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  #1  
Old 06-20-2010, 08:26 PM
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Default Drummer vs. Computer

I think, first the computer will substitute drummer in the studio. Drummers will stay only for live concerts, for a people who need a visual effect of musicians’ presence. The modern computer technologies can make a very natural drum sound without humans’ mistakes, good time keeping and very important for producers without drummers’ fee.
Interesting to know your reflections about that question…
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  #2  
Old 06-20-2010, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Computer isn't interactive and doesn't have feelings.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

This has been brought up before.

It comes down to:
People have been saying this since the early 1980's. Jeff Pocarro said in Modern Drummer in the early 80's he thought studio drummers would just end up programing robots remotely that would play the actual drums in studios.

But overall, it hasn't happened yet. There are still plenty of real drummers on real recordings.

However, it is far more prevalent today than in years past. Nearly every song in the billboard charts is a drum machine/computer, compared to just a handful in the 80's. Almost no one hires real drummers for demos' or just song writing sessions, because it's so easy to program something instead. And we have entire genre's that are based on either exclusive or near exclusive use of computers for drumming.

Where it ends up? Who knows. The violin is no longer the prevalent instrument in most popular music like it was 200 years ago, but the violin hasn't become totally extinct either.

On the other hand, you could say the same thing about keyboardist and bass players. It's pretty easy to program out all their parts and not use real people either.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Good drummers, like any good musician, have compositional skills we have yet to replace with a convincing algorithm.

If you are referring to the garbage music we hear in the majority of market failures released, then yes...it can be done.

To capture the nuance of peformances that can, arguably, be said to have enhanced the marketability of the music, I would say we would be replacing most jobs at about that level of technology.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Most musicians I know, know the value of human touch. When your musician friends start to hire machines, then there is a problem.I for one know that isn't going to be the case. Sure there are studio techniques that involve no human drummer, or bassist or keyboardist, or banjo player but that music doesn't last long. They may make a ton of money, but the tunes don't last. Same with films. The films that age well more often than not have real players on them. They couldn't program that snare in Pale Rider!
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

I've never heard any computerized drum-beat sound exactly like a human(or better). The closest thing is Superior Drummer 2.0, and even that, I can still hear is not a human(even with the best programmers). I'd like to hear someone program drums for standard jazz-tunes and such, probably sound very robotic.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
This has been brought up before.

It comes down to:
People have been saying this since the early 1980's. Jeff Pocarro said in Modern Drummer in the early 80's he thought studio drummers would just end up programing robots remotely that would play the actual drums in studios.

But overall, it hasn't happened yet. There are still plenty of real drummers on real recordings.

However, it is far more prevalent today than in years past. Nearly every song in the billboard charts is a drum machine/computer, compared to just a handful in the 80's. Almost no one hires real drummers for demos' or just song writing sessions, because it's so easy to program something instead. And we have entire genre's that are based on either exclusive or near exclusive use of computers for drumming.

Where it ends up? Who knows. The violin is no longer the prevalent instrument in most popular music like it was 200 years ago, but the violin hasn't become totally extinct either.

On the other hand, you could say the same thing about keyboardist and bass players. It's pretty easy to program out all their parts and not use real people either.
Most excellent point DED.

Here is the bottom line. Why do we enjoy art? Usually art, no matter how good it is, is a far second to the actual thing being painted. See a beautiful painting of a sunset. Never will it compare to the actual sunset. However, what makes it unique is the expression the artist uses to convey what he is feeling and seeing. We are looking at far more than a painting of the sunset, we are looking into the soul of the painter.

Music is the same way. Music is art. Nature can create some beautiful melodies; song birds, waterfalls, and other phenomenon. This is not music. Music is a gift only humans can create and enjoy. And the reason is that the greatest music comes from within. It is more than the notes on the page. That's why the best singer doesn't always have the most perfect voice, and why the person with the most beautiful voice isn't always the best singer.

This is what is so enlightening about seeing live performances. We can stay home and listen to the recordings through our awesome headphones to hear the music perfectly. We need to see the human factor.

Now, once I'm home, if I know the human factor doesn't have a part in the recording, it even loses its value and worth to me.. It is nothing more than novelty, no matter how good it is.
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

That means that our technique will not need, but our ideas will.
And person who has not a good technique can create a drum party of any difficulty level.
So we’ll don’t need to master our technique, we’ll need to master good ideas.
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  #9  
Old 06-21-2010, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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Originally Posted by Chermen View Post
I think, first the computer will substitute drummer in the studio. Drummers will stay only for live concerts, for a people who need a visual effect of musicians’ presence. The modern computer technologies can make a very natural drum sound without humans’ mistakes, good time keeping and very important for producers without drummers’ fee.
Interesting to know your reflections about that question…
You need much time too create a good drum programming, and you need good money to pay to somebody who knows how to create good drum loops so...
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  #10  
Old 06-21-2010, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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Originally Posted by Chermen View Post
That means that our technique will not need, but our ideas will.
And person who has not a good technique can create a drum party of any difficulty level.
So we’ll don’t need to master our technique, we’ll need to master good ideas.
Everybody can learn good technique, not creativity, ideas and feel(to an extent). I take pride in learning technique, similar to a sports-person learning how to jump better, run faster, kick the ball better. It's good that some artists have these tools to express themselves better, but the soul and feel of a real human drummer will never be replaced.
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  #11  
Old 06-21-2010, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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Originally Posted by Chermen View Post
That means that our technique will not need, but our ideas will.
And person who has not a good technique can create a drum party of any difficulty level.
So we’ll don’t need to master our technique, we’ll need to master good ideas.
I think you turned this around completely Chermen. Your statement suggests to me that you are looking for either a YES of NO. Some questions cannot be answered definitively either way.

I wasn't really even putting emphasis on technique, that's really not the issue. All I am saying is that the computer can master the technique but not the human element. Only a human can do that. If this isn't a fact then man can say he's been to Mars. A machine went which represented man. It's not the same thing and never will be. Until a MAN walks on Mars...

Laying down a diso beat on a drum machine is cool. We do this all the time. But, listening to the most awesome technical drum part that even has a fantastic feel, and shows the most excellent independence that you can imagine..WOW! ... well, is meaningless if you find out it was done by a drum machine.

Who wants to go to the circus and watch robots do acrobatics way up in the air? It may be cool from a technological standpoint, but, it would not arouse us like seeing two people on the trapeze.

Formula One Racing wouldn't be exciting if the cars were just programmed machines out on the track racing each other. It's the Human Factor that makes it special

People want to see the accomplishment of other people. That's what life is all about..!

And, I feel this applies to music too

additional thought:

Quote:
So we’ll don’t need to master our technique, we’ll need to master good ideas.
Ringo certainly survived this way. Great drummer because of his masterful ideas. His technique probably wasn't nearly as good as most of the drummers on this forum..!
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Last edited by ChipJohns; 06-21-2010 at 01:10 AM. Reason: additional thought
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  #12  
Old 06-21-2010, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

I like to keep in mind that a point that Jojo Mayer made. Computers and machines can only pump out ones and zeros. Yes's and no's. People have yes, no and maybe. That maybe makes all the difference.
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  #13  
Old 06-21-2010, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Did I miss something, or can drum machines improvise now too?
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Some nice posts here. Bear in mind that no instrument is immune from automation, even vocals. The pitch correction devices are increasingly synthesising vocalists and it's long been the case that beautiful people are thrown into the studio with some intensive lessons and the voice has been treated to sound like a professional-level performance.

The thing is, people ears are increasingly being trained to enjoy digital sounds - ones and zeroes. Since the 80s many bands have worked to make their music sound less organic. The grunge and post-punk revival in the 90s was a brief step back. Talking with some young people, they seem to find organic music a bit untidy and a little icky.

My guess is that organic music will become a minority interest in my lifetime.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

The human brain will always prevail....we are blessed with the gift of creativity. Machines can't think.....(yet). Relax.... your job, as drummer, is secure.
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  #16  
Old 06-21-2010, 10:09 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

ChipJohns, I spoke not about nowadays, I spoke about the future that can came soon. The computers technologies are quickly developing industry and nobody knows what will happen “tomorrow”, except Bill Gates )

Last edited by Chermen; 06-21-2010 at 10:23 AM.
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  #17  
Old 06-21-2010, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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ChipJohns, I spoke not about nowadays, I spoke about the future that can came soon. The computers technologies are quickly developing industry and nobody knows what will happen “tomorrow”, except Bill Gates )
Still, can a computer improvise in an emotionally meaningful way? I think we should first be able to have meaningful emotional relationships with computers before we can think of them as equal _artists_.
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:47 PM
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Still, can a computer improvise in an emotionally meaningful way? I think we should first be able to have meaningful emotional relationships with computers before we can think of them as equal _artists_.
There's already a significant number of people getting into very digital-sounding music, eg. #2 in the US charts ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQq8BnC3PH8 ... even the vocals somewhat robotic.

There's still popular organic music out there, of course, but the trend towards increasing digitisation has been pretty pronounced.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:05 PM
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The computers technologies are quickly developing industry and nobody knows what will happen “tomorrow”, except Bill Gates )
I always remember the saying "the only way to predict the future, is to invent it".
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

The difference between drummers and drum machines is the pocket...what makes a good groove groove, while a drum machine can play the same groove but not groove....if you know what I mean....

...and swing...there is a continuum on which to swing music...

Quote:
I'd like to hear someone program drums for standard jazz-tunes and such, probably sound very robotic.
Well, there's nu-jazz, but it hasn't got human swing if it has a drum machine...and it is debateable about whether it is jazz...

...the chaos that is released with the mention of that word...
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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The difference between drummers and drum machines is the pocket...what makes a good groove groove, while a drum machine can play the same groove but not groove....if you know what I mean....
i used to think so too until i heard meshuggah's catch 33
the album has pretty damn good programmed drumming work

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfcF5RkCFO0

for example the part that starts at 9:25 (the 11 over 4 poly) has pretty wicked groove imo, unfortunately for us played by a machine
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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Originally Posted by Chermen View Post
I think, first the computer will substitute drummer in the studio. Drummers will stay only for live concerts, for a people who need a visual effect of musicians’ presence. The modern computer technologies can make a very natural drum sound without humans’ mistakes, good time keeping and very important for producers without drummers’ fee.
Interesting to know your reflections about that question…
They tried this 20-30 years ago. Epic fail. What is so damn interesting about perfection? Its boring.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:14 PM
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Computer isn't interactive and doesn't have feelings.
Careful what you wish for... :)

Like others have mentioned, the human element is still something essential to not only particular genres of music, but to the basic translation of an idea or emotion from performer to listener. Unfortunately, I don't think we've set perimeters on computers to not think or feel, we just haven't come to a point where we can accept the quality being output as human-esque. Someone will eventually program a computer to create music that we won't be able to discern from that made from humans.

Having nothing to do with ageism other than the linear path it takes, younger audiences are surrounded by and accustomed to hearing programmed music more so than previous generations, who accept the technology as being a part of the tools of the trade. Were their purists who revolted against mulit-track recordings and over dubs? I'll bet there was, just as there are folks who have a hard time swallowing the sonic canvas that it today's popular music. I think sometime in the not too distant future, as it's already happening, the drum machine and other forms of electronic instruments in addition to computer assisted "writing", will be just as common place as the Pro-Tools rig, and will be accepted with little resistance.

I believe, (or hope), that music for the sake of art, rather than the bottom line, will continue to be a human experience. There will always be guys like Jack White who can string some wire on a wall and share feelings, there will always be audiences to go watch fellow humans perform a skill or talent on an organic instrument.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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ChipJohns, I spoke not about nowadays, I spoke about the future that can came soon. The computers technologies are quickly developing industry and nobody knows what will happen “tomorrow”, except Bill Gates )
If it does come to that, then it will be Steve Jobs and not Bill gates.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:22 PM
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They tried this 20-30 years ago. Epic fail. What is so damn interesting about perfection? Its boring.
Drum machine perfection in the studio is less about interest and more about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkOmcIl79s

.....
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:24 PM
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Careful what you wish for... :)

Like others have mentioned, the human element is still something essential to not only particular genres of music, but to the basic translation of an idea or emotion from performer to listener. Unfortunately, I don't think we've set perimeters on computers to not think or feel, we just haven't come to a point where we can accept the quality being output as human-esque. Someone will eventually program a computer to create music that we won't be able to discern from that made from humans.
We could already build a machine which juggles more balls that any human ever could physically do. That still doesn't mean jugglers stop doing what they do. Computers have beaten world champion chess players for years now, we still play chess. There's more to this than the product and the technique.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:38 PM
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Two questions:

1. Would you still play drums if everyone on this planet played drums?
2. Would you still play drums if no one else played drums?

Do you see where I'm going with this? How does other people's or compter's doings affect your own doings?

I would play. It's how I'm built. Doesn't matter if a computer is better than me at it. Machines are far better in most of the stuff anyways.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:57 PM
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... Having nothing to do with ageism other than the linear path it takes, younger audiences are surrounded by and accustomed to hearing programmed music more so than previous generations, who accept the technology as being a part of the tools of the trade.

Were their purists who revolted against mulit-track recordings and over dubs? I'll bet there was, just as there are folks who have a hard time swallowing the sonic canvas that it today's popular music. I think sometime in the not too distant future, as it's already happening, the drum machine and other forms of electronic instruments in addition to computer assisted "writing", will be just as common place as the Pro-Tools rig, and will be accepted with little resistance.

I believe, (or hope), that music for the sake of art, rather than the bottom line, will continue to be a human experience. There will always be guys like Jack White who can string some wire on a wall and share feelings, there will always be audiences to go watch fellow humans perform a skill or talent on an organic instrument.
Really well expressed, Jer. I hope digitisation peaks soon and there's something innate within people that will tire of mechanised music. I wouldn't bet on it. Kids are gaming heaps and watching CGI movies - their angle is largely digital. If they go out dancing or have a party it's usually to the strains of robot beats. The actual bands that are shifting units are mostly not very organic.

Older people can feel what is lost through digitisation - all those tasty "maybes" that lie between the 1s and 0s. However, the kids aren't so sensitive to that; they feel like organic music is sloppy and dull. They strike me as preferring their music more tight and glossy.

As Jer suggested, is this anything new? Those raised on acoustic music felt something was lost when bands went electric in the 60s ... lots of hand-wringing by diehards when Miles and Bob Dylan went electric. Yet we find Jimi and Bob's music highly organic. My gut feeling is that people even of my generation were already somewhat desensitised to the human element - tuned into the electric sound.

Kids today are being less sensitive to organic music too, just the next step. Just as metal's become more tight and fast and flatline, the same thing's happened to disco, funk and RnB. The hip hop sound is hugely popular. Big, flatline, perfect and glossy - more virtual, more divorced from the basic sense of stick on skin, fingers on strings, the unprocessed human voice. The evolution isn't finished yet - its all going to get bigger, tighter and glossier yet. Virtual music ...

Is there a threshold of digitisation where people say "Enough! Give me flesh-and-blood humans!"? - where some basic human need must be satisfied that 1s and 0s don't touch?

I don't know ... maybe we'll know in the next decade or two ...
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Listening to "Sway" from Sticky Fingers now... the dirtiest Charley Watts Drumming, which cannot be reproduced by any computers!.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:20 PM
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I'm also quite sure if you ever could program such grooves as heard on James Brown or Meters albums with all the nyances and microtiming, I'm quite sure you could also almost play them on a drumkit. There's so much happening that untrained ear wouldn't be able to tell what is it that makes them groove so much. It's not the notes.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:42 PM
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What's with all the flame bait threads lately? Do you just like stirring up shit then arguing or what? Btw, when drummers get replaced by computers, so do guitarists, pianists, vocalists, etc. In other words, "Duuuuuuuuuuh..."
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:52 PM
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Is there a threshold of digitisation where people say "Enough! Give me flesh-and-blood humans!"? - where some basic human need must be satisfied that 1s and 0s don't touch?

I don't know ... maybe we'll know in the next decade or two ...
i agree that programmed drumming is something we better get used to, like it or not. it's definitely a trend that's on the rise.

but have you ever noticed that whenever any of these modern superstar pop acts (kesha, lady gaga, the black eyed peas, etc.) perform they always have a live drummer on stage? they all use programmed drums in the studio but even they know that in a live situation, there's nothing like having real humans up on stage making the music.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:55 PM
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i agree that programmed drumming is something we better get used to, like it or not. it's definitely a trend that's on the rise.

but have you ever noticed that whenever any of these modern superstar pop acts (kesha, lady gaga, the black eyed peas, etc.) perform they always have a live drummer on stage? they all use programmed drums in the studio but even they know that in a live situation, there's nothing like having real humans up on stage making the music.
Are you sure it's on the rise though? It has been, but there's some backwards movements happening too where music groups that previously would have had electronic drums now have started to use real drummers again. Maybe they are a minority, but we can't know where this situation starts to reach equilibrium. And e-drums are also becoming more and more popular (black eyed peas actually use e-drums live too). I have had this theory that urbanization has been holding us back as drummers for a while now. It's not easy for everyone to practice acoustic drums in the cities. But that problem starts to be solved with e-drums. So who knows what'll happen.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:10 PM
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Drum machine perfection in the studio is less about interest and more about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkOmcIl79s

.....
Its still boring and based on what I see today, is not particularly profitable either
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:14 PM
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i agree that programmed drumming is something we better get used to, like it or not. it's definitely a trend that's on the rise.

but have you ever noticed that whenever any of these modern superstar pop acts (kesha, lady gaga, the black eyed peas, etc.) perform they always have a live drummer on stage? they all use programmed drums in the studio but even they know that in a live situation, there's nothing like having real humans up on stage making the music.
'They have been programming drums since the late 70's/early 80's. I don't see anyone with half a mind for music embracing machines. Only the mindless bubble gum machines generating noise for the equally clueless minions who steal it.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

as a matter of fact, i was just offered a job programming drums for a promo video. i'm gonna do it! if you can't beat the robots, join 'em i say!
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  #37  
Old 06-21-2010, 07:02 PM
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Pachikara-Tharakan Pachikara-Tharakan is offline
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

average music lover who listens to studio recorded music that he or she enjoys doesnt even care how the drum tracks were recorded!!...humans or robots.... feelings or no feelings..lol.... whats the difference?
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  #38  
Old 06-21-2010, 07:19 PM
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Thaard Thaard is offline
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachikara-Tharakan View Post
average music lover who listens to studio recorded music that he or she enjoys doesnt even care how the drum tracks were recorded!!...humans or robots.... feelings or no feelings..lol.... whats the difference?
That's not right. Heard about Indie-music? It's becoming more and more popular. It may be true that they dont care about how it was recorded, but I'm pretty sure they care about how it feels. The "average" listener as you call it, listens to music in context to their own mood. Happy = Pop-tunes with Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, Sad = Dudes with clunky guitars. I would think they would mind if there were robotic electro-drums in the latter example.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:24 AM
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ChipJohns ChipJohns is offline
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

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Originally Posted by Chermen View Post
ChipJohns, I spoke not about nowadays, I spoke about the future that can came soon. The computers technologies are quickly developing industry and nobody knows what will happen “tomorrow”, except Bill Gates )
I will concede Chermen. I think I agree with you very, very much, (please, I'm not being sarcastic but sincere!)

I can see things coming to that. What I do see though is an additional "art" form develop. Computer generated music acceptable to the masses. This doesn't mean that the musician will disappear. I feel 600 years from now there will still be orchestras that play classical music. There is nothing like the sound of the masters... That was music, and I think always will be. They may be using an improved upon instrument, however, a musician will still be judged on their musicality, technique, and human abilities...

Only Time will tell. What is even more exciting to me is the thought of things that are still unthought of.... What will be after next...!
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:19 AM
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Jivi Jivi is offline
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Default Re: Drummer vs. Computer

In terms of very technical playing, the average songwriter isn't going to be able to program that without knowledge of the drum set while using an accomplished drummer would probably easier.

Sure it's easy for programmed drums to be used on mainstream pop songs, but there is always going to be music out there that need so many nuances and greater musical requirements that programming them would be inefficient compared to hiring the right drummer.
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