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  #1  
Old 02-09-2017, 04:36 AM
ricky ricky is offline
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Default Famous Unschooled Drummers

I like Ringo, I think he's great, but he is famously unschooled and self taught (so he says). Much of his style derived from playing left handed on a right handed kit, coming up with things because he doesn't know how to do other things, etc.

My questions are.....

is his technique "bad" or "incorrect" in other ways?

And what other famous drummers appear to be unschooled or play incorrectly or with "bad" technique?
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2017, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

If parts are played well enough to successfully play in a band, I don't think technique or formal schooling is an issue. I think we all do things that we weren't trained for, or perhaps don't use the best technique, but that doesn't stop us from playing well.

But to the topic, didn't Dennis Chambers say he never took lessons?

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Old 02-09-2017, 05:17 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Ringo's technique is fine.

You want the ultimate answer to your question? Keith Moon.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

I concur with Bermuda - schooled or unschooled - that's not the important issue when you're talking about listening to good bands. Roger Taylor from Queen said he never studied, and he even taught a few kids with no formal training of his own! I remember seeing Chester Thompson play at a clinic a long time and his technique is very loose, you would almost say it looks "wrong and unschooled". But this was one of Frank Zappa's guys back in the day!
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:20 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

I think being self taught could mean very different things depending on when you started playing.

If you are self taught and you started playing before say the late 1980's, that means you learned how to play just by listening, or watching TV and movies.
If you were self taught after the invention and use of the internet, then you had much more formal information available on how to play the drums.

Two very different things.

I would go so far as to say that in today's world, if you have a computer and the internet, you can't be an unschooled musician. LOL


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Old 02-09-2017, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Buddy says he never had any lessons,but yet ,somehow...

I mean there are guys you see play that are awkward ,but have that musical 2nd sense like no other.

Purdie ,Blakey and Krupa come to mind.
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Old 02-09-2017, 07:03 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
I think being self taught could mean very different things depending on when you started playing.

If you are self taught and you started playing before say the late 1980's, that means you learned how to play just by listening, or watching TV and movies.
If you were self taught after the invention and use of the internet, then you had much more formal information available on how to play the drums.

Two very different things.

I would go so far as to say that in today's world, if you have a computer and the internet, you can't be an unschooled musician. LOL
This is actually what made me think of the question!

I don't really consider myself a drummer and have never learned anything proper.

But I started looking at some tutorials, things regarding stick height and everything, and realized I know absolutely nothing about how you're supposed to do things.

Made me wonder about people like Ringo, because he actually seems pretty good to me as far as technique goes. I wonder if maybe he did take some lessons at some point.
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:17 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
I would go so far as to say that in today's world, if you have a computer and the internet, you can't be an unschooled musician. LOL


.
Absolutey; there is no "self taught" anymore today!

To me unschooled means you had your few vinyls and your few concert visits,
and you tried to figure out by ear and eye what was going on, and get it going
yourself on the instrument with noone showing you anything specifically, or
telling you any concepts, basically.
I guess this happened many times in the early days of drumset playing, but
is actually not very probable anymore with the internet today, as you said.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by Seafroggys View Post
You want the ultimate answer to your question? Keith Moon.
Not true. Moon did have drum lessons. Early in his carrer, Carl O'Neil Little was his teacher and taught him e.g. some jazz (which can be heard on the Who recordings), rhyhtm&blues and Hal Blaine-style surf-music.

Ringo did not have any lessons according to biographies. Bonham did not have a drum-teacher, too.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Imagine how much better these guys could have been.....!!??
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  #11  
Old 02-09-2017, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Perhaps time to trot out one of my favourite "unschooled" stories to illustrate what can in some cases be the difference between schooled and unschooled players.
Rewind to 1984, a Sixth Form Common Room in the North East of England where the 17 year old me and my mates were spending time between lessons. A fellow student who was sitting an A level exam in music was trying and failing to play scales on a clarinet. My mate, who was and is totally unschooled, could see the trouble she was having so he got his Flying V guitar out of it's flight case (he had it with him as we were rehearsing for the Schools Sixth Form Concert) and went over to help. The incongruous scene of a Metalhead with his Gibson V, playing scales and telling the music student which note she needed to be going for next is forever etched in my mind. To me this was an example of someone learning music in an entirely siloed fashion, it was a means to an end the end being an exam pass, and someone playing music because it was "in them" and they enjoyed it. Yes an extreme example, I'm not for one moment suggesting that this is THE difference between schooled and unschooled or that one is always better than the other, because it isn't. On the same stage as us that day was another schooled musician who played the piano like an angel, I think maybe people should take qualities from both approaches and/or do what works best for them.
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Old 02-09-2017, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

I don't know if there is a "bad" or "incorrect" method to drums. If you listen to drums without seeing them played you may hear mistakes, but you can't tell if they made a mistake or played incorrectly. I used to coach swimming at the time that Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals in the Olympics, and if you watched and new stroke mechanics, his were flawed. But he was better than anyone else. Drumming, music is all about the sound. One can benefit from being taught or schooling but that doesn't mean others can't play as well.
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  #13  
Old 02-09-2017, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

The way I see it it's only bad technique if you cant play with it or it causes physical pain. I don't think Ringo has either of those problems.
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Old 02-09-2017, 01:45 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Phil Collins, Neil Peart pre Gruber, Peter Criss, Meg Shite, Keith Moon to name a few

Schooled or unschooled it's whether you can play in a group and make it work. You can't teach the ability to play for the song because it's a personal interpretation.

In the Beatles case they had McCartney/Lennon/Harrison writing the songs with the odd exception towards the end so they just needed a guy to keep the beat. Ringo was the man for the job, he played for the songs.

The opposite can be said of the Who where nobody played together and it worked hence Keith Moon. Again playing for the songs.

You can find any number of technical monsters on youtube who have never seen the outside of their bedrooms. Same with guitarists.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Try playing She Said, She Said and make it sound just like Ringo played it and then get back to me about Ringo's technique. True, it's more a feel thing than technique, but the whole ball of wax rolled together is what people are hearing and vibing on. The Rolling Stones would sound silly with Thomas Prigden wailing over the top of everything else. It's about making music, not putting on a clinic.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:37 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
You can find any number of technical monsters on youtube who have never seen the outside of their bedrooms.
This sums up a certain phenomenon beautifully
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  #17  
Old 02-09-2017, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by Ghostnote View Post
True, it's more a feel thing than technique, but the whole ball of wax rolled together is what people are hearing and vibing on. The Rolling Stones would sound silly with Thomas Prigden wailing over the top of everything else. It's about making music, not putting on a clinic.
So true. When I'm playing with a group, there's a certain magic that happens inside me when I can lock into the groove that feels right for the song. Lack of technique may prevent you playing that groove, but technique alone will never create and transmit it.
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  #18  
Old 02-09-2017, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by PlayTheSong View Post
So true. When I'm playing with a group, there's a certain magic that happens inside me when I can lock into the groove that feels right for the song. Lack of technique may prevent you playing that groove, but technique alone will never create and transmit it.

Spot on. I started playing back in the mid 60s and was not even aware there was such a thing as drum lessons. It would have seemed a strange concept to me at the time as the music I was listening to was being made up there and then.

I have never understood the fixation with technique. I dont even know what great technique is supposed to look like. I play in a way I find comfortable for me and it gives me no physical problems no matter how long I play. I can play whats in my head and sometimes come up with something new, to me at least, that pleases me. I have played in Bands with others off and on ever since I started playing, including Rock, Reggae, Soul, Funk, Prog and a bit of Fusion.

Never had a lesson with a teacher or even looked at a lesson on the web. Not really interested in received wisdom where music is concerned. Rock and Roll, to use a generic term, is all about your own interpretation as far as I am concerned and I can stretch myself physically and musically without help.
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  #19  
Old 02-09-2017, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Mikel - you say true. It's amazing how much variation there is (even among successful pro drummers) on this point. Some drummers spend hours daily on technique, others never do. Most of us are in the middle somewhere. I don't think the audience gives a flying fig for our technique. All they hear is the feel. I'll still limber up with rudiments, but chop-fests are to drumming what physics is to throwing a ball around the back yard.
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Old 02-09-2017, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

A person with a really great ear...compared to a person whose ear is not considered great...I'd rather be the person with the great ear obviously. We know it's not literally the ear, it's really how the brain dissects (or not) the music.

I think self taught players who have that natural ability to dissect stuff...drumming comes WAY easier for them. If a person's brain doesn't naturally dissect music, that person will have a harder time with music, lessons or not. This is not a proven fact or anything, just something I feel.

The best case scenario is a person with a really great ear, who LOVES music, who takes lessons with a great teacher, and who has a great work ethic, meaning they like to rehearse themselves. And they have a place to practice. All the natural ability and great work ethic means nothing if you don't have a place to work it all out. On an acoustic drumset, not a pad or an E kit, although they are better than not rehearsing.

A person with a "bad" ear, who has a crap work ethic, but who takes lessons with a great teacher...Give me the hard worker unschooled guy with a good ear any day.

I know for me, my teachers I studied with, thankfully put a great deal of emphasis on my hand and foot technique as the first thing to learn. If I never studied with these men, I would not be enjoying the spot I have now. They were that essential for my "success" at drumming. Learning a good stick technique completely transformed my drumming, fairly quickly too I might add. So naturally I think that studying how to most efficiently work a drumstick...I think it's something everyone should do. Only because I saw the 180 it did in my own drumming life.

Schooled, unschooled...at the end of the day, it's all about the music created. As long as the net effect of the music is what it's supposed to be, how a person accomplished it...really doesn't matter to the listeners.

You don't have to go to school to be great. But it sure helps!
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

I learned to play the drums in the early 60's by listening to Ventures records and trying to recreate what I thought I heard Mel Taylor doing. Now when I have to learn a song I'm all over YouTube looking at drums covers. For me, I guess I'm still unschooled but the internet has certainly made life easier.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Proper technique and instruction does have its place.
Garabaldi had trouble making it through gigs with TOP back in his earlier days.
He then studied with Chuck Brown and he wasn't dead at the end of a set.
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  #23  
Old 02-09-2017, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
Phil Collins, Neil Peart
Phil Collins:

Collins studied drum rudiments as a teenager, first learning basic rudiments under Lloyd Ryan and later studying further under Frank King. Collins recalled: "Rudiments I found very, very helpful – much more helpful than anything else because they're used all the time. In any kind of funk or jazz drumming, the rudiments are always there."[31] He never learned to read and write conventional musical notation and instead used a system he devised himself.[27] He later regretted this, saying: "I never really came to grips with the music. I should have stuck with it. I've always felt that if I could hum it, I could play it. For me, that was good enough, but that attitude is bad."[31] Ryan recalled: "Phil always had a problem with reading. That was always a big problem for him. That’s a shame because reading drum music isn't that difficult."

Neil Peart:

His parents bought him a drum kit for his 14th birthday and he began taking lessons from Don George at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music.

Peter Criss:

He was an avid art student and a swing aficionado.[4] While playing with bandleader Joey Greco, Criss ended up studying under his idol, Gene Krupa, at the Metropole Club in New York.[5] This turned into an active musical career as he went on to play jazz and rock with a number of bands in New York and New Jersey throughout the 1960s.

Keith Moon:

Moon took lessons from one of the loudest contemporary drummers, Screaming Lord Sutch's Carlo Little, at ten shillings per lesson.[11] Moon's early style was influenced by jazz, American surf music and rhythm and blues, exemplified by noted Los Angeles studio drummer Hal Blaine. His favourite musicians were jazz artists, particularly Gene Krupa (whose flamboyant style he subsequently copied).[12] Moon also admired Elvis Presley's original drummer DJ Fontana, the Shadows' original drummer Tony Meehan[13] and the Pretty Things' Viv Prince.

Last edited by ricky; 02-10-2017 at 12:18 AM.
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  #24  
Old 02-10-2017, 12:00 AM
Wave Deckel Wave Deckel is offline
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

It's IMHO really annoying that people name drummers here without doing a proper research on them (which is not hard at all in times of goole and co.). Thanks ricky for checking the Collins and Peart biography and correcting this.
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  #25  
Old 02-10-2017, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by Wave Deckel View Post
Thanks ricky for checking the Collins and Peart biography and correcting this.
Edited with some info on Peter Criss and Keith Moon!

I think Meg "Shite", or White, is the only one who appears to have had no lessons, although Jack White probably showed her what to do, as he played drums from an early age, and played in his high school band.
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Jose Pasillas of Incubus is self taught.

He might not be of the caliber of some of the other contemporary drummers brought up in the thread but he definitely deserves a nod in a more modern sense.

He has excellent high hat work as well as an impeccable feel behind the kit !
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by Wave Deckel View Post
It's IMHO really annoying that people name drummers here without doing a proper research on them (which is not hard at all in times of goole and co.). Thanks ricky for checking the Collins and Peart biography and correcting this.
Nearly as annoying as sending people private messages telling you to edit your posts?

No need to get so worked up I'm not the pope. I'm not infallible.

If there are teachers that have knowingly taught them that technique i.e Keith Moon, Phil Collins etc (before the likes of Criss and Peart sought professional help) then they need shooting.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:07 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Quote:
Originally Posted by ricky View Post
Phil Collins:

Collins studied drum rudiments as a teenager, first learning basic rudiments under Lloyd Ryan and later studying further under Frank King. Collins recalled: "Rudiments I found very, very helpful – much more helpful than anything else because they're used all the time. In any kind of funk or jazz drumming, the rudiments are always there."[31] He never learned to read and write conventional musical notation and instead used a system he devised himself.[27] He later regretted this, saying: "I never really came to grips with the music. I should have stuck with it. I've always felt that if I could hum it, I could play it. For me, that was good enough, but that attitude is bad."[31] Ryan recalled: "Phil always had a problem with reading. That was always a big problem for him. That’s a shame because reading drum music isn't that difficult."

Neil Peart:

His parents bought him a drum kit for his 14th birthday and he began taking lessons from Don George at the Peninsula Conservatory of Music.

Peter Criss:

He was an avid art student and a swing aficionado.[4] While playing with bandleader Joey Greco, Criss ended up studying under his idol, Gene Krupa, at the Metropole Club in New York.[5] This turned into an active musical career as he went on to play jazz and rock with a number of bands in New York and New Jersey throughout the 1960s.

Keith Moon:

Moon took lessons from one of the loudest contemporary drummers, Screaming Lord Sutch's Carlo Little, at ten shillings per lesson.[11] Moon's early style was influenced by jazz, American surf music and rhythm and blues, exemplified by noted Los Angeles studio drummer Hal Blaine. His favourite musicians were jazz artists, particularly Gene Krupa (whose flamboyant style he subsequently copied).[12] Moon also admired Elvis Presley's original drummer DJ Fontana, the Shadows' original drummer Tony Meehan[13] and the Pretty Things' Viv Prince.
Well if Wikipedia says all of the above (which it does) then it must be gospel.

Congratulations on being able to copy and paste, real PhD level research there!
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:57 AM
ricky ricky is offline
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Originally Posted by mikyok View Post
Well if Wikipedia says all of the above (which it does) then it must be gospel.

Congratulations on being able to copy and paste, real PhD level research there!
Sorry I took 2 seconds to google the artists you listed and found what I found on wiki. I guess they have no useful info and everyone should just believe whatever you say as gospel?

If you have some further PhD research, feel free to share it.
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

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Imagine how much better these guys could have been.....!!??
...or would they have sounded like everyone else that went through the mill? (or, at least every person that went through the mill more times)
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Famous Unschooled Drummers

Most of the famous jazz drummers were unschooled: Buddy Rich, Sam Woodyard, Art Blakey, et cetera...


Whenever a new genre starts, the players are usually going to be unschooled. It's the same with various types of classical music, rock, jazz, punk, et cetera.
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