Drummers and percussionists use rhythm to engage musical time in a variety of ways.
Here are some of the techniques we use:
Marking time through articulating meter.
Dividing time through subdivision of the meter’s main beats.
Decorating or accentuating time through accents and emphases.
Driving forward time (or somewhat worse: pushing).
Holding back time (or much worse: dragging).
Interrupting time through a drum fill.
Abstracting time by free playing around a general pulse.
Ghosting time through ghost notes that subdivide and suggest the main beats.
Suggesting alternative times (poly-time) and time depths through polyrhythms (e.g. 3 over 2), and inherent or emergent rhythms (where the heard composite is different from the sum of the played musical parts).
Playing with time by artfully swinging, grooving.
Regimenting time by playing like a (quantized) machine.