Drum Parts "Written" With A Machine

con struct

Platinum Member
I'm doing a gig in New York this summer with a nine-piece band. One of the composers gave me a sound file he'd made of one of his tunes. The groove is a sort of latinish thing but he "wrote" it on his software sequencer.
This thing sounds fine, sort of, on the sound file but the guy doesn't know the first thing about actualy playing the drums, of course, so I'm having to learn this unwieldy mutant rhythm. The problem is that he's got all this stuff going on that just doesn't lay down right on a drum kit.
It's tempting, I guess, to try to come up with elaborately specific drum parts when you have the software to do it, but it drives me crazy. Still, I'm going to learn to play it just as he concieved it even if it kills me. If nothing else it's good practice material.
Any else ever have the experience of being handed an impossible-to-play sequenced drum part to learn?
 

makinao

Silver Member
You could transcribe the part just to show how "impossible" it is for just one drummer to play. Then you can "negotiate" (or should I say re-arrange) for it to sound good on an acoustic kit for one drummer.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
You could transcribe the part just to show how "impossible" it is for just one drummer to play. Then you can "negotiate" (or should I say re-arrange) for it to sound good on an acoustic kit for one drummer.
Yeah, well as soon as I heard the tune I knew what needed to be played. And, the chart he gave me is just a slash-chart, a drum lead-sheet. BUT, I'm going to learn to play the part on his sound file perfectly, and once he actually hears how that sounds with the whole band I'm pretty sure he'll let me play what I want to.
Always be able to give them what they think they want, and then be able to give them options.
 

Clayton_C

Senior Member
I feel for you... the last two years I have been in a high school honor jazz band for my county and every year one of our directors composes a piece for the band to play at the city's jazz festival. Without exception, it is some sort of nefarious pop-jazz 80s stuff, and drum parts are typically about four-five pages of completely written-out Sibelius score. It's crazy sight-reading it, it really is, even compared to most of the Steve Gadd and Jojo Mayer transcriptions I work through.
But I try very hard to get through them, and then without fail end up doing something much simpler but that really grooves.
 

Pavlos

Senior Member
Doesn't it kind of depend on the composers attitude?

If he was doing it to kind of give a loose guideline and just said something along the lines of "see what you can do with this but you're the drummer so make it your own." then that would be kind of cool that he actually took the time to relay his ideas in that way.

If however he's being disrespectful and just throwing it at you and saying "Do it exactly like this" then that wouldn't be too cool.

Have you discussed it with him and what you're feelings are about it?
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Doesn't it kind of depend on the composers attitude?

If he was doing it to kind of give a loose guideline and just said something along the lines of "see what you can do with this but you're the drummer so make it your own." then that would be kind of cool that he actually took the time to relay his ideas in that way.

If however he's being disrespectful and just throwing it at you and saying "Do it exactly like this" then that wouldn't be too cool.

Have you discussed it with him and what you're feelings are about it?
Oh heck, he's not being disrespectful at all. He's a great guy and very good piano player. He just doesn't know anything about playing the drums. Well, okay. But my complaint remains. Why do people who don't know anything about playing the drums sit down and come up with these sequenced drum parts that nobody, I mean nobody, could ever play? Afer all, it's not like he's never heard a real drummer. I just don't get it.
If I write a trombone part I have to know the range of the instrument, what it's capable of playing comfortably and how to give the guy a readable, playable part. I can't just sit down at a samplng work-station and play a lot of notes that would be impossible for a trombone to play. So why do people do that with the drums?
 

gusty

Platinum Member
Oh heck, he's not being disrespectful at all. He's a great guy and very good piano player. He just doesn't know anything about playing the drums. Well, okay. But my complaint remains. Why do people who don't know anything about playing the drums sit down and come up with these sequenced drum parts that nobody, I mean nobody, could ever play? Afer all, it's not like he's never heard a real drummer. I just don't get it.
If I write a trombone part I have to know the range of the instrument, what it's capable of playing comfortably and how to give the guy a readable, playable part. I can't just sit down at a samplng work-station and play a lot of notes that would be impossible for a trombone to play. So why do people do that with the drums?
Probably just didn't think about it. I'm sure there are plenty of drummers who wouldn't think about range if they were writing a trombone part.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
He might be thinking symphonically and thinking of a drum part to 'complete' his piece. He also might have always thought a pattern was kinda cool and wanted to use it.

Being expected to play some super-awkward drum part would spin me out too! Is there room for negotiation?
 
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