Drums & Percussion/rhythm


I am a piano player. In piano sheet music shuffle rhythm is often written as eg. eight notes. In drum notation, on the other had, it's often written as tripplets with a pause in the middle. It looks like this: http://www.freedrumlessons.com/media/drum-lessons/rock-drumming/blues-shuffle-be
Why do you write shuffle rhythm with tripplets in drum notation instead of eight notes?

Hi Andrew,
Great question.

A shuffle written in triplets with a rest on the middle note, that's written as you would play it. When you see a shuffle written in "straight" eighth notes, there should be a "key" at the top left of the page with: 2 eighth notes = a quarter note, then an eighth note with a triplet sign over them. It might also say something like "swing eighth notes".

The straight eighth with a key would tend to be the older way of notating a shuffle.

I hope that clears it up for you and if not, feel free to get back to me.


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Mike Shapiro


I can answer questions regarding drum and percussion subjects. If you have a question about technique, rudiments, grooves, fills, styles, reading (etc.) in relation to the drum set... ask away! I'm also able to help with timpani, vibes, marimba and hand percussion. I can also answer questions regarding the purchasing of drum and percussion instruments and accessories, including vintage and current items. I can help with restoration projects or research with the history of percussion instruments, music, repertoire, manufacturers etc.


I've been playing professionally and teaching music for 25 years. I'm involved in many genres of music and have played with a wide range of musicians from Todd Rundgren to Zubin Mehta. I'm also very interested in the instruments themselves and have owned or played many interesting ones.

Professional Drum Teachers Guild

Bachelor of Music, The Juilliard School

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