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The English progressive rock band, Genesis, released their eighth studio album, Wind & Wuthering, in December 1976 with Phil Collins on drums and lead vocals. One of the instrumental tracks from the album is "... In That Quiet Earth", a jazz-fusion tune in the style of Weather Report.

The A Section of "... In That Quiet Earth" is in a 9/8 time signature with a brisk tempo; the eighth-note is approximately 164 bpm on average.

One could think of the tune being in 3/4 time, however, since the eighth-note is getting the pulse it is best to think of this in 9/8 ... even though the snare drum backbeats outline a 'big three' waltz sound.

The drum groove sounds extremely complex but as you will see, once we slow things down and focus on the basic structure of the groove it is fairly simple... until you play it up to tempo.

Here's the complete, basic groove of "... In That Quiet Earth" as played by Phil Collins.

... In That Quiet Earth — Drum Groove by Phil Collins

Genesis: In That Quiet Earth

For those that are not accustomed to this time signature, 9/8 is considered a Compound Meter; relative to 3/4 but with three divisions — like playing triplets. 

First, notice that the ride cymbal outlines the pulse, playing on all of the eighth-notes (ie. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9). The snare drum backbeats, which gives the tune a quasi-waltz sound, is on beats 4 and 7.

To break things down even further, allowing you to see the basic structure of the groove, here is what the groove would look like when we remove the unaccented snare drum strokes as well as second stroke of the bass drum sixteenth-notes.

Simplified Drum Groove

Genesis: In That Quiet Earth (breakdown)

If you were to play this simplified groove at a slower tempo, it would sound like a blues shuffle waltz (ie. 3/4 or 9/8). You may find playing this simplified groove with the Genesis track very helpful at first. In fact I would suggest that you first develop the ability to play the basic structure cleanly before adding the other embellishments — adding the double strokes on the bass/kick drum then the ghost/tap strokes on the snare drum.

Rock on!

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of DrummerCafe.com, which he founded in December of 1996.

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