Drumming styles on a sliding scale

bud7h4

Silver Member
We were placing drummers (and other musicians) on a sliding scale ranging from "shredder/virtuoso" on the left, and then "soulful use of empty space" on the right.
My favorite drumming to listen to is actually played at both extremes of that scale. Shred/virtuoso combined with groove and mastery of empty space is divine. The irony of it, to me, is that the closer you get to the center of the slide scale you offered, the duller or more generic the playing becomes.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Delt, as a former analyst, I fully relate and approve of this thread :)

Taxonomy ... what are the groupings?

"Virtuoso" is pinnacle achievement, total control. Speed and virtuosity are only superficially connected. Most shredders I see are not true virtuosos. High marks for speed, lower marks in other areas. If a player can't sound shmick at most volumes and tempos, then they don't have consummate control of the instrument and are therefore not virtuosos. I find masters easier to identify live than on recordings - the minute they start playing they create magic. That'd be an interesting scale :)

As for the slowhands ("soulful users of space") they might divide into those who have to play like that due to limitations (eg. Phil Rudd, Meg) and those who usually play simply with tons of headroom (eg. Jim Keltner, Steve Jordan).

Then, for the sake of completeness, we might want some other scales (or not ;) ...

Timing - from loose (Moonie, Charlie - the old school players) to drum machine (Gavin, Jojo and the new breed)

Dynamic range - to use examples, from Phil Rudd to Brian Blade

Tonal quality - not just tuning but how the sounds are drawn from the drum and the engineering (which is ideally part of the artists' vision)

Taste - from Steve Gadd to Thomas Pridgen?

Originality - either of playing or context, eg. playing one drop to Anarchy in the UK :D

Energy and drive etc - could go on forever. So we don't end up with a line (or at least it wouldn't say much) rather than a spider web graph like they use with many human metrics because we are many-sided creatures:

With logical weightings each drummer could be represented as an angular, roughly amorphous blob. The blob's shape determines their ideal gigs, and the area of the angular blob would theoretically represent their overall quality. So we now have a workable (if labour intensive) method of assessing drummers!

Either that or find out if their music is any good :D
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Grea - neat proposed taxonomy (or even taphonomy for the dead drummers)

So ....to the first question.......where does Ringo plot?
 

Piebe

Senior Member
Then the drummer X vs, drummer Y debate,soon to follow.A few well placed insults,and then .....wait for it...........the appearence of the BAN HAMMER
Lol, i think that applies to most forums.

Allow me to stir it up. The best groove drummers are those that keep it grooving, drummers like Ringo and Clyde Stubblefield. Those simple 4/4 drums with licks here and there have been sampled over and over, whilst the craziest solo's are left untouched. Who is the best depends on who you ask.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
James, nice to see another analysis fan :)

Grea - neat proposed taxonomy (or even taphonomy for the dead drummers)

So ....to the first question.......where does Ringo plot?
OT, I'd need data, say, a poll rating drummers in those (and other) areas. Trouble is, with a player like Ringo, there were some strong synergies that are beyond analysis.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
This is the guy who's kit I'm playing in my avatar pic. He has chops, but like Grea said, keeps lots of headroom and uses them in subtle ways. Even when he's sub-dividing, it's with musical intent. Often it's little things like a syncopated left foot on the hat. This is the kind of playing I aspire to. Fortunately I get to go hear him, play on his kit and get friendly advice from him at these weekly jams. Great counterpoint to the over the top guitarist.

http://youtu.be/Vn2UqIj2fRQ
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I think it's human nature to want to quantify a completely subjective idea.

The more I read everyone's comments, the more I think that this scale should be labled

Busy-ness<<<<<<>>>>>>Simplicity

And again, I mean no reflection on each drummer's musical or technical skill, but more what they're trying to get across in their drumming.
Again,it's about personal taste.Once you start saying.."Oh....he could have played a 32nd note six stroke roll fill in there instead of just keeping the beat.That"s what I would have done"

Yea,real nice,but you're the one listening...to HIS record...right?So maybe that's what the drummer AND the band/producer wanted.

Really,can't we just stop the less is less vs. the more is more nonsense,and just listen to what's being played,instead of over analyzing everything?

Let the drummer play what HE want's to,with out having to justify anything to anyone.

To me the chops vs groove thing dosen't exist.Play for ther music.Sit in the pocket and let it breathe,or play as many notes to the bar as humanly possible,as long as it fits the music.

Steve B
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
With logical weightings each drummer could be represented as an angular, roughly amorphous blob. The blob's shape determines their ideal gigs, and the area of the angular blob would theoretically represent their overall quality. So we now have a workable (if labour intensive) method of assessing drummers!

Either that or find out if their music is any good :D
And what if the amorphous blob wants me to play a style of music that I don't even like?

I have to agree with Steve, trying to graph a person is a waste of time. You would need EVERYTHING about that person to do it accurately. Do they eat breakfast, do they smoke, what religion are they, how often do they poop, what is their day job, yadda yadda yadda.

Even then there is no guarantee that the graph will amount to more than some poor analyst wasting their time.
 

criz p. critter

Silver Member
Like the Tao Te Ching says:
The five colors make one blind in the eyes
The five sounds make one deaf in the ears
The five flavors make one tasteless in the mouth

In other words, once you start categorizing, you lose more than you gain.
Better to spend your time playing, than to think about playing.
 
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