Drummer vs. Computer

Chermen

Member
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…
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
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.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
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.
 

fat in the middle

Senior Member
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!
 

Thaard

Platinum Member
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.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
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.
 

Chermen

Member
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.
 

Toza

Senior Member
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...
 

Thaard

Platinum Member
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.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
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:

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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Adam B

Senior Member
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.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
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.
 

brownie1969

Senior Member
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.
 

Chermen

Member
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 )
 
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JPW

Silver Member
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_.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
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.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
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".
 

BassDriver

Silver Member
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...

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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