Afro-Cuban 6/8 Funk Application: Accent Displacement

The applications of the Afro-Cuban 6/8 feel are endless, inspiring to play new grooves. Today I’ll talk about the application of this rhythm in a funk/fusion style: adding the snare drum backbeat, ghost notes, and the dotted eight-note bass drum pattern. The 6/8 cowbell rhythm will be played on the hi-hat, as shown in the figure below.

afro-cuban 6/8 drumset application

Starting from this basic pattern, we’ll play different accent combinations on the hi-hat: one-accent combinations and two-accents combinations. Every single bar must be repeated at least 16 times. This will prove to be a serious exercise in accuracy and balance.


The next step is to apply the exercise on the ride cymbal, the accents will be played on the ride bell (as shown in the second example below). To complete the pattern play eight notes on the hi-hat with your left foot.

afro cuban 6/8 hi hat variation

All the things discussed must be applied in a musical way, improvising with all the material without reading. Try with different tempos and dynamics, the possibilities are endless. Keep on drumming!



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