‘N.C’ in drum notation

AndeeT

Senior Member
Hi,

Hopefully this will be a quickie.

I am trying to improve my reading so bought a bunch of second hand drum mags and am trying to read/play through the songs they have notated.

Most of the weird symbols I come across I have googled and get the idea but one I still don’t get is ‘N.C’ written above a bar. This seems to come up in almost every transcription in the magazines.

Google tells me it means ‘no chord’. I don’t quite get what it means even for instruments that can play harmonies....and I have no idea what it means for percusssion.

Can anyone shed some light please?
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Play melody as written with no added chordal accompaniment.

It is relevant for a drummer as you too know what's going on aka musician and part of the group, not just someone who plays the drums.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
In a transcription it would indicate that the drummer is playing a solo break, or is playing behind just the singer or a melody instrument.
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
I've seen people who do their own transcriptions use N.C. to mean "no crash" above a repeated bar. Probably not something they would do in a magazine, but that took me a while to figure out.
 

AndeeT

Senior Member
Cheers all.

So in the context of instruments that can play harmony, the composer is essentially saying ‘don’t mess around trying to play chords, just play the melody that I’ve written’?

I didn’t know it was common for those players to try and intersperse written melody with their own chords? I would have thought they just played what was written? Then again, for guitar, I only read TAB, and I don’t understand harmony enough to just drop in chords that I know would fit....

So for drummers it’s there to let you know what’s going on around you, so you don’t freak out if the chords suddenly drop out of the song ?

Looking through more of the magazines, the N.C’s seem to come up when there is a bar of ‘slash notation’. So, with the slashes and the N.C, the composer is saying, the harmony will drop out, but the drums repeat the previous bar, but can play some variation?
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
No chord generally means all the rhythm section instruments stop for a bar, especially rhythm guitar and bass, probably drums too. If it didn't say NC, the guitar, etc. would keep strumming the previous chord.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
The other situation for NC is where the band all play a riff rather than chords.

The opening of 'Smoke on the Water' would say NC until the bass line comes in, because until then its just the guitar riff.
 
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