Do drummers have a good sense of time?

backsmith

Member
Silly question but... who do you think would give you a more accurate time of day if you asked two people on the street what time it was? (both not wearing watches) A drummer or a non drummer.

Do you think we have more intuition on this than the average joe?
 

Nodiggie

Gold Member
Not sure if it's a "drummer" thing but I have a great awareness of current time. Probably cause I'm a clock watcher. I put my 8 and hit the gate!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Not sure if there would be a connection between circadian rhythm and microtiming. Like Nodiggie, I'm a clock watcher and I'm a pretty accurate guesser of the time but my timing as a drummer is nothing special.

Funny thing. At work in the afternoon I always hit the wall and feel depleted and unmotivated and let out a big sigh. I then check the time and it will always be between 1:50 and 2:15, more often between 1:55 and 2:05. Another woman in the office hits the wall at the same time; we theorise that it's post-meal lethargy.

I think that great time - in the musical sense - is usually the domain of advanced musicians; you'd expect an advanced pianist or bassist to have cleaner time than an intermediate drummer.
 
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backsmith

Member
Interesting that a lot of typical musicians are always late for appointments. We should be excellent keepers of time... yet somehow we also seem to forget about it. hmm...
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
The one has nothing to do with the other, except that both are called "time," though in different ways. I have a really strong sense of tempo...I can usually be told a tempo ("play at 120 bpm") and nail it almost perfectly. However, I'm hopeless when it comes to time. If I don't check my phone's clock every 15 minutes or so, I'd be late to everything.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Can't say I see any association with being able to keep up an 8th note pulse at 125bpm to accurately picking difference between 12.30 and 12.45.
 

Nick G.

Senior Member
well today i was at work and someone said "whats the time"

i said
9.25, looked at the clock and bam xD
i had last looked at the lock at about 8.30 :p

but i dono,ive never really thought about it.

i personally dont go round counting the seconds :)

would be a cool thing to find out though^^
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Can't say I see any association with being able to keep up an 8th note pulse at 125bpm to accurately picking difference between 12.30 and 12.45.
Time is time and people do all sorts of things with it like governing their economies, managing scientific experiements, pacing their exercise, planning wars and regulating their music. I think anyone who works with time a lot will have a better sense of it.

I am pretty good about guessing the time of day without a clock. I don't know how much of that is due to the fact that I am a musician, or to the fact that I've been paying attention to time for most of my 16,480 days, 11 hours and 53 minutes on Earth.
 

Strangelove

Gold Member
Silly question but... who do you think would give you a more accurate time of day if you asked two people on the street what time it was? (both not wearing watches) A drummer or a non drummer.

Do you think we have more intuition on this than the average joe?
Well, then we should be the time keeper for our bands, right? Check out the studies people have done by taking a metronome to all those 1960s and 1970s recordings. Tempos are all over the place. It seems the only perfect timekeeper is a machine or computer. But tempos from those devices put most people to sleep. I prefer the imperfect human approach, myself.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I know plenty of non musicians who can guess time to within 15 minutes so that's more of a human thing I think.
One thing musicians have that mere mortals don't :) is the ability to sort of dissect music and figure out what's going on to a much higher degree than your average bear....or so I've been told. Some musician probably made that up.

But back on topic, good musical time is something that can definitely be acquired if you don't have it. I know because I definitely didn't have it for a LONG time, but I'm far ahead from where I started from, mainly thanks to listening recordings and most importantly, adjusting, and proper tempos are always one of the most important concerns for me...it's something you never stop refining, this 6th sense meter/tempo feel we try and develop. I should just record the tempos and let a metronome count me off but I want to feel the perfect speed for a song without any help. I'll let you know when I'm there lol

Actually if you really want to get at the heart of the topic, good sense of time...time to me means meter, keeping evenly spaced quarters from start to finish. Tempo on the other hand is where a good part of your feel lives. If you play it too fast, too slow, a lot of songs feel "off". So tempo deserves honorable mention.
 

backsmith

Member
I am pretty good about guessing the time of day without a clock. I don't know how much of that is due to the fact that I am a musician, or to the fact that I've been paying attention to time for most of my 16,480 days, 11 hours and 53 minutes on Earth.[/QUOTE]

Hilarious!

I think time is time as well and if somebody is good at feeling it, intuitively knowing where the one is even after prolonged pauses of notes, one should be able to somewhat be good at predicting what time of day it is even if its been 2 hours since you last looked at the clock.

Or is it that only when we pay attention to it like when we are playing beats that we are really aware of it? Because lets face it we all loose track of time at some time or another, depending on what were doing.
 

backsmith

Member
Deathmetalconga said:
I am pretty good about guessing the time of day without a clock. I don't know how much of that is due to the fact that I am a musician, or to the fact that I've been paying attention to time for most of my 16,480 days, 11 hours and 53 minutes on Earth.
Hilarious!

I think time is time as well and if somebody is good at feeling it, intuitively knowing where the one is even after prolonged pauses of notes, one should be able to somewhat be good at predicting what time of day it is even if its been 2 hours since you last looked at the clock.

Or is it that only when we pay attention to it like when we are playing beats that we are really aware of it? Because lets face it we all loose track of time at some time or another, depending on what were doing.[/QUOTE]
 

backsmith

Member
Well, then we should be the time keeper for our bands, right? Check out the studies people have done by taking a metronome to all those 1960s and 1970s recordings. Tempos are all over the place. It seems the only perfect timekeeper is a machine or computer. But tempos from those devices put most people to sleep. I prefer the imperfect human approach, myself.
I prefer the imperfect human approach myself as well to a certain degree. When I listen to playbacks of our recordings the tempo is different at different times. At first I questioned this but it just feels right and gives the song more of an organic feel.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Drummers are generally both smarter and better looking than the average joe or jill, so I would say yes that likely extends to being better time guessers.
 

Funnyman

Senior Member
Guy: "Hey how late does your band play?" Leader: "Oh about a half beat behind the drummer."
What did the drummer get on his I.Q test?
Answer: Drool
 

BassDriver

Silver Member
There is a theory that your heart rate with your sense of tempo.

For example the disco drummers of the 70s played grooves at around 120 bpm, their heart rate would be around 60 bpm, and of course in music we like to base things around subdivisions of twos and even numbers (eg. the basis of octaves).

So the lower your heart rate, the easier you can feel slow tempo (as you can understand there are things that are way hard at slow tempo).

I think circadian rhythms would have something to do with it, since chemical levels (eg. seratonin) in the brain are associated with effect on heart rate...

...everything is effected by everything else...

...if a drummer good experience with tempo I wouldn't be surprised if he/she could tell time of day to within half an hour.
 

jjmason777

Senior Member
My internal clock is so good, I never wear a watch! I know what time it is within 10 or 15 minutes, even many hours after the last time I saw a clock.
 
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