10.- Latin for Drummies – Candombe in 3/4 on the drum set


The original metric of this groove has 4 beats. The melody, improvisation and the way you walk when you play on the street are built on this metric.

When you play this groove on the drum set in different musical situations, the need of extend and enrich the language leaded to a modification in its rhythm structure: from 4 to 3 beats.

A 3-beat bar isn´t something strange on the drum set, but for the Candombe drums, this modification it´s radical. How do we play then Candombe on the drum set using a 3-beat bar?

First, let´s recall the rhythm of each drum, the relation with the pulse and the original 4-beat “Madera”.


Next to it the reinterpretation of the groove from a its original 4-beat structure to a 3-beat one:


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Interpretation on the drum set


First, let´s identify one or two elements of each drum, those needed to maintain the identity of this musical language and are useful for our interpretation.


– From the Chico drum, we take the accents of every second 16th note of each beat.

– From the Piano drum, we´ll choose two elements. On one side, the open tones, one that comes with the second note of the “Madera” and the last 16th note of the 3rd beat.


On the other side, the notes that are played with the hand and the stick together on the 1st and 3rd beat of the bar.

– Finally from the Repique, we´ll use the notes that are played with the hand, specially the one that comes on the 3rd beat of the bar.



As ostinato on the Hi hat, we play the “Madera”:

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We associate the low sound of the Piano drum with the Bass drum and we add the notes previously explained:

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Lastly, we associate the high-pitched sound of the Repique drum with the Snare drum and we play it on the 3rd beat of the bar:

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When we put altogether:

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Something´s missing?…Don´t panic! I didn´t forget the Chico drum!

The main characteristic of this drum is the accent on the second 16th note of each beat and it´s a good tool to create variations in the groove.


Here´s an alternative for the 3rd beat of the bar:


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By adding the Bass drum we create the following groove:

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And this groove with the previous one allows us to create a 2-bar groove:

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I hope you enjoy this interpretation and you can apply it to your playing. Have fun!

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