What makes 'The Black Page' so difficult?

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Shawn Crowder

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Shared August 21, 2019

Frank Zappa's "Black Page #1" is known for being difficult to play. But is it? If so, why? I decided to learn it to find out.

Here I document the process of learning "The Black Page" on the drums, from start to finish. I spent one week learning this piece before recording the final performance at the end of the video.

The drums are unedited and the MIDI backing track is 100% quantized. It's not easy to line everything up, but with practice, you can do it!

PS - For those interested in learning these types of rhythms, I highly recommend Mike Mangini's "Rhythm Knowledge" books. Volume 2, in particular, has a plethora of exercises pertaining to tuplets and counting that have helped me out tremendously over the years.

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