How To Play The 4 On The Floor Beat
Playing the 4 On The Floor Beat involves hitting the bass drum on every quarter note while maintaining a steady rhythm with the drums. This driving and simple beat is popular in various music genres that use a 4/4 time signature and is easy for beginners to learn.
In understanding the Four on the Floor Beat, it is essential to recognize that it’s a musical pattern characterized by a steady, relentless quarter-note pulse driven by the bass drum. This beat is widely present in disco, techno, house music, and a number of classic rock songs, such as AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
To simplify this beat, kick the bass drum on counts 1, 2, 3, and 4, add the snare drum on counts 2 and 4, and include the hi-hat on every eighth note. Close the hi-hat with your foot on counts 1, 2, 3, and 4, and open the hi-hat on “and” counts and that’s it.
Practice makes perfect but this is a very beginner-friendly beat that any starting drummer can learn quickly. Let’s dive a bit deeper to understand the 4 On The Floor Beat, where it is used, and how to play it.
What is the 4 On The Floor Beat?
The Four on the Floor Beat is a rhythmic pattern marked by a strong, consistent quarter-note pulse, primarily driven by the bass drum. This beat’s name directly relates to its simplicity, as it follows a pattern of four steady beats per measure, thus making it easy for listeners to dance to. The origin of this beat can be traced back to disco music in the 1970s when it became a defining feature for the genre’s danceable tracks.
Over time, this beat has found its way into various music styles, ranging from rock and pop to electronic and techno genres. The predictable and powerful pulse of the Four on the Floor Beat has made it an influential rhythm across various dance music scenes. Although the beat may sound simple, its widespread use has solidified its position as a foundational aspect of numerous musical styles and an essential skill for drummers to master.
Common Genres and Songs Using the Beat
The Four on the Floor Beat is a versatile rhythm that can be found in various music genres. Some popular genres and songs that feature this beat include:
One of the first genres to popularize the beat, disco music is characterized by its danceable rhythms. Notable songs with Four on the Floor Beats are “Stayin’ Alive” by Bee Gees and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson.
Known for its repetitive beats and synthesized basslines, house music often features the Four on the Floor rhythm. Examples of songs with this beat are “Music Sounds Better With You” by Stardust and “Show Me Love” by Robin S.
A genre that combines repetitive electronic beats with synthesized sounds, techno also prominently employs the Four on the Floor Beat. Well-known tracks in this genre include “Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic and “Born Slippy (NUXX)” by Underworld.
Electronic Dance Music (EDM)
As an umbrella term for various electronic music genres, EDM often features the Four on the Floor rhythm. For example, this beat is present in hits like “Levels” by Avicii and “Animals” by Martin Garrix.
Even though not as prevalent as in dance-focused genres, classic rock occasionally uses the Four on the Floor Beat to give some tracks a more driving rhythm. A famous example is “Back in Black” by AC/DC.
Playing the Four on the Floor Beat – Step by Step
Playing the Four on the Floor Beat is quite straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master this rhythm:
- Bass drum (Kick): The bass drum, also known as a kick drum, is the foundation of the Four on the Floor Beat. Start by hitting the bass drum on every quarter note of a measure, which means counts 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- Snare drum: The snare drum adds a complementary rhythm to the beat. Incorporate the snare drum on counts 2 and 4.
- Hi-hat: To complete the beat, include the hi-hat, which adds more texture and keeps the rhythm steady. Play the hi-hat on every eighth note.
- Hi-hat foot technique: As an optional touch, you can open and close the hi-hat to add variety to the beat. Close the hi-hat with your foot on counts 1, 2, 3, and 4, and open the hi-hat on “and” counts.
Begin by practicing each element separately at a slow tempo. Start with the bass drum, then add the snare, and finally, include the hi-hat. Once you feel comfortable playing each component independently, combine all three elements and gradually increase the tempo.
Practicing and Mastering the Beat
To practice and master the Four on the Floor Beat effectively, aspiring drummers can follow these tips and make use of various resources:
- Start slow: Begin your practice by playing the beat at a slow tempo. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase the speed while maintaining consistency and accuracy. As it is an incredibly easy beat to master, it shouldn’t take long.
- Use a metronome: A metronome helps develop a strong sense of timing and keeps you accountable for maintaining a steady beat. Practicing with a metronome will improve your precision and internal sense of rhythm.
- Incorporate exercises: Develop your skills by incorporating various drumming exercises, such as alternating the snare and bass drum, adding fills, or changing the hi-hat pattern.
- Drumming apps: Utilize drumming apps that offer tutorials, exercises, and practice tools designed to help you learn and master the Four on the Floor Beat. Some popular drumming apps include Drumeo, Melodics, and Soundbrenner Pulse.
- Play along with songs: Choose songs from different genres that feature the Four on the Floor Beat and play along with them. This helps you adapt your drumming to various music styles, while also improving your listening skills and timing.
In conclusion, the Four on the Floor Beat is a foundational rhythm with a strong presence across multiple music genres, from disco and house to rock and techno. Learning to play this beat is an essential skill for drummers, as it equips them with a rhythmic foundation that can be implemented creatively in numerous contexts. Following step-by-step instructions and utilizing effective practice techniques, tips, and resources are instrumental in mastering this beat. As you progress in your drumming journey, remember that the Four on the Floor Beat will serve as a building block for developing more complex rhythms.