Thread: Virgil Donati
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:23 AM
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Ben.G.Man Ben.G.Man is offline
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Default Re: Virgil Donati

Why is it that it is reguarded as being "unmusical" to play complicated music? Odd time signatures and polyrhythms are viewed upon as unatural, mathematical and pathetic for listening use. The truth of the matter is, it is more musical to play these complex patterns.

Now I realised a statement like that obviously seems barbaric, so let me explain. People listen to the complicated rhythms and say they are unmusical, but as a matter of fact, they use more music theory, knowledge and understanding to play, composed and execute them perfectly. Why is it that old Joe playing in the pub down the road has more feel then a giant like Virgil because he plays what every other drummer plays, that laid back groove. So many of you "groove guys" look at the same grooves over and over and think, "wow, he is so musical." But the problem is most of these grooves are unoriginal, have been played thousands of times over and generally playable in the hands of 2-4 year drummers (years playing, that is.) Obvious exceptions include Garibaldi, Weckl, and Colauita.

So when Virgil Donati comes onto a stage and plays rhythms with stick twirling showmanship and vast musical techniques such as dynamics, rhythmic modulating, accents, contrast and multiple tempos, he is not being unmusical. He is pushing the conceptual view of what drums are meant to do to other drummers. People state, "you couldn't put a song to what he plays." Well of course not, its a drum solo. That entitles the artist to perform what ever he or she wishes.

Added to this, those of you- Particularly Finn, advise us, "I have listened to his stuff, the videos and the planet x blah blah. He doesn't groove." Look at some of the videos of him playing with Steve Vai or Tina Arena. He completely lays back and lets the leads shine while he compliments the music with subtlety. But the interesting thing is, even though he is playing that simple, uncomplicated, repetitious (these are all the words that apparently make something musical) groove, you can still tell its Virgil Donati playing. And its because he has gone further beyond the ballistic patterns and phrases to also create himself a unique sound, the true work of a musician.

So please, before the comments come rolling back saying, "but... it would sound better as a drum machine/ this stuff should be left offstage etc." really think about what I have just said. What Virgil is playing is a very fine genre of music. It is not popular, nor is it widely accepted by even drummers (the head of rhythm), but because of its mathematics it is unmusical? Maths, science and music were considered the same thing in ancient greece!

Virgil is pushing the limits of music. If it isn't your taste to listen to the music then fair enough, but to say that a man who has been globally recognised for pushing the boundaries of music isn't very musical, that seems pretty absurd, doesn't it?
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