with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek (1976). Bo Derek
later starred in a movie named "Bolero" in 1984.
The Bolero is not only Mexico's most popular style of music,
it is also considered Latin America's most typical romantic music.
tuned for more on how to play the Rhumba
on drums / drumset and the history behind the rhythm. We will
be eventually covering all styles and have more MP3 and real media
sound samples for you to listen to. Please reference the sites
below for literally hundreds of links to drum lessons, tabs and
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