Myth: drummer's main role is to keep time

dboomer

Senior Member
Not sure if it's been said, but to me there is a big difference between keeping the "pulse" and maintaining metronome like time.

I don't believe it is the drummer's job to be a metronome.
 

MJD

Silver Member
I feel there is a situational element to this. When playing with beginners you absolutely need to be a human metronome for them. They need that and need to get used to playing accurately in time with other people. In a more professional situation your job isn't so much metronomic but you are the primary purveyor (with your bassist usually) of the time feel of whatever composition you may be playing. You fail to maintain it at your peril. I tend to think of both as keeping time though. At the same time I agree that once the tune is counted off the time is in the room and a shared responseabilty. If the other musicians don't then it won't matter how well you play.
 

jimzo

Senior Member
*Hired guns are exempt and do get paid for their meter. They are not hacks.

My meter is by no means perfect, but I naturally try really hard to keep things as tight and as loose as possible, because; I am one of four in this band and there is music being created and worked on.
When you start thinking and talking more like a Musician and less of a drummer the dialog changes and the respect level is never lost. You are heard. Most effectively you are not the Percussionist, but do not alienate yourselves in"drummer' myths. People go to school and have the desire to learn, and to learn in real-time. They really get to educate themselves on an exponential level because the are focused on the musicianship. Armed with those tools can help make your music endeavors hassle free.

Keep in mind if you are replaced, it is no longer the same song with the same feel, groove, intensity and dynamic's, that only you have brought forth.
e.g. John Rutsey's Working Man, or drumming, is not Peart's. Both extremes nice.
Get the respect you have worked hard at and deserve. If you need work, by all means lock yourself up in a room and have at it, but keep in mind you are more than just a meter. You can change the whole feel and meaning of a song that has been played a thousand times over. Your accents. Your phrasing. Find your place and make it clear to the others what you will be offering the others to hear. You most valuable asset is to listen to the music as it is being created. The music that is being brought forth by the other musicians already has a rhythm ! It is not your job to keep time but create the timing.

It is great to have a command of your instrument when you can go from thought process to sticks. If you have an offering for the part presented do not hold back at rehearsal, but at least have an idea from practicing what beat or timing you might be able to pull off and offer in real-time.

Don't be "that" drummer. Be a Musician. Less drama, less heartaches...
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think it's a privilege to be in charge of the time.

Yea, I'll take that, thanks!
To each his own. I feel it's a huge burden when I can tell they are using me as a metronome, playing to me and not playing with me. I don't want to be in charge of the time, I want the people I play with to have good time within them so I can worry about making great music.

In my lowly opinion, real musicians don't need the drummer to be in charge of time.
 

Frank

Gold Member
To each his own. I feel it's a huge burden when I can tell they are using me as a metronome, playing to me and not playing with me. I don't want to be in charge of the time, I want the people I play with to have good time within them so I can worry about making great music.

In my lowly opinion, real musicians don't need the drummer to be in charge of time.
I'm with you.
__________________
 

BranoFabry

Junior Member
This thread might be useful in another instrument's forums. I think every drummer knows that time is not only his/her matter but there is a lot of guitarists who think the opposite.
 

drumbler

Member
I play in a blues / swing covers dance band. I have to wear a click, and hang on to it for dear life, cuz the guitar player rushes the beat, has lousy rhythm guitar repertoire and technique, and has a tendency to start NOODLING and PICKING ahead of the tempo, when he SHOULD be locking in with a discrete rhythm pattern. This is very tiring, cuz when the guitar player rushes, the rest of the band sounds "draggy", and it's a constant mental fight to NOT listen to HIM, and try to concentrate on the click and feel of the song. If I WASN'T using a click, it would be "off to the races!!!".
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well I think everyone can agree that if the drummer, or anyone else in the band, doesn't have good time keeping skills it will suck! I like the point of an orchestra. I use to play percussion toys in an orchestra-crash cymbal, wind chimes, triangle and simple snare parts so you are tacit the majority of time-just keep time and follow each measure untill your part comes. A note off and you get the conductor gleam of death, but it is amazing just how beautiful something so simple as a single triangle note can be at just that right moment. At Christmas I loved playing the sleigh bells-there is a correct way to play them I discovered. But everyone is tacit as some point and just following along-you play your "notes" only when required (hey I like the sound of that-I'm making that my new motto" lol. Play your notes only when required. maybe some radioactive signs on either side to get my attention.
 
Top