Here is a short video that explores a concept which can be great for building a song around, or in this case, building a drum solo around. The concept in question is the use of an ostinato.
An ostinato is simply a repeated pattern. A very well known drum ostinato is that used in Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ where a simple snare drum part plays throughout to, great effect, building gradually with the rest of the orchestrato create a huge crescendo. It is very powerful and if you’re not familiar with it, I would recommend checking it out.
In this drum solo blog we are creating an ostinato with the feet. You can see at the start of the video that the right foot plays the bass drum pedal as usual whilst the left foot sits across the left side double bass drum pedal and the hi-hat pedal and keep a steady quarter note going on both sound sources. Meanwhile the right foot plays a more syncopated part around it.
With that rhythmic foundation holding things together, the hands are now free to improvise on top. I began by using a melodic tom tom pattern which evolves and goes off somewhere else before returning to the melodic tom part and eventually dropping out to leave the foot ostinato to end the solo.
You could start simply, by playing one note on the bass drum and one note on the hi-hat pedal to create a ‘boom-cha-boom-cha’ feel. As you gain confidence and limb independence, begin to explore more complex ostinato ideas. It can sound great and is good fun so I hope you enjoy it.