Drumming expression

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
What emotions can be clearly conveyed by drums?

I can't think of many ... cheerfulness, anger, humour, cheekiness ... any more?
 

johanisu

Member
Interesting thought. Though I think drums are very reliant on the context created by the other instruments. If you think of an elvin jones solo, it could be taken as aggressive in one context but as an orgiastic- maybe even possessed- celebration in another (similar to west african drumming), just depends on how Trane set it up. I've always thought spoken word poetry set to jazz or just drums even can be interesting, and trying to convey what the poet is saying in what and how you play. Also there's this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_medMtWoQQ
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Nice post, johanisu. I agree that we rely on the others a lot. That video and soundtrack is a powerful artistic statement - and dramatic.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
I think you can create any atmosphere with drums. Context is always important too, though.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Excitement - speed up a bit for a part.
Mellowness - lower the dynamics.
Epic-ness - hold back enough that the peak of a song stands out more.
Un-easyness - displace a bit of the beat.
Un-evenness - drop parts of the beat.
Lock-ness - play like a lake monster
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Funny you did this thread Pol, I was thinking something similar. I think that with any musical instrument, it musically illustrates your personality, for better or for worse.
I think any emotion that can be felt can be conveyed through any musical instrument.

(Well perhaps murderous rage isn't well translated with the banjo, the banjo has such a happy sound..)

But you get the point. Peoples personalities are a big part of their playing. I am in the house band for an open mic blues jam every week and I get to see lots of people get up and play. Their personalities and/or their moods definitely come through in their playing. I think I'd go as far as to say that you can't separate the two. It's fascinating, really. I am a student of human nature and psychology and it really is a pretty accurate glimpse into the inner workings of a person. Right from the get go I can tell if a person:

Is a team player or are closed off to varying degrees
Is with everyone mentally or is lost in their own head
Has confidence and to what degree
Laughs off missteps or gets down on themselves
And much more, depending on the person and what is going on inside them.

My point is it's very revealing personality-wise to get up there and do your thing.
Even if you suck, you are being expressive. Sucking is a form of expression.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Sucking is a form of expression.
Then I am truly a performer on so many levels.

I frequently notice a disconnection between my drums and my feelings at any given moment. I can be purposefully conveying sadness, yet I'm happy. I can be delivering a thunderous piece that's menacing, almost angry, yet that very act relaxes me inside. It's good that we can project a feel that doesn't represent our current state of mind. In that regard, we are actors of the highest calibre.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
By the same token I find I take on some of the feeling of what I'm playing. If I'm playing something relaxing I will feel more relaxed, and if it's something aggressive then I will feel slightly more aggressive myself. It must be just like acting, I suppose.
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
I think you can convey any emotion or idea that people associate with the sound, and that is virtually limitless. It is only restricted by what associations people make. I believe that this applies to all sound, in fact. The only reason any sound conveys any meaning is because of the associations that are attached to them, I don't believe it is inherent.

I think film score is very powerful in this manner, because when you couple music with the stuff that is happening in the movie, people who listen to the music while experiencing whatever emotion is elicited by the story will associate the two. If the story elicits the same reaction from most people, then most people will subconsciously associate that reaction with those sounds.

Here's the opposite thing; people will sometimes associate a specific song with a lost loved one or an old boyfriend or girlfriend, or something of that manner. They feel emotions related to the song in a way that is informed by experiences that are different than other people's experience. They will therefore have a different perception of the emotion elicited by the music.
 

MattA

Senior Member
I really like adding the visual aspect of expression to my performance. So if it's an angry, agressive sounding part my facials and my movements reflect this (makes for some funny looking photos if they're taken at the right moment!). If it's a mellow, laid back section I'll once again try and reflect this in my face etc. When I say I try, I guess I don't really have to try, it tends to happen quite naturally as I'm feeling the music. Everyone seems to have their own take as you'd expect though, expression and emotion is very much a personal thing.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
@ PQleyR - yes, drums are good at creating atmosphere and mood, for sure. But when it comes to emotions, it's like painting a portrait with a roller.

@ DED I don't think drums can convey sadness by themselves. The closest they can get is lifelessness IMO, which is generally not desirable.

@ True Larry, that's why we all like it better when someone who posts on the forum generally posts in Your Playing ... a bit like putting a face to a name.

@ Dr Watso ... yes, mellowness. Not sure epic-ness is an emotion. Have you been feeling epic lately? :)

@ Larry / Andy, yes, musicians are actors too. Sometimes we can be like Pagliacci, putting on a happy face while our hearts are breaking ... because the show must go on!

... too tired to keep typing (work was evil today) ... will return whennnnn .... zzzz
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Luke, that video is, um, different.
I'm sure somewhere in the alternate reality that exists "inside the cans"....that probably sounded good......to someone.......maybe.
Unfortunately, for those of us left out here.....

Loved one of the comments: "if vivaldi was alive, he would kick your balls"......oh, if only. :)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'm sure somewhere in the alternate reality that exists "inside the cans"....that probably sounded good......to someone.......maybe.
Unfortunately, for those of us left out here.....

Loved one of the comments: "if vivaldi was alive, he would kick your balls"......oh, if only. :)
Ha, yes, I copped that comment too. Do you think Vivaldi kicking his balls would resonate better than his present kick drum sound? Sounded more like my wife taking her frustration out on a piece of bubble wrap. Come to think of it, similar timing too!
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I'm sure somewhere in the alternate reality that exists "inside the cans"....that probably sounded good......to someone.......maybe.
Unfortunately, for those of us left out here.....

Loved one of the comments: "if vivaldi was alive, he would kick your balls"......oh, if only. :)
Wow that video really is something. After a while it almost become meditative!

I'm brilliant at expressing a feeling of overwhelming mediocrity.
 
ANYTHING!!

Your instrument, no matter what it be, is your artistic tool to express and communicate whatever you want.

To say and express what only art can.
 
Top