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  #1  
Old 08-17-2013, 12:40 AM
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Default Playing soft. Loss of energy?

No way.

That's a fallacy. Lately, in addition to my trio and my 6 piece band, I've been playing with this straight ahead Chicago style blues band featuring the lead guy, a harmonica player. He's got this steady gig once a week at a hotel. We set up in this outdoor patio area, it's got a bar and tables and is surrounded by big old trees. It's real nice. Anyway, after playing there all summer, we were told we have to cut it way down on volume. Like a lot. So the front guy, I'll call him Russ, he was all bummed out and saying stuff like, how can I do my thing if I have to tone it down. It won't have enough energy. That's a fallacy.

So I was trying to get him in the right mindset, saying that this is not a concert, we are background music here. People are here to eat and talk and enjoy the outside air. Now either we deliver what they need, or they will get a band who can. Everything will be fine. Suffice it to say Russ was not happy. Russ is used to testosterone fueled harp solos that are pretty overpowering. That's his style, he's a ball of fire.

There's a certain freeing element when you're just the background music. After you get past the initial few songs, you relax. You feel you don't have to "try as hard". No one cares anyway, they aren't looking at you. You have to keep it low anyway, so you just kind of coast. Then you find out that...you know, this is still cooking on this low heat setting. Not only that, it's cooking in a way that it never did before. It's simmering instead of burning. It's whole new world here. When you try less, you have headroom, and extra brainpower to listen closer, and you have the resources to think of some real tasty stuff, because you have energy to spare. I tuned my snare low and sloshy. With my 7A's it was just the right tone for that great low tech Chicago sound. So long story short, Russ found a new thing. Simmering nicely at low volumes is equally effective as burning at high volumes.

The management loved the new sound. People danced. We had the worlds cutest 11 year old girl imitating Russ when he soloed. Then she would flit off to the other side of the stage and imitate the guitarist when he soloed. She was a scream! I love kids.

After all was said and done, Russ was very pleased.

I'm no stranger to playing quiet, actually I have more adjustment when I have to play really loud. I don't have the real loud gigs too often anymore. Playing quietly and simmering is a skill I need to work. But it was really cool seeing Russ go from all worried to pleasantly surprised. Restraint is just as satisfying as letting it all hang loose. Pretty cool.

So that's it, just a little fable for y'all.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

It depends on the situation and music being played. When I'm restraining myself too much and more worried about volume than energy, I find it very difficult to sound right to myself with certain kinds of music.

Jazz, almost better at low volumes sometimes. It's touchy music, lot's of subtle stuff.
Blues, no problem. Simmer that %#($.
Rock, sure, but it might sound a bit wimpy-er at lower volumes.
Punk, not going to happen.

But yes, in your circumstance there, you guys came out of that one great. People eating dinner want to be able to talk, and rock. I typically use bundles or brushes so that I can keep intensity of playing while not being so abrasive to the ear-holes.

I will say, though... Sometimes that stuff gets on my nerves. I pay attention to volume levels and I've always been very sensitive about not hurting people's ears, even so... We still get the odd idiot who thinks we need to turn down.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

I believe punk can be played at a low volume. Wait a minute I'm mad at you. You called me some names as I recall there buster. I would be well within my rights if I asked you to vacate my thread.

OK I'm alright now, you're forgiven.

Wait a second, I take that back.

Oh nevermind.

I can't stay mad at you because I'm so happy Henri is here and Polly made 10 grand and Al got free drums. And there's a new Gloryhammer video or 2. Andy is close to finishing my Guru's. I'm going to London. I'm gonna go catch some bass in a little while. My black beauty is FINALLY sounding amazing with old emperors on it. So how can I stay mad at you?

But like I said, I think it's possible to retain the punk energy. It's not like it can't be done. In fact it would sound AMAZING.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
... I think it's possible to retain the punk energy. It's not like it can't be done. In fact it would sound AMAZING.
[/quote]

Agree Larry. In theory, punk can be quiet in the same way as a person can express anger and aggression quietly. Not sure I've seen it done, but I can imagine it. Still, it's not ideal dinner music.

As a young player I found it difficult to retain energy (and control) in low volume situations. These days I love playing low volume. I had fun being loud and fast when I had the energy and drive of youth. Now I prefer being relaxed and mellow with only occasional craziness.

One of the most enjoyable playing moment I've had at a gig was playing low volume background music for an outdoors fundraiser with kiosks and activities etc. We were just there to help set the vibe.

So we start playing on this late Sunday morning in a gorgeous rural setting in front of about 20 people sitting in front of us (hundreds in earshot) in the pleasant sunshine. As we played one especially laid back tune I noticed a man sitting at the front, eyes closed, foot tapping, blissing out to the music.

In my little musical world, that's a bullseye :)
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

I don't have a problem playing in an acoustic gig/jam. I can modulate the tubs just fine, but my cymbals don't open up completely. My ride pings fine at any volume, so she's not a problem; the 13" K-Hybrid hats cut just fine at any dynamic and my 10" K splash fits wherever needed at any volume.

Are my crashes too big? too thick? I use a 15" K fast crash, a 17" A thin crash and an 18" A medium crash. The 15" fast crash isn't too bad, but the two A's sound like trash can lids unless I whack them.

Any ideas on quiet cymbal work?
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:23 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
In my little musical world, that's a bullseye :)
Indeed, but it's a totally different bulls-eye than can be aimed at when you have freedom to really lay into your drums, crank up the guitars to 11, and get the whole crowd literally jumping to your beat.

How about we just agree that the energy is different in each situation, but we can still convey energy either way? Nobody is arguing that there isn't such a thing as "too loud" for a given place or circumstance.

This really makes me want to listen to a thrash metal band doing their best to play quietly, though. I bet it would look pretty comical!
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:45 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Simmering nicely at low volumes is equally effective as burning at high volumes.
And in my experience, it's a skill that will make a person much more employable.

Nice post Larry.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:05 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
This really makes me want to listen to a thrash metal band doing their best to play quietly, though. I bet it would look pretty comical!
While not a metal band, watch Nirvana unplugged. Dave Grohl just looks so awkward and uncomfortable trying to play quiet with rods. It is almost hard to watch.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:44 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by MrInsanePolack View Post
While not a metal band, watch Nirvana unplugged. Dave Grohl just looks so awkward and uncomfortable trying to play quiet with rods. It is almost hard to watch.
Even though I never really liked that show, I think Grohl did a good job. Acoustic shows are another animal all together. I played a run of 3 hour acoustic only sets for a while with my old rock band. It's not just a matter of playing quietly, you have to simplify or alter as well. Fills that sound great over the top of distorted guitars can often be way too much over the subtle bass register of an acoustic guitar.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by MrInsanePolack View Post
While not a metal band, watch Nirvana unplugged. Dave Grohl just looks so awkward and uncomfortable trying to play quiet with rods. It is almost hard to watch.
Hmmm I thought he had great touch in that performance. They all did.
To me they did the best job of all 'unplugging'.
EC and Stewat did too.
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Old 08-17-2013, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

sorry meant 'rod stewart'.


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Old 08-17-2013, 07:48 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

That would certainly be a challenge for me. I played in an acoustic-rock band years ago and had to really pay attention to my dynamics. It was a real eye-opener and challenging, but an experience I'm grateful for. But I don't know that it's something I'd want to do again. I'm just a hard-hitter by nature I suppose. I also like what Elvin Jones said...."Drums are made to be played HARD!".

I guess it's all debatable, but I subscribe to what Mr. Jones is preaching.

Anyway, good on you for finding the right happy medium and making it work. And I agree with you about kids being hilarious at gigs. My son is 2 and eats it up when he sees a band play. It makes me laugh, and also puts a warming blanket over my heart to see such innocence enjoying such a wonderful thing. Can't wait to get some sticks in his little hands.
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Simmering nicely at low volumes is equally effective as burning at high volumes.
So long as the sound is still rich, full, & clear - in my musical bubble, I'll go along with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post

How about we just agree that the energy is different in each situation, but we can still convey energy either way?
Absolutely, & a trick to master indeed.
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Old 08-17-2013, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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... I also like what Elvin Jones said...."Drums are made to be played HARD!".
It depends what you mean by "hard". Elvin's hitting is a lot gentler than many players today.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

To me, playing soft means PACKED with energy. Great discipline and great benefits from it.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:43 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by FoolInTheRain View Post
That would certainly be a challenge for me. I played in an acoustic-rock band years ago and had to really pay attention to my dynamics. It was a real eye-opener and challenging, but an experience I'm grateful for. But I don't know that it's something I'd want to do again. I'm just a hard-hitter by nature I suppose. I also like what Elvin Jones said...."Drums are made to be played HARD!".

I guess it's all debatable, but I subscribe to what Mr. Jones is preaching.

Anyway, good on you for finding the right happy medium and making it work. And I agree with you about kids being hilarious at gigs. My son is 2 and eats it up when he sees a band play. It makes me laugh, and also puts a warming blanket over my heart to see such innocence enjoying such a wonderful thing. Can't wait to get some sticks in his little hands.

I have a feeling that quote belongs to Tony Williams.

Volume control is something that I'm begining to control after many many years of playing. Its a two part battle. The first being the ability to play with the same intensity at varying volumes. The second is being able to control volumes of the individual pieces of equipment so that it sounds like a ' well balanced kit'.

...
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:30 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Volume control is something that I'm begining to control after many many years of playing. Its a two part battle. The first being the ability to play with the same intensity at varying volumes. The second is being able to control volumes of the individual pieces of equipment so that it sounds like a ' well balanced kit'.
Ain't that the truth. One thing I notice with many top players is they add drama and excitement with the difference between their general vamping volume and major accents. Not easy to do smoothly.
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

This is something I have to deal with a lot when playing rock/pop gigs at weddings and what not.

I struggle to play quietly and retain good tone. The kick drum is fine (just play heel down) but the snare looses clarity and, as someone else mentioned, the cymbals don't open up properly and sound kind of "clangy".

Moving around the kit at a really low volume is a real challenge for me as well. When any backbeat higher than 4 inches from the head is considered way too loud, how are you supposed to move around the toms quickly yet quietly? I find myself tensing up in order to not let the stick drop down at its normal velocity.

Finally, how are you supposed to perform visually when playing super quiet? Sure you can nod your head alot but that looks plain weird when the visual aspect of physically hitting the drums is all but gone.

The amount of times I've had to play with sticks but keep stoke heights around the 3 inch mark only to have someone from the audience later come and tell me: "You need to rock out and go for it more! Actually hit the drums, man!!!!" or that my playing was getting lost in the mix is so frustrating.


How do you do it? How do you "go for it, man" and play quietly at the same time?
Volume-wise, I like playing quietly but I've never been able to play quietly without affecting the clarity of tone or the visual aspect of my performance.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :-)
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Finally, how are you supposed to perform visually when playing super quiet?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7PZuZVDJy0#t=33

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Old 08-17-2013, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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I have a feeling that quote belongs to Tony Williams.

Volume control is something that I'm begining to control after many many years of playing. Its a two part battle. The first being the ability to play with the same intensity at varying volumes. The second is being able to control volumes of the individual pieces of equipment so that it sounds like a ' well balanced kit'.

...
Tony very well may have said it, too. But I specifically remember Elvin making this statement as well. Every big timer has probably said it at one point or another.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by Three View Post

Finally, how are you supposed to perform visually when playing super quiet? Sure you can nod your head alot but that looks plain weird when the visual aspect of physically hitting the drums is all but gone.........

.........How do you do it? How do you "go for it, man" and play quietly at the same time?
Volume-wise, I like playing quietly but I've never been able to play quietly without affecting the clarity of tone or the visual aspect of my performance.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :-)
A couple things that come to mind...Yo have to let go of a lot of things. Things like clarity of tone. Your drums sound better in the audience than you give them credit for. That's part of the fallacy. You are just not used to the tone. Let it go and just play, don't be manufacturing problems for yourself. You have to get out of the mindset that you feel you have to "go for it" all the time. You don't. Try NOT going for it and be pleasantly surprised at how well it can work. The visual aspect. Don't worry about that stuff. You will look as cool as you normally do. When you have great control and can relax and not worry about things, how can you not look great? Instead of bobbing your head, look around and smile. You have energy to burn because you have headroom. Relaxation is what it's all about. Not worrying about your tone or how you look. They're pitfalls. Just understand that you look and sound great and don't worry about those things....they're detrimental.

You basically are creating your own problems. Don't do that! Get out of your own way! You are not a magician. If you have to play soft, concessions have to be made. That's understood. But there are things you gain that make up for the things you have to concede. Like control. Relaxation. Headroom. Those things are pretty impressive to the audience believe it or not. They just aren't "in your face". It's very freeing when you can let go of things you cling tightly to and are more or less "naked"....unencumbered by fallacies and your own manufactured expectations. Let it all go and play naked. Be brave enough to know you don't need to give 110% all the time. Be comfortable and happy to play at 35%. It works MUCH better than you would think. In a nutshell, it's all about how secure you are.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

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Originally Posted by Smoke View Post
I don't have a problem playing in an acoustic gig/jam. I can modulate the tubs just fine, but my cymbals don't open up completely. My ride pings fine at any volume, so she's not a problem; the 13" K-Hybrid hats cut just fine at any dynamic and my 10" K splash fits wherever needed at any volume.

Are my crashes too big? too thick? I use a 15" K fast crash, a 17" A thin crash and an 18" A medium crash. The 15" fast crash isn't too bad, but the two A's sound like trash can lids unless I whack them.

Any ideas on quiet cymbal work?
I am by no means an expert but I did learn while auditioning bunches of cymbals this past spring that each have an intrinsic volume level where they sound best. Certainly it depends on thickness, size, bell diameter / style, bow proportions and all kinds of other esoterica. My good friend Erce at The Cymbal House very specifically guided me towards cymbals that would sound good at lower level of whackage in small rooms.

Maybe you need a couple cymbals specifically for this gig like some Constantinoples in the Zildjian realm or some hand-hammered Turkish beauties.
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Old 08-17-2013, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

You do have to alter things a bit. Like instead of a big crash on a crash cymbal for instance, you may have to play that crash with just the stick tip on the ride, softly. You still have to maintain your proportions, they are just in miniature.
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Old 08-17-2013, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Three View Post
This is something I have to deal with a lot when playing rock/pop gigs at weddings and what not.

I struggle to play quietly and retain good tone. The kick drum is fine (just play heel down) but the snare looses clarity and, as someone else mentioned, the cymbals don't open up properly and sound kind of "clangy".

Moving around the kit at a really low volume is a real challenge for me as well. When any backbeat higher than 4 inches from the head is considered way too loud, how are you supposed to move around the toms quickly yet quietly? I find myself tensing up in order to not let the stick drop down at its normal velocity.

Finally, how are you supposed to perform visually when playing super quiet? Sure you can nod your head alot but that looks plain weird when the visual aspect of physically hitting the drums is all but gone.

The amount of times I've had to play with sticks but keep stoke heights around the 3 inch mark only to have someone from the audience later come and tell me: "You need to rock out and go for it more! Actually hit the drums, man!!!!" or that my playing was getting lost in the mix is so frustrating.


How do you do it? How do you "go for it, man" and play quietly at the same time?
Volume-wise, I like playing quietly but I've never been able to play quietly without affecting the clarity of tone or the visual aspect of my performance.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :-)
Those are all of the problems with playing softly in a nutshell-- the instrument doesn't make the sound it's supposed to, the physics of moving around it at the right volume at performance speed are extremely challenging, and the bandleader, client, audience, and music all want different things from you which are very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile. There really isn't a solution that satisfies everyone, because I just don't believe musical performances are that scalable-- when you go below a certain threshold, your signal to noise ratio goes to hell, and every little room sound competes with what is coming off the stage, and people can't maintain focus on the music even if they want to. The professional solution is just to recognize that, given the circumstances, it may be impossible to give what you yourself (and maybe the audience, too) consider to be a good performance, and just try to satisfy the client/bandleader's one demand, that you sit on stage and make very little sound. Probably it would help to not look like you're in pain as you do it. I wrote some suggestions here which might be helpful, on what you can do about your actual playing.
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace
You have to get out of the mindset that you feel you have to "go for it" all the time. You don't. Try NOT going for it and be pleasantly surprised at how well it can work. The visual aspect. Don't worry about that stuff. You will look as cool as you normally do. When you have great control and can relax and not worry about things, how can you not look great?
I get behind the drums, embrace the challenge of keeping everything whisper quiet and just have fun doing my thing which is playing good music with nice people. But it's from doing my thing at gigs like that that have led to people saying I need to go for it more. It's not a mindset I just made up. I never paid any attention to the visual aspect of gigs like that until I received audience member feedback that I should be "going for it".

Perhaps I made it look too easy :p I've recently started to wonder whether looking too relaxed and in control comes off as indifference to a non-musician/drummer.....if you look like you're struggling a bit, some people interpret that as "going for it." Just a hypothesis.


Quote:
Originally Posted by toddbishop
The bandleader, client, audience, and music all want different things from you which are very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile. There really isn't a solution that satisfies everyone.
Yes! This is exactly it. As in the above example I played quietly as required by the venue and the band but then wasn't able to give a performance that some of the audience were completely satisfied with. It's tough to find that middle ground.
That's a good article, too. Thanks :-)
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

When playing softly, there IS a loss of energy. That is literally what lower volume is - less sound energy (amplitude). There is also a change in timbre from the drums and cymbals.

The challenges of playing at lower volume are very real. The drums don't sound the way we expect or want, if we are used to playing at high volume, and then there is the technical aspect of being ABLE to play at low volume.

The trick is to rethink it entirely. You aren't turning down the stereo. It's a different type of performance. As your harp player discovered, Larry, if you embrace it you can still make it burn.
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

The energy of which I speak isn't volume energy, which there is a loss of for sure. The energy of which I speak of is more musical intensity. To put a finer point on it, perhaps I should have said that just because there is a loss of volume, that doesn't automatically mean that the musical intensity is diminished as well.

Slashing the volume while still retaining musical intensity...is really the crux of the apostrophe of this thread.

But good point. There is a difference in musical volume and musical intensity. One does not depend on the other.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:27 PM
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There is a difference in musical volume and musical intensity. One does not depend on the other.
Egg-sactly. It is when people try to do both, using the same techniques, that they run into trouble, IMO.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:58 PM
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... You have to get out of the mindset that you feel you have to "go for it" all the time. You don't. Try NOT going for it and be pleasantly surprised at how well it can work.
True. I used to have a mindset where I was very keen on really cooking when I played (not Nigella Lawson cooking). I was into high energy music and high energy players so whenever we had to play softer I was forced to dig into my faux fusion bag (was keen on both fusion drummers too). I tended to be too loud, my timing would be messed up and I was generally put off because the vibe wasn't the same.

It's taken 5+ years of (sporadic, undisciplined) practice to make me really comfortable at low volume - yet even now, in the midst of the quietest ballad a little wicked part of me is always a whisker away from rocking out :)

Allowing yourself not to burn is difficult. You have to let go of your pride and let yourself be the kind of lame arse uneventful drummer you've probably always rolled your eyes at in the past. Timing is more critical at low volumes - everything is crystal clear, which makes you feel more exposed. Timing is the key to getting a groove on at low volume. That and internal dynamics.

Todd made a great point about some music not being very scalable. Crank up My Funny Valentine or turn down It's a Long Way to the Top enough and the songs become something different.

Also, some players are simply at their best soft or loud - they are just soft or loud humans. I was thinking the harp player in the OP might be one of them but he adapted okay.

I wonder how much of it is age-related. I have very little desire to really burn these days unless someone plays a line that "hits the switch". It's conditioning, like regressing during visits to your parents. But usually, now I enjoy playing in a way that's more mellow and "beautiful".
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:51 AM
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Allowing yourself not to burn is difficult. You have to let go of your pride and let yourself be the kind of lame arse uneventful drummer you've probably always rolled your eyes at in the past. Timing is more critical at low volumes - everything is crystal clear, which makes you feel more exposed. Timing is the key to getting a groove on at low volume. That and internal dynamics.
Agreed. It is hard. It's like saying to yourself, even though I have 500 horsepower available, I'm only going to use 20 of them. It doesn't feel right initially. It is very common for drummers to think they have to be trying as hard as they can, all the time. Heck, I'm way guilty of that too. I did that almost my whole "career". Only in the past few years did I learn that having headroom is much better than operating right at the edge of my ability. I flow better. The longer I'm on this journey, the more the illusions just fall away, and the more "naked" I become when I play. I don't cling to dogma, I simply let it be. Sometimes the very things I was scared of...when I let go and allow them to happen...they aren't nearly as bad as I imagined. And sometimes, they worked great!

My favorite quote:

I've suffered through thousands of catastrophies in my life, almost all of which never occurred.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:49 AM
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Sometimes the very things I was scared of...when I let go and allow them to happen...they aren't nearly as bad as I imagined. And sometimes, they worked great!
Love your work, Lar. Wondering what sort of things scared you? I'm afraid of big spaces.
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Old 08-19-2013, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: Playing soft. Loss of energy?

Great post Larry - I remember when I was alot younger, a band leader flat-out told me I will play softly and cook or I'm outta there - and he was right.

I think it's an adjustment thing too. But in my case, when I practice at home, I'm in a room and I'm hearing the drums really good. But when I went out and played live, I didn't have walls around me so naturally you want to play harder because you want that feedback. When I learned how to just play without having to get the drums back in my head so loudly, so many things just opened up. Not to mention the audience - they could talk, dance, do whatever, and we weren't nailing them to their chairs. It's a great thing to learn.

By the way - that thing you said about playing punk songs softly? That's been working out so far for me. I've been learning some Beatles and other punk favs on ukulele while singing them and I think I might be on to something ;)
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:29 PM
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Love your work, Lar. Wondering what sort of things scared you? I'm afraid of big spaces.
Well that was part of it for me too, the spaces. But it turns out that spaces are a great tool, very effective. Also just using 20 horses rather than 500. Also relinquishing control, just letting go and if something comes out so so, so what? It's never as bad as I imagine it to be. Loosening up and even letting go of the reigns instead of having a death grip on them is a good analogy. Letting the horse (band) run more freely. Trusting that everything will be OK if I am not trying as hard as I can all the time. When I finally realized that the band can run without me getting all worried about things, I stopped worrying. When you allow the very thing that is scaring you to happen, and it's not the catastrophe that you imagined, well, that was a very freeing thing for me. It's better to try less than try too hard in my case. It comes out better.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:30 PM
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By the way - that thing you said about playing punk songs softly? That's been working out so far for me. I've been learning some Beatles and other punk favs on ukulele while singing them and I think I might be on to something ;)
Interesting. Punk...actually all music, has a certain unique attitude that is not dependent on the volume. The Beatles and other punk favs? The Beatles are punk?

Punk-elele. You go Bo.
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:02 PM
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By the way - that thing you said about playing punk songs softly?
How about a bit of punk cabaret, Bo? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdAkUV9m7T8 (language warning for those of delicate sensibility)

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Also relinquishing control, just letting go and if something comes out so so, so what? It's never as bad as I imagine it to be. Loosening up and even letting go of the reigns instead of having a death grip on them is a good analogy. Letting the horse (band) run more freely.
I seem to play okay if I set myself a brief. The other week before playing I wrote on the back of my hand "Make the music beautiful and groovy" ("groovy" as in lots of groove, not grooovy baybee) and things went smoothly. It seemed to help me focus on what's important and regather the thread when I had moments of doubt.
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:50 PM
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I seem to play okay if I set myself a brief. The other week before playing I wrote on the back of my hand "Make the music beautiful and groovy" ("groovy" as in lots of groove, not grooovy baybee) and things went smoothly. It seemed to help me focus on what's important and regather the thread when I had moments of doubt.
Re: writing on the back of your hand...Groovy baybee lol...I find it helpful to name a goal on the ride to the gig too, just in my head though. Writing it down where you can see it is even more powerful. Whatever I feel needs work, I make a mini goal for that night. Like being more aware, smiling more, closer tailoring to the lead guy, more mature dynamics, whatever. Naming a little goal for the night works more times than not.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:42 PM
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Interesting. Punk...actually all music, has a certain unique attitude that is not dependent on the volume. The Beatles and other punk favs? The Beatles are punk?

Punk-elele. You go Bo.
Well, everything sounds punk right now. My ukulele technique sucks!
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:08 PM
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By the way - that thing you said about playing punk songs softly? That's been working out so far for me. I've been learning some Beatles and other punk favs on ukulele while singing them and I think I might be on to something ;)
Bo, now we have to see a video of that

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How about a bit of punk cabaret, Bo? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdAkUV9m7T8 (language warning for those of delicate sensibility)
Weird............now I feel dirty after watching that
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:50 PM
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Bo, now we have to see a video of that



Weird............now I feel dirty after watching that
Let me get my act together first. I'm not ready for prime time ;)
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:03 PM
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How about a bit of punk cabaret, Bo? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdAkUV9m7T8 (language warning for those of delicate sensibility)

Very cool! I liked that! : )

Sump'n tells me you might like this ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCoR0CYxJVU )


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