Do you plan your fills?

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I don't plan my fills, in much the same way as I don't plan out my sentences before I speak. After a while, music becomes a language, and what you "say" comes more natural. That's how I see it.

Now, if a song is going down on tape, I will think of the fills as part of a composition, since the conversation is being "written down" like a story, so to speak. You don't always want to write down the first thing that comes to mind and have that be your final draft, unless you're reading a chart and have never heard the tune before.

...preface all of that with: if I really like a particular fill on a tune, I will try to throw it in at some point, if it feels right.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
A fill is a fill a break is a break. A fill, fills in empty space. A break is like taking a break.
I learned something today :)

I would have called them solos because only the drums are playing but hey, I don't write the rules :)

That said, I don't play many fills and when I do, they are absolutely written.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
I'm more of a play to record, playback to find out what is not working, and repeat until you get the darn thing worked out.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I learned something today :)

I would have called them solos because only the drums are playing but hey, I don't write the rules :)

That said, I don't play many fills and when I do, they are absolutely written.
I think fill terminology are a hold over from a more improvisational time on the drum-set.
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
Rule one: Provide a solid back beat for the band.
Rule two: Don’t step on the vocals or other band mate’s solos with drum fills.
Rule three: Smile and enjoy yourself.
Rule four: Provide a solid back beat for the band.

If you learn your rudiments well, fills will easily flow out of your head and into your drumming, almost automatically.
Good advice, as is all the recommendations to record some rehearsals and gigs to hear what works or not.

Then, when you have nailed the grooves and general ideas, just let it all out and free your mind. Sometimes I'm surprised what I play and if someone would ask me to repeat a fill I would have no idea how to do it...
 

Thunder 42

Silver Member
I like caddywumpus' response. I plan to have fills, and have a good idea where they will land in the song, but do not plan in advance per se. We play much improvised and spontaneous, so listening, feel, flow, and anticipation really dictate where/when and what they will be.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Fills, no, drum arrangements yes.

If you want to make a drum arrangement, make a drum arrangement.
Exactly, if you write/plan a fill then it just becomes part of the arrangement, not a fill. A fill is just improvised comping off the song. A fill could change based on what the other players are doing, the tempo, the feeling, the color and texture techniques that the melodic players are using.

A fill can be anything from a cymbal hit to a linear pattern across the drums, and should be your way of interpreting something musical that has happened. For instance if the key changes, or if the other players add some tension; you want to be able to take part in the same conversation that the rest of the group is. Playing a bar or two or triplets on the floor tom and snare isn't a fill, it's part of the arrangement.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I never 'just fill space'.

I am always composing the song...difference being 'on the fly' vrs 'in advance'.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I never 'just fill space'.

I am always composing the song...difference being 'on the fly' vrs 'in advance'.
I think you mean comping, which is what a fill is, rather than composing. A fill is just a notation term that means "comp here".

Composing usually refers to the writing or manipulation of music, although it can refer to free playing. Free playing is very advanced and is usually found in contemporary improv, free jazz, and other avant garde styles. Free playing would be one or more instruments playing random notes and chords in order to find inspiration and build off. Think modal harmony (or the absence of harmony) over ever-changing key centers, or 2 or more instruments playing potentially conflicting key centers.
 
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