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Between the sky and Jeff Porcaro - Mushanga


Jeff Porcaro - Instructional Video

We found out in the previous article that checking out drumming videos on YouTube is very useful. It's a great way to get a feel for what's going on in drum performances.

Check out the previous article:

So, as much time as I could spare, I did some chain-watching (clicking on the thumbnails after the end of the video to watch them in succession), and I found a couple of Jeff Porcaro videos, and I was particularly intrigued by this one, so I'd like to check it out in detail!

This is a recording of a valuable lesson from Jeff Porcaro: It's good to play the 16-beat hi-hat with one hand instead of two (around 7:10) and other helpful concepts are introduced. Among them, I'd like to focus on the part that explains the basic pattern of Mushanga, a song included in Toto's album The Seventh One.

Seventh One

Seventh One

  • アーティスト:Toto
  • 発売日: 1990/10/25
  • メディア: CD

RL sequence and accents that I can't quite get

The explanation of the pattern begins at around 12:11. Next, we confirm the RL sequence by hitting only the hi-hat. As he explains, that includes paradiddle-diddle (RLRRLL).



The sequence is as he says, but what I can't figure out is: on the 3rd beat, the accent is only on the first L of L-L, and on the 4th beat, the second R of R-R. This is an idea that only a person with confidence in stick control can come up with. For me personally, this is a sequence that I would avoid because it is simply difficult to control. In the video, it looks very smooth and easy, so at first I thought it was the following sequence, but this is not the way to play the Mushanga pattern:

(Note: This is wrong)


The exquisite control of the sticks - accenting only the first L of L-L and the second R of R-R - is a true indication of his superb control skill. His smooth one-handed, accent + immediate non-accent, was analyzed as well in the past article here:

Actual Mushanga pattern

Now that we know the sequences and are familiar with it, move your hands on the drum kit and play the actual pattern in the Mushanga song.



Where X-shaped notes are placed on the toms' pitches, they indicate that the toms' rim (frame) should be hit and ticked. Occasionally, the X-shaped notes may be hit on the toms' surface instead of the rim, but those are not shown in the score above. Either way, it doesn't matter since the toms are played softly here with ghost notes.

Ergonomically friendly pattern

In this pattern, with its impressive toms, you don't need to be very conscious of where the accents are located, which we checked in the previous section using only the hi-hat. Rather, the actual Mushanga pattern is easier to understand in fact. It is very reasonable that the 2 notes of the 2nd beat are R-R instead of R-L, and the snare backbeat accent on the 3rd beat can be hit with the left hand. We hear the complex flow of sound with all the toms and hi-hats on the drum kit, but we don't have to get into any uncomfortable postures. The pattern is a sort of ergonomically friendly.

If you take a closer look at his playing, you will notice that unlike typical super drummers, he doesn't seem to be very flashy in his appearance. But now you know attracting attention with appearance is not the essential requirement of a super drummer. You just have to be able to express yourself in the form of art. It's okay if those who understand music understand you. It's okay if those who understand music don't understand you! I would like to play music with such a carefree attitude, as long as people allow me to.