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What makes a good drumline cadence?

Not all cadences are created equal. Some are cheesy and lame. Others are unnecessarily difficult.

But the good ones are iconic.

So how can you tell? What are the criteria that determine if a drumline cadence is going to be great?

We did our best to compile a list of do’s and don’ts for your drumline’s street beat or cadence.

 

Do — Here are the elements of a great drumline cadence

This list is far from perfect. But a great drumline cadence will have most of all of these qualities:

  • Comfortable tempo — usually 116-124 bpm. Right in the sweet spot for marching.

    [Bonus: start singing any John Phillips Sousa march, and you’ll probably be right around 120bpm.]

  • Beginning, middle & end — nobody likes a drumline street beat that just loops over and over and over and over and over. Stop the thing, tap off, and start again.
  • Dynamic contrast — cadences  👏 should 👏 not 👏 always 👏 be 👏 loud. Mix it up some. Variety is the spice of life, y’all.

 

Don’t — Here’s what NOT to do in your drumline cadence

We’ve seen all these things in cadences before. It needs to stop.

  • Way too hard — We get it. You love watching old Blue Devils spree videos on YouTube. You’re not in BD 97’s snare line, ok? Relax. Just make the thing playable.
  • Cheesy and lame — the “shave and a haircut, two bits” rhythm is forever banned from any drumline cadence forever and ever. It didn’t belong in Cavaliers’ iconic Frameworks dance break in 2002, and it doesn’t belong in your cadence.

 

What did we miss? Tell us what you think makes a good (or bad!) cadence for drumline, and we’ll add it to our list!

Other awesome drumline cadences

This is a great YouTube playlist FULL of awesome street beats and cadences for drumline.

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