How to notate hitting a drum with two sticks at the same time (NOT a flam)?

Hey gang - the question says it all!

I'm writing a drum book at the moment and there are a couple of beats I want to write that are used in certain songs where the drummer hits the drum with two sticks at the same time. For all intents and purposes it sounds the same as if they hit it with one stick, but I've looked at live performances of these songs and they definitely hit with two. It only really makes a difference in so far as it being technically different to play, not necessarily sounding different.

Anyway, anyone have any thoughts on how to notate this (aside from just writing 'hit with both sticks')?

Thanks,
Michael
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
On different drums that's easy of course. On the same drum, when it's not a flam, I struggle to see why it would be so important for two hits at the literal same time on the same drum. I'd probably just notate that it's an accented note and let the player figure out how to accent it. I think in most cases it would end up being a small flam anyway.

What is the specific goal of both sticks on the drum? Louder?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
What is the specific goal of both sticks on the drum? Louder?
You can simultaneously hit both the inner portion of the head, and the outer. It is indeed louder. Max Weinberg is the only example that immediately comes to my mind.

On sheet music, unisons will have both an upward and downward stem...

 
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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
You can simultaneously hit both the inner portion of the head, and the outer. It is indeed louder. Max Weinberg is the only example that immediately comes to my mind.

On sheet music, unisons will have both an upward and downward stem...

Okay that's an interesting example, but there's no way to be that specific with notation.

I'd also say the same problem holds true for things like hitting both the rim and head simultaneously, and take it a step further to say that every little aspect of how or where we hit a drum ultimately changes how it sounds in the end, and for that matter, so does just using a different drum like wood versus metal. It's not something we tend to worry about in the drum world, being super specific about sounds I mean.

I would just notate them as accented snare notes and let the player figure it out, maybe make a note in the key if I were including that. Most people won't know the difference.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..I would just notate them as accented snare notes and let the player figure it out, maybe make a note in the key if I were including that. Most people won't know the difference..

There is a pretty big difference in sound when hitting a drum with 2 sticks exactly at the same time, which even on a practice pad can be heard..

To only notate an accent to me makes little sense, because hitting a drum with only one stick and an accent just sounds different..

And btw, with the proper technique there will not always be a (very) little flam..

Peter Erskine can tell you all about that..
 

crash

Member
I've heard of it being called a flat flam. Although I've never seen it notated. Just written instructions. Instead of it being a sharp accented sound, it's more of a fatter sound, at least to me. It makes a nice effect in the right place.
 
Thanks all for the responses!

Looks like I could either choose to write the note in both voices simultaneously, or write U for unison or B for both if I were indicating sticking.

This is the beat in question. The drummer is 'riding' on the snare with his right stick and only playing the 2 and 4 with his left.
Of course you could play it a different way, but with me being a stickler for detail, I'm trying to explain how this drummer does it.

Anyway, all those responses are good food for thought, so I'll look into which method of notating it seems the most useful!

Screen Shot 2020-03-28 at 2.33.30 pm.png
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
There is a pretty big difference in sound when hitting a drum with 2 sticks exactly at the same time, which even on a practice pad can be heard..

To only notate an accent to me makes little sense, because hitting a drum with only one stick and an accent just sounds different..

And btw, with the proper technique there will not always be a (very) little flam..

Peter Erskine can tell you all about that..
The point of my post is that we can make all sorts of different noises and variations just by the way or where we hit a drum. I feel like it doesn't make sense really to worry about all the different sounds and that's why almost nobody bothers to notate stuff like that; you focus on the rhythms and let accent notation assist. The average listener isn't going to know the difference between two sticks with equal applications of force and timing or just accenting the note another way. Just to check I went looking online and couldn't find much in the way of this query. If it were really a big deal I think it would be all over the place what the accepted standard is. I found a reference in a tympani book... They don't really say much.

1585385528967.png

Anyhoo, - I see no issue with how the OP ended up doing it. Especially in this instance where he's trying to note what a drummer played and how; I can see how it's more important to make a little mention of the sticking. In that instance I think it would sound kinda flammy, because one hand is riding and the other accenting the backbeat.

In other instances, maybe you might be able to make use of some of the "other" accent marks.
1585385953459.png

Is there rudiment/snare drum music floating around that has two simultaneous hits on the same rhythm/not flammed? That'd be interesting. Probably the closest we'd come to a standard.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..This is the beat in question. The drummer is 'riding' on the snare with his right stick and only playing the 2 and 4 with his left..

In that case, in my opinion, the idea should not be to play exactly in unison with both sticks on the snare drum, because you will notice that both strokes kinda cancel eachother out, which results in a sort of ugly “choked” thing..

Btw, i am not a native english speaker, but “cancel eachother out” was what google told me, which i hope is clear in this case..

There is nevertheless a lot of use regarding practicing stick height, etc, to study “flat flams” or whatever people like to call them..
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
So wait.. When you guys chart stuff, you're not using to tail/stem up/down to hint the lead handedness of a note/phrase? You're literally writing R/L/U?

EDIT: I just realized that this might be a carryover from my guitar days where it is used to hint up/down stroke on the beginning of a phrase.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
The drummer in my first band (when I played guitar) used to do his "flams" this way, drove me crazy. It's an awful sound. The equivalent on guitar might be to pull up on a string and let it snap onto the fretboard . . . . "TWANG!!!" Well, it is louder I suppose.

The notation should just read "error".
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Thanks all for the responses!

Looks like I could either choose to write the note in both voices simultaneously, or write U for unison or B for both if I were indicating sticking.

This is the beat in question. The drummer is 'riding' on the snare with his right stick and only playing the 2 and 4 with his left.
Of course you could play it a different way, but with me being a stickler for detail, I'm trying to explain how this drummer does it.

Anyway, all those responses are good food for thought, so I'll look into which method of notating it seems the most useful!

View attachment 91112

I'd personally flam 2 and 4, but that is just me.

Lucille does this:

Also, it's called a 'double stop' when you play in unison so that is an option to notate as well.
 
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I'd personally flam 2 and 4, but that is just me.

Lucille does this:

Also, it's called a 'double stop' when you play in unison so that is an option to notate as well.
Yes, Lucille is a great example! That sounds like it'd be played riding on the snare with the right stick and hitting 2 and 4 with the left.
It doesn't sound like it's flamming on those hits to me. I guess the drummer could be doing that R R L R, or R L R L, but it sounds like he's doing R R Both R. Sort of subtle difference in feel.

Anyway, I wrote the drag at the end of the beat a bit wrong - it's meant to be like this - but I guess I'll stick with the 'both sticks' instruction for now.
The tempo here is pretty slow by the way, about 67.

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 11.49.21 pm.png
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
What sticking do I use on the the non-both hands notes? This doesn't tell me. I would probably write a separate example with just the hands, explaining what's happening. I might give the snare drum played as a ride its own line on the staff. You could just write it as a normal cymbal part, and write SNARE DRUM or RIDE ON SNARE DRUM over it.
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Yes, Lucille is a great example! That sounds like it'd be played riding on the snare with the right stick and hitting 2 and 4 with the left.
It doesn't sound like it's flamming on those hits to me. I guess the drummer could be doing that R R L R, or R L R L, but it sounds like he's doing R R Both R. Sort of subtle difference in feel.

It's flammed:
 
What sticking do I use on the the non-both hands notes? This doesn't tell me. I would probably write a separate example with just the hands, explaining what's happening. I might give the snare drum played as a ride its own line on the staff. You could just write it as a normal cymbal part, and write SNARE DRUM or RIDE ON SNARE DRUM over it.
Yeah that's true. This book I'm working on currently has beats numbering in the thousands and I haven't written sticking for anything so far. The idea is that it could be worked through and elaborated on with a teacher. But I might have to just bite the bullet and write sticking for a few of them because there are a bunch where it's hard to tell just by looking what the sticking would be.

Thanks!
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
He says in that video it's hard to tell from listening to the song whether the backbeats are flammed or played at the same time. Certainly his version is flammed but in the original it sounds more like it's played at the same time to me.
I definitely hear multiple flams. It's all over the place. For example, the first 20 seconds of the recording.
 
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