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Polyrhythms Through Pop Music by Kevin Zetina

Polyrhythms Through Pop Music by Kevin Zetina

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From the composer:

Polyrhythms Through Pop Music came as a result of two things.

1) I had finished playing through all of Jospeh Tompkins’ Snare Drum solos/etudes and was left wanting more.

2) I’ve always found it useful to practice snare drum solos along to popular music. Assuming one can find a song of similar tempo and feel, I find it to be a very useful tool in reinforcing groove into solo snare drum music (especially Delécluse!)

After having played many of Tompkins’ solos along to popular music, I started writing my own Tompkins-inspired snare drum music that was written with a specific song pairing in mind: “Seaside Town” by Baths. By essentially scoring the snare drum part to a specific song, this makes the actual music line up more naturally. For example, phrase lengths match, vocal rhythm can be mimicked, and spaces can be embellished.

Because so much of this music is inspired by Tompkins, I encourage the performer to study a considerable amount of his music prior to these solos. I believe a lot of the skills needed for Tompkins’ music is quite transferrable to this music.

It is my goal that by setting this music to songs of a popular style, the art of snare drumming can become more accessible despite the complexity of the rhythms. Furthermore, despite the complexity of the rhythms, the innate groove within each song will hopefully help the performer make the rhythms groove in the same way.

-Kevin Zetina 

Specs: 9w x 12h, 70 pages, Advanced level.

About the Composer:

Kevin Zetina is a passionate performer, composer, and arranger of all things contemporary whether it be performing seminal works of the last century, premiering or writing brand new works, or arranging popular music for contemporary classical ensembles. As a percussionist, he has performed with members of Eighth Blackbird, Ensemble Signal, the JACK Quartet, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Having grown up as a guitarist playing various sorts of death metal, Kevin has always been drawn to music that is experimental in nature. In this effort to push musical experimentation, Kevin started the first student-run new music ensemble at the Yale School of Music: Versicolor. The group champions composers who would otherwise be underrepresented and provides a space for contemporary music at Yale. Kevin has played frequently with the Austin based contemporary chamber music group, Density 512 and has served as the Production Director for the Nief-Norf Summer Festival.

Kevin currently serves as Lecturer of Percussion at the University of Tennessee Knoxville where he teaches applied lessons to percussion majors, Percussion Methods to Music Education majors, and directs the UT Chamber Percussion Ensemble. He holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music with the Howard Hanson Scholarship where he studied with Michael Burritt, and he earned his MM and MMA degrees from Yale University as a Havemeyer Scholarship recipient under Robert van Sice. More info at

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