why are drums apparently "obnoxious"?

jtkiv

Member
Alright, in this day and age drums are one of the most suppressed instruments. I'm not here to gripe, I want to know why. What is it about drums that people have trouble with? Perhaps that along with other percussion instruments, drums are kinda the only thing you cant play notes on. Well, I know you can tune to notes, but if someone asked you to give them an A, you'd laugh at their stupidity kinda thing. I seem to hear "they're loud" a lot... awesome isn't it? So what reasons do people give you when they tell you drums are annoying? If people think they are annoying, theres nothing much we can do about it, but I'm ready to find out what makes people think that. So what do you hear?
 

Mikebike88

Member
Drums ARE loud, and obnoxious! That's what makes them awesome! But to answer your question, I think that some people get the misconception that drums are loud and obnoxious(in the bad way) because of some experience they've had with drums. For instance maybe they had to listen to a neighbor who is a novice drummer bash away randomly for hours on end. Who knows...
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of well-defined melody inherent in the Western trap set. It's possible to play a set melodically, but most people don't play that way and when they do, the melodies are more subtle than, say a violin or piano.

Also, most drummers play way too loud. The music industry eggs this on, selling us gear to "cut through" the rest of the band, but with no consideration if that's what anyone else wants to hear. We have worked hard and loud to earn a reputation as oafs and we spend a lot of money on gear to keep it up.

The Western trap set is also a new instrument, maybe 70 years old in its current configuration, and that might be a factor. Western trap sets seem to reach their apex of creativity and potential in jazz, but jazz is a tiny segment of the market. It hasn't been the dominant form of pop music in more than 50 years.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I had an experience at a clinic I did a while back that might help explain this. I was teaching at a band retreat, and there were 3 drum sets set up. The room was full of people. One of the drummers there, obviously inexperienced, got on one of the drum kits and began to play the easiest rock beat you know very badly and at louder than full volume. Everyone in the room jumps, looks at him like he's a jerk, and half the people start leaving the room. He stops, embarrassed, and walks away. I hopped on another kit really quickly, seeing this as an opportunity to make a point in the session I was about to give. I picked up the sticks and started to groove my butt off at a very quiet volume. I gradually got a little louder, but not too much louder. Some people started to notice and others started to bob their heads unintentionally. A crowd started to gather around the kit, so I started to show off a little, and the people got really into it for about 5 minutes until I stopped to begin teaching. The kid who played before me, almost as if this were scripted, came up to me right afterwords and asked why everyone seemed to like my playing better than his. Explained to him, and the drummers, that when you play the drums, think of it as a conversation or a dialogue. Do you want someone you don't know to start talking to you really loudly and keep this loud brash tone up, or would you rather they invite you into a conversation and respond to you, creating a dialogue? There are a LOT of drummers who don't play to charm an audience, but to "express themselves". There's nothing wrong with that, except if you want a captive audience. Another example is hearing drummers, like in certain music stores, that just play on and on and on while you're trying to shop or look around. To most people, they're being uncourteous to those around them. They're "getting their jollies out" or "showing off" without consideration for the people around them who might not necessarily want to listen to someone play at the moment. Think of it like the number of people who probably skipped this posting because it is very long and had no breaks in it. People just don't have the attention span to give others, even if the person is being sincere. They just see it as an inconvenience and will look for a simpler path (skip the post, go into another part of the store, etc...). It's a way of objectifying something that doesn't fit into your direct taste or path.

Done.
 

drumhead61

Gold Member
I had an experience at a clinic I did a while back that might help explain this. I was teaching at a band retreat, and there were 3 drum sets set up. The room was full of people. One of the drummers there, obviously inexperienced, got on one of the drum kits and began to play the easiest rock beat you know very badly and at louder than full volume. Everyone in the room jumps, looks at him like he's a jerk, and half the people start leaving the room. He stops, embarrassed, and walks away. I hopped on another kit really quickly, seeing this as an opportunity to make a point in the session I was about to give. I picked up the sticks and started to groove my butt off at a very quiet volume. I gradually got a little louder, but not too much louder. Some people started to notice and others started to bob their heads unintentionally. A crowd started to gather around the kit, so I started to show off a little, and the people got really into it for about 5 minutes until I stopped to begin teaching. The kid who played before me, almost as if this were scripted, came up to me right afterwords and asked why everyone seemed to like my playing better than his. Explained to him, and the drummers, that when you play the drums, think of it as a conversation or a dialogue. Do you want someone you don't know to start talking to you really loudly and keep this loud brash tone up, or would you rather they invite you into a conversation and respond to you, creating a dialogue? There are a LOT of drummers who don't play to charm an audience, but to "express themselves". There's nothing wrong with that, except if you want a captive audience. Another example is hearing drummers, like in certain music stores, that just play on and on and on while you're trying to shop or look around. To most people, they're being uncourteous to those around them. They're "getting their jollies out" or "showing off" without consideration for the people around them who might not necessarily want to listen to someone play at the moment. Think of it like the number of people who probably skipped this posting because it is very long and had no breaks in it. People just don't have the attention span to give others, even if the person is being sincere. They just see it as an inconvenience and will look for a simpler path (skip the post, go into another part of the store, etc...). It's a way of objectifying something that doesn't fit into your direct taste or path.

Done.

Excellent point Caddy! And I did read it all...but then again I do not always take the least path of resistance
 

Strangelove

Gold Member
Here's my experience. Play a straight rock beat and try to dazzle people with blinding footwork or handwork and they generally get up and leave. Most non-drummers really don't care to hear us show off. It's just noise to them.

Now on the other hand, lay down a groove that people can't resist moving to, they will start looking your way and smiling.

Other musical instruments are melodic and can sound good to other people played by themselves by experienced musicians. Drums have to rely on rythms rather than melodies. Blinding fills do not satisfy most people's musical tastes.
 

wert90

Member
Think of it like the number of people who probably skipped this posting because it is very long and had no breaks in it. People just don't have the attention span to give others, even if the person is being sincere.

yer but you could have made it into paragraphs, that would have made me read it!

saying that, i obviously did read the post. and yes i agree
 

Strangelove

Gold Member
. Western trap sets seem to reach their apex of creativity and potential in jazz, but jazz is a tiny segment of the market. It hasn't been the dominant form of pop music in more than 50 years.
I agree. And I've been waiting for something new for years, and the main innovation in drums I have heard over the last 20 years is pop stars replacing us with drum machines.............sigh
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
There is a time and a place for everything (so they say). And so, there are times when it's OK to be LOUD, and then times when it's not. And a lot of drummers don't know "when" or "how" to dial it back. You can play "in a band" or you can play "on top of a band".
 
As others have alluded to, I don't think its drums as an instrument that are obnoxious, I think its the DRUMMER. The thing is, it is very tempting to play the drums very loud and very fast. Would you sit around and listen to someone playing bass as loud and as fast as they could? What about a trumpet? Sure, some people will dig the bassist and trumpeter, but not everyone. Most people want to hear music, which generally consists of a melody, harmony, and a rhythm section. Any one of those can be good in solo, but it has to be above average for people to take notice.

One thing most drummers don't understand or accept is that the drumset is an instrument of accompaniment. Sure, we all as drummers like hearing 5 minute drum solos and such, but the other 99% of the population isn't as interested. The truth is, the drum set isn't supposed to be a solo instrument.

*dodges beer bottles*
 

Ironcobra

Platinum Member
Drums are like homosexuals. At first you are like "Ahhhh!!!! what is that! stop it!", but over time you realize that there is a lot more to it and that they deserve as much respect as any other person (instrument).
 
W

Whitedrummer

Guest
Drums are like homosexuals. At first you are like "Ahhhh!!!! what is that! stop it!", but over time you realize that there is a lot more to it and that they deserve as much respect as any other person (instrument).
I don't know about you, but my drums are not gay.
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
hmmm... all very interesting, it seems (in my experience) that people don't necessarily think that drums are "loud and obnoxious" more so the style of music/type of drums (acoustic, electronic....) my point being that in some of the lighter side projects i'm involved with they love my drumming as long as it on an electronic kit, most likely due to the fact it has a volume knob

-Jonathan
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Drums are obnoxious. If obnoxious musicians play them.

Have you heard Paul Motian play drums?

If you haven't, please do. He will forever banish from your heart, this ugly association.
 
Drums are obnoxious. If obnoxious musicians play them.

Have you heard Paul Motian play drums?

If you haven't, please do. He will forever banish from your heart, this ugly association.
Good on you, mate.
I like that, straight forward. Drums are great for great people and musicians.

All The Best,
 

jtkiv

Member
just in case - i dont think drums are obnoxious else i probably wouldn't play :)

too bad other people can't see it as the drummer not the drums. Most people I've ever talked to just don't care for drums at all. Like when people ask if i play an instrument, and I say drums, they go well uh.. do you play something like guitar??? :) its kinda funny. Anyways, the purpose of the post was to find out what non-drummers think, cause I've started asking people more about why they don't like drums, to try and gain drums some sort of respect (maybe acceptance) from the people I talk to :). Usually they can't figure out what they don't like about them other than "they're loud". I think secretly they're all harvesting hate against drums cause they can't figure out how to play them...
 

airsmunch1

Member
There is something inside every drummer that keeps going after everyone else has stopped. It is the metronome inside of us that constantly picks up the beat of everything around us.

In the car you start to formulate a pattern after the sound of the tires over the bumps in the freeway that repeat, or to the cadence of the turn indicators.

A ticking clock, the drip from a faucet, the sway of the trees in the wind, the pounding rain, thunder in the sky, the cadence of how people talk. These are all basic building blocks for how we construct the beat. And we keep the beat going long after the source has stopped.

When something begins to show the slightest signs of a pattern, we start building to or playing along with it. It is our nature. Without it, we wouldn't hold the beat when we play.

So the answer is simple, even though everyone else as stopped playing their instruments, drummers continue on after the melody has stopped.

And that my friend, to a non drummer, is obnoxious.

As for being too loud, play a venue that requires amplification and see what everyone says! You start off being the quietest instrument needing the most amplification to get to the proper level!!!

www.wolvesatthedoor.com
 
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