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Old 01-24-2013, 10:20 PM
Anon La Ply's Avatar
Anon La Ply Anon La Ply is offline
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Default Re: Should drummers call themselves musicians?

About rappers ... the question was asked so you can only assume that rappers' musicianly cred was considered by the asker to be questionable. There must be lots of musical laypersons who'd question rappers' (and drummers') musical credentials - and a smaller percentage of musicians.

Once you get to noise music (Duncan, maybe I should call it "atonal" since, as you say, "noise" is generally taken to be unwanted sound) most laypersons and plenty of musicians question their bona fides.

As always, you end up with a theory and practice and that comes down to why it matters whether you're considered a muso or not. The only applications I can think of are social and financial. In practice, the detail matters more - not whether you're a muso or not but the role you can fulfil in a musical outfit ... the genres you can cover authentically (or at least satisfactorily), the songs and pieces you know (or can wing) and the degree of improv skill needed.

Even then, none of that matters so much if the chemistry is off. It's all pretty well a moot point.

Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
But again, I've been brainwashed by enough bad jokes to associate musician with music - as in actual tuned notes, scales, modes, and all that - hell, many of us drummers think we're pretty clever if we can tune our toms in 4ths, or to just get top and bottom heads in tune with themselves. I'm not about to get all worked up by anyone thinking drummers aren't proper musicians, because by many critical measures, we're simply not, despite our contributions to the final product.

Drummers talk in vagaries like bright vs dark, attack vs round, sustain vs dry, but "musicians" speak very mathematically: integer multiples of specific frequencies. If someone's out of tune, a musician can hear it right away - how many drummers can hear when their batter / resos stray from whatever random shell sweet-spot "note" they were tuned to to begin with? Minor and major? Where is there anything similar with drums that isn't just some fleeting state and a happy accident?
Yes, I think it's brainwashing, Mike. Think about it - "a musician can hear it right away". Can they really? Most don't have a clue about drum tones and tuning.

We choose to play a particular cymbal or tom in any given moment because the tone sounds more appropriate to us in that spot ... that is, to play a different tom or cymbal would sound less in tune. How often do the "real musicians" correct us when we get it wrong? Never? To them it might just sound a bit off, but they don't know why. In most musics, we play by ear just like everyone else does.

The fact that other musicians are sensitive to their own tuned instruments and the relationship with other tuned instruments does not make them more musicianly - they know their domain and we know ours, with some crossover. Also, there are plenty of tuned instrument players with a dicey sense of rhythm.

If travelling up and down a stave in a controlled way is what defines a "musician" then, say, Neil Peart is only a musician because he does that diddle diddle dum thing on the glock during the YYZ solo ;)

BTW - "Paranoid, knee-jerk, defensive, inferiority-complex ridden wreck" - I like it :)

Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Noise is in everything we hear, say, do. It's there. The 'intention' part is interesting because if we're talking about 'Noise Music' - then there are a variety of definitions and meanings. 'Noise' usually refers to that which is unwanted - look at the idea of a 'noise floor' in sound engineering or photography - but by consciously constructing 'Noise', we introduce an inherent paradox or contradiction. That's where the field of 'intention' comes into music and that is a whole lot more complicated...
Thanks for that post, Duncan. It added much depth to the conversation. Still amazes me that a fascist could have come up with such groundbreaking ideas - normally you'd associate fascism with retrograde thinking.

Noise musicians must be the most likely to cop the "no musician" tag (and perhaps the least likely to care). You'd be hard pressed to find a layperson who considered the more edgy noise musos to be musicians. The bar always shifts. Once drummers were considered amusical noise makers, now the bar has shifted - at least to some extent.

So true that we dig noise without realising. I think of someone like Jamie Muir - how much he added to Crimson, yet most of what he added was sound effects ... brilliantly chosen and executed.

Another noisemaker that people might not think of in that context was Michael Cotton and his synth effects with The Tubes (before they had to go commercial to pay the bills). He adds so much to the tracks ...

Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
People hear music in places where there was never intent to create any. The expression "music to my ears" comes to mind. I can hear music in the repetitive rhythms and whine of machinery. But those machines were not built with the intent of creating music.
Yes, you can hear music in machinery sounds in that it affects you like music. I think theoretically that would mean you subjectively experience everyday sounds as music. In the end, the whole world is a sound track if you're receptive to it - endless textures, tones and quasi rhythms - Cage's piece was called 4'33" but it could have been called Forever. Certainly it was in Cage's perception.

All a bit of a digression but we probably flogged what was already a dying horse into the ground so we might as well flog some more dying beasts :)