In this edition of Classic Performances we’re going to take a look at Bill Bruford’s drumming performance in Five Per Cent for Nothing.
Five Per Cent for Nothing was released in 1971 on the now classic “Yes” album; Fragile. Along with the collective songs composed by the band for this album, each member contributed a piece of music of their own, and in Bill Bruford’s case it was Five Per Cent for Nothing. Even in 1971, the seeds of Bruford’s style were evident. Bruford plays only one rhythm throughout this 16 bar composition, but it has all of the hallmarks of Bruford’s style; the tight execution, syncopation, and the oftentimes hypnotic feel.
This song has a uniquely awkward feel to it, as is evident to anyone who’s ever tried to count through it! While some drummers describe this piece of music as being in 4/4 time, I hear out differently! In this class, I’ll make this song very understandable and easy to “hear and follow” by breaking up the rhythm into manageable group of 2’s and 3’s as is often done in odd time signatures.
This song, as complex as it initially sounds, happens to be a great place for beginners who are just beginning their journey into odd time signatures because it’s a simple enough rhythm, and once you work up my approach to playing the rhythm, it makes a great play-a-long. And for those more advanced drummers, if you’re struggling even a little bit with following your way through the songs metric component, once you work through my recommended grouping combination of the rhythm, you’ll be able to play through this song easily, and more than likely get comfortable enough to make some modifications and musical interpretations as your creativity compels you! Also included for download are the lessons files for practice and study.
LEVEL: all levels