Disco is a type of dance music that became popular in the United States during the 1970s. It features hard-hitting four-on-the-floor beats with syncopated bass lines and elegant string arrangements.
Disco drum beats were carefully crafted to keep an audience dancing all night long so they feature repetitive grooves and a simple yet solid bass drum pattern.
The key ingredient to a disco drum beat is a four-on-the-floor bass drum pattern. Four-on-the-floor means to play 4 crotchet bass drum notes in each bar. This rock-solid foundation mean that the grooves drive the music forward and keep a steady pulse for an audience to dance along to.
Below are some examples of disco beats. Start by playing the standard pop/rock groove and then the four-on-the-floor groove and see how the extra bass drum notes change the feeling of the beat. After that, you can try putting the other hi-hat variations on top of the four-on-the-floor pattern.
Listen to the following tunes for some inspiration:
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Le Freak - Chic
Stayin’ Alive - Bee Gees
Disco Inferno - Trammps
Remember that the steady bass drum is the most important part of the groove!
Take your time with the hi-hat variations. Each one will take some time to get used to.
Make sure it sounds like a dance groove! Try keeping the hit volume low and emphasising the bass drum and snare notes for extra groove.