I have a technical music/drum question

Sticks Of Fury

Senior Member
I have a question and I hope that someone on here can answer it for me. What is the music term when the drums follow exactly what another instrument is playing, such as a guitar? What I mean is if the guitar is playing something and the drums are following it exactly and mimicking it. I thought that was called "phrasing", but I don't think that's the correct term. Is it called "shadowing"? I have no clue, but I've always wanted to know. If anyone on here knows, please respond to this and help me out. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks. Take care.


Gold Member
well its definitely not phrasing..... i'm not really sure it has a common name. You could call it unison comping, when you catch the same licks as a soloist. Is that what you are asking about? Maybe someone else can shed some light..


Senior Member
Playing in unison is generally when two/more parts follow the main rhythm or melody, like in lots of classical music you'll have violins playing in unison in octaves or a trombone playing in unison with a double bass or whattheheckever.
So yeah, unison seems like a.. not-wrong term.


Platinum Member
To cop a phrase from Tim Gunn: "matchy-matchy". Playing in unison, or playing identical rhythms, works best.

Phrasing is the way we organize the notes we are playing, in terms of rhythm and pitch. We usually play groups of notes (phrases) in such a way as to make them memorable or interesting. Think of the "Smoke On the Water" guitar riff: it contains only 4 "power" chords, three of them used more than once, but the phrasing gives the riff its catchiness.

"Shadowing" could mean anything.


Gold Member
I like to call it, "I am playing the same rhythm you are in these measures on the drums."

aka playing in unison.


Gold Member
Unison is the term you're looking for.

Phrasing is generally referring to how multiple musical elements are linked together in order to form a "phrase" or complete idea with rhyme and reason behind it. People also often use the term "phrasing" talking about dynamics as they're used to give music direction from point A to B.

con struct

Platinum Member
Unisono or unis (Fr): in unison; i.e., several players in a group are to play exactly the same notes etc.

Works for me.

con struct

Platinum Member
It's called 'call and response' if I understand you correctly.
Ah, I see now. The guitar plays something and then the drums play rhythmically, in a mimicking fashion, what the guitar just played, is that what we're talking about here?

If that's the case then call and response is correct.