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  #1  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:09 AM
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Default Building vocabulary

As a drummer I like to write out all of my drum parts for original song's that I play with my band's. By doing this I find that I push myself way more the just coming up with things off the top of my head. But as of late I have been thinking about time constraints when it comes to getting thing's together very fast for recording and live show's. Writing out 200 variations in 1 song is fine when you have 8 hours a day 5 days a week to practice to be able to commit it all to memory. But that's really not feasible when you're crunched for time in order to pop out new material live or in the studio. Thus necessitating the ability to improvise very creatively at will. I mean all this specifically when it comes to Fill's as that's usually where the most variations occur within any given song. Writing and remembering beats for the song is generally much easier because of their being less variations and therefore less to remember.

So I've been thinking of the best way's to increase my vocabulary in the fill department that will allow me to express myself just as creativity while improvising as I can when I write each fill out. I think it will take a crap load of work and will be a rest of my life endeavor. But I think it will be worth it.

My goal is to start writing out fill patterns that I come up with and then at least 4 variations of said fill using different parts of the drum set. Then drilling said fills however long it takes to get them ingrained in my muscle memory to the point where I can just whip them out at will. Doing this with a handfull of patterns is not that hard. Take a paradiddle for example. But my goal is to do this with hundreds of patterns to where I can recall them at will for the rest of my life (that includes the variations) all while continuing to add more patterns and variations based off of those patterns to my vocabulary to always keep expanding.

I'm trying to base all this around my own ideas, original and a combination of preexisting ideas that have already been created by others also mixed with my own ideas, in the goal of creating thing's that are unique. I think its very important to not just regurgitate what we hear but to try to push it forward, as well as pulling from our influences to play thing's that have already been done that we like.

Just thought I'd share where my head is at conceptually as a drummer currently. Ya dig?!?!
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2017, 05:41 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

It's always good to have some direction when approaching a song, but there's something to be said for letting the music guide you. Sometimes a spontaneous fill works great, and you might never have come up with it by trying.

If you do find that a fill or beat works really well, then you add that to your vocabulary. Having a bunch of possible parts in your head beforehand means you're having to think too hard, rather than letting the song bring out your creativity.

Bermuda
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
It's always good to have some direction when approaching a song, but there's something to be said for letting the music guide you. Sometimes a spontaneous fill works great, and you might never have come up with it by trying.

If you do find that a fill or beat works really well, then you add that to your vocabulary. Having a bunch of possible parts in your head beforehand means you're having to think too hard, rather than letting the song bring out your creativity.

Bermuda
Nice! I was formulating an answer as I read Drummingman's post, but Bermuda's answer said it very well.

In my experience, a healthy combination of practice, jamming with others and performing will automatically do the same thing that you're trying to do so laboriously. In my college days I played with others for 4-8 hours every day and was never at a loss for an appropriate fill, because my hands were doing whatever popped into my head relatively effortlessly. Now that I only get a couple of hours a week playing with others (and after not playing at all for decades) I really miss the facility I had then.

The time that you're considering investing in this project might be better spent playing with others, if that's a possibility.
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

Listen to as much music as you can and vary the genre and style as much as possible. This gives you a very deep well of ideas that you can use to be inspired by the rhythms in the music you are actually playing.

Putting together a huge list of "in stock" fills will only get you so far... Not far at all actually. Again, think in terms of the dominant song rhythms and try to use fills to highlight them or contrast them. You want to get away from thinking "this particular fill would fit in this space, so I'll use it." Instead, you want to be inspired by the music and play something that comes from it.
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Listen to as much music as you can and vary the genre and style as much as possible. This gives you a very deep well of ideas that you can use to be inspired by the rhythms in the music you are actually playing.

Putting together a huge list of "in stock" fills will only get you so far... Not far at all actually. Again, think in terms of the dominant song rhythms and try to use fills to highlight them or contrast them. You want to get away from thinking "this particular fill would fit in this space, so I'll use it." Instead, you want to be inspired by the music and play something that comes from it.
I do see your point. But, I think about development of a ton of fills the same way I think about learning the rudiments. They are ingrained patterns that will come out naturally in a musical way without having to plan it out note for note. I see this as only a good thing to have.
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:17 AM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

I think you have the right idea.

What I think is equally (if not more) important, is to build your vocabulary of shorter patterns.

For example, in Gary Chaffee's Sticking Patterns book, you are given different linear patterns which are represented by a letter and number, e.g., 5A is Rllrr Lrrll.

Later on in the book, it then uses the numbering system to create ideas for fills, e.g.:

5A 5A 3A 3A

So what I'll do in this case is pick two of these patterns to work on in a practice session, and apply them in various ways around the kit.

What I'm trying to say is don't just create fills and memorise them - find or create components that you use in the fills, and then find ways to spell out or re-use those specific components in creative ways. Play them in various subdivisions (e.g., 5A played in a 16-triplet pattern gives you a 5 over 6 polyrhythm) to learn how they feel and sound in different timings.
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2017, 02:14 AM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

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Originally Posted by drummingman View Post
I do see your point. But, I think about development of a ton of fills the same way I think about learning the rudiments. They are ingrained patterns that will come out naturally in a musical way without having to plan it out note for note. I see this as only a good thing to have.
I think you might be looking at this a little too clinically and not musically enough. If you're developing rudiments then you have even less reason to worry about memorizing a silly library of "stock" fills to just throw into spaces you think they'd fit. You work so hard on rudiments and exercises for the purpose of having the skills to apply your own creative and inspired ideas. That's not to say you can't develop a fill for a song and practice it out till it's muscle memory, I just want you to get away from the concept of fitting your fills to music as opposed to letting the music inspire and create your fills.

I run across guys who thought it would be great to memorize fills and incessantly look for places to use them, and it never works out well. It's backwards. They end up sounding repetitive and it's clear that they're pulling from a limited pool of fills by the end of the night. I see the same thing actually with guys who get a little too literal with the rudiment stuff. It's really cringe-y when you can listen to a guy play and just hear him verbatim execute rudiments in spaces in the music all night.
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Old 10-25-2017, 09:21 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

Think about the difference between reading a book out loud and speaking extemporaneously(sp?).

each have such a different feel.

I commend your attempts to stretch your approach...and must admit I have never heard of a drummer working purely from written parts...even those who adore faithful renditions of their recorded originals.

It seems the skills you must generate to play reproductions would mandate the ability to compose at least a bit on the fly.
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2017, 11:59 PM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

Taking the thread title literally, guys who actually spend time memorizing "big words" and then looking for places in conversation to use them incessantly are just as annoying as drummers who play the same fills all over the place because they practiced them over and over to perfection, so then must show them off at any opportunity.

Also, one time at an old job when I was a kid, I got formally written up for using the word "discourse" when explaining something to the general manager. he didn't know that word I guess and thought I was making fun of him when I used it quite normally to say "that's not how the discourse with 'customer a' went!"
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  #10  
Old 10-26-2017, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

I'm approaching this in a similar way as Gary Chaffee or Rick Latham has in their book's. Building a multitude of patterns that is ever expanding that can be used in different way's around the drum's. This will no doubt help with written compositions as well as improvising in a song or solo concept.

I'm trying to combine ideas that I think work well together to create interesting fill patterns that are not common sounding. Obviously this does not mean that I will use said patterns all the time. But, they will be there for me to utilize when they will add to a song.

In reality this is what every musician does when leaning styles of music, rudiments, or patterns of any kind. But most stop at Learing something one way and only use it that one way. Thus never getting more out of their ideas.

So it's a mindful approach to developing vocabulary, variety, and creativity for myself as an individual.
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2017, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

Another reason for my wanting to ingrain a bunch of creative fills is for free form jamming. I suck at coming up with good fills on the fly. I'm able to come up with great fills if I write them out and have time to practice them. But on the fly needs work.
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummingman View Post
Another reason for my wanting to ingrain a bunch of creative fills is for free form jamming. I suck at coming up with good fills on the fly. I'm able to come up with great fills if I write them out and have time to practice them. But on the fly needs work.
IMHO, most of the most creative fills are created on the fly. Of course, I'm not exactly sure what you would consider a creative fill. Maybe post an example of what you would consider a creative fill.
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Old 10-29-2017, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: Building vocabulary

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummingman View Post
Another reason for my wanting to ingrain a bunch of creative fills is for free form jamming. I suck at coming up with good fills on the fly. I'm able to come up with great fills if I write them out and have time to practice them. But on the fly needs work.
In my relatively worthless opinion, the fact that you're not good at improvising is exactly why you should stop avoiding it. Work on your ability to turn a song's rhythms into fills and even progressions, your efforts will benefit you long term much more than the same amount of time memorizing patterns that you attempt to wrench into the music you're playing. That said, it's your journey, and you can/should do whatever makes you happy!
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