Is one genre of music really harder to play than another?

Brodown

Member
Hi guys, I played live for the first time the other night with my band, and it has really motivated my drumming a lot, it feels all these years I've been practicing has actually been for something, also my attitude towards drumming has changed a lot since I started years ago. I used to watch Cobus a lot and loved how he added a lot more fills to a song than the original but now I care more about the overall bands sound and performance than my drumming by itself.

Anyway I wanted to make a discussion about drumming in music genres, I used to think it was straight forward, in that, classic rock and punk rock, hip hop is easy, jazz, metalcore, death metal, progressive rock is hard. But because the drums are such a diverse instrument I guess its completely subjective. Some pop punk is easy admittedly, but when you start playing songs that are 220 bpm and are trying to add smooth fills things can be much harder. Metalcore can have much more complex double bass but is usually a lower bpm so if you scew up whilst playing it can be much easier to recover.

I'd imagine its the same with jazz, even though the rhythms are much more complex when playing live its surely not so noticeable if you make a mistake? Hip hop in theory should be easy, playing a pocket beat but making it groove and adding appropriate chops may be harder than any straight up death metal song or punk rock song

so really is any music genre that much harder than another? or does it really depend on the drummer
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: Is one genre of music really harder to play than another

IMO, the short answer is yes. Extreme metal drumming for instance take a lot of physical training to reach the speeds these guys can play. I think it depends on the drummer and what that drummer was exposed to. It would seem to make sense that someone coming up in a jazz culture will have a lot easier time playing jazz than someone who was brought up in say the hip hop culture (for instance) with little to no exposure to jazz. And vice versa.

Physically, some genres seem harder, for instance 240 BPM footwork in some metal music. But short of physical drumming feats, I think it depends on each individual drummers proclivities and what they were exposed to. After that it comes down to the drummers alacrity, of lack thereof, in regards to how far out of their comfort zone they are willing to venture.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Re: Is one genre of music really harder to play than another

I think jazz is mysterious but then I haven't had much exposure to it. And extreme metal is physically very challenging. Genres are blurry things and there are extremes and technical sides to all of them.. and what's easy for some guys is hard for others and vice versa.

I admit that I tend to play things that I'm comfortable playing because I like to play well. And if you ask me why I'm comfortable playing those things - I don't know. I couldn't tell you whether I'm physically suited to them or because they were the first and most formative styles I worked on. I could never enjoy hitting hard or single handed 16ths or fast punk beats because I tried and failed to play them but as I practice more I am getting better at them.

So I think we have our comfort zones, things we avoid and our physical limits but we can learn anything with a bit of hard work.
 

MJD

Silver Member
Re: Is one genre of music really harder to play than another

There are really only 2 genres of music. Sacred and Profane. In both it depends on the piece being played and the drummer playing it. Someone said something about "Jazz" rhythms being more complex. I've always found the opposite to be the case. in most "jazz" you have a much more limited rhythmic pallet but a much larger tonal pallet than in most "rock" which tends to have the opposite happen. Now "Rock" and "Jazz" obviously fall in the same genre: profane music. As do Beethoven's symphonies and the like.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
Re: Is one genre of music really harder to play than another

this is all completely subjective and only relative to ones familiar surroundings

if someone was raised from a small child around and playing only rhythms such as guaguanco, mozambique, cascara, bembe, guarapachangueo, etc etc... then rock music may feel very foreign to them

if someone grew up saturated with jazz then metal would feel like another planet and vice versa

"harder" is what makes this all subjective

usually the unfamiliar is difficult .... once it becomes familiar it is no longer difficult

I tell my students all the time .... all we are doing is untying knots ... the knots being the unfamiliar.....once we untie these knots and lay the string or cable straight these movements will no longer be difficult.
after the movements are in place then the "feel" factor enters.

it is sort of like an NFL wide receiver (American football) who gets traded to another team with a completely different offensive system with a lot of sight adjustments and unfamiliar route combinations .
his playbook will look extremely "difficult" to him until he learns it.
after a season ... the next season he will be out there reacting instead of thinking because he has internalized the play book

drumming is no different

internalize the playbook of the style you wish to play

the human mind and body is an amazing machine able to be programmed to do almost anything if prioritized
 
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Brodown

Member
Re: Is one genre of music really harder to play than another

IMO, the short answer is yes. Extreme metal drumming for instance take a lot of physical training to reach the speeds these guys can play.
Physically its a hard genre to play, but once you have that finger coordination and endurance the music itself is quite straight forward, its mainly all 4/4, I would find playing a James Brown song like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYi0Pv4KmII a lot more challenging than any extreme metal song
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
The music you don't like and don't listen to, is difficult to play.

The music you love to listen to all the time, is easy to play.

The music you and your band invent, is the easiest to play.


.
 

Duracell

Senior Member
The music you don't like and don't listen to, is difficult to play.

The music you love to listen to all the time, is easy to play.

The music you and your band invent, is the easiest to play.


.
This is the answer methinks. What's in our nature is easy. What is not in our nature is hard. It's not limited to genres though.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Trying to play something incredibly simple for the entirety of the song can prove to be just as difficult, if not more so, than trying to shove 100 notes into a 10 note bag. Every genre has its difficulties, be it jazz, metal, hip-hop, country, slow jams, whatever. I believe the difficulty lies in the head. Get the mind right and the body will follow if you really want it to.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
It isn't as simple as it might appear. Feeling and understanding are one thing; mechanics are another.

I "get" classical piano music, but despite being a classically-taught pianist, I can't play it. I just can't: I have little hands and short fingers.

Do I lie awake at night worrying? Nope. There's plenty I can do.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Re: Is one genre of music really harder to play than another

There are really only 2 genres of music. Sacred and Profane. [...] Now "Rock" and "Jazz" obviously fall in the same genre: profane music. As do Beethoven's symphonies and the like.
Then those categories are almost totally meaningless; most of all from a performer's perspective. Non-church music has not be categorized as “profane” in about 500 years, but if you want to distinguish between religious and secular music: OK, but calling Gregorian chant, Stryper, Vodou and Santeria drumming, Afoxé, and Protestant hymns the same genre is ridiculous.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I can't speak for all genres, but I have noticed hard bop songs do tend to be daunting, but pretty forgiving, because they have lots of off beat accents and rhythmic figures, but a very rigid form that covers lots of mistakes. While certain other jazz styles are simplistic, but unforgiving, especially certain avant garde songs, which are supposed to be distinct, from other styles of jazz. Yet others like some modal forms have easy heads, but are challenging for improvising, since they don't have solid resolution.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
so really is any music genre that much harder than another? or does it really depend on the drummer

Without a doubt.

Typical classic rock or country music is 4/4 and it is arranged intro, verse verse chorus, verse verse chorus, instrumental, verse chorus end. Any halfway decent drummer can play 500 songs even if they've only heard them on the radio once, 20 years ago. Same with most blues.

Progressive music with time changes and seemingly random stops/starts are harder because you have to learn the piece.

Some kinds of Jazz can be as simple as the 4/4 rock. Some will be as difficult as the progressive stuff.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Youth music movements appears because they are more approachable and easier to play than the previous dominant forms, hence RnR and punk.

Those styles, along with early hard rock and bastardised blues and RnB, were the styles garage bands played when I started out.

Obviously those styles were more accessible to us as beginners than art music.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Youth music movements appears because they are more approachable and easier to play than the previous dominant forms, hence RnR and punk.....

Obviously those styles were more accessible to us as beginners than art music.
Seems like kids of today have more facility at a younger age than kids of mine/your generation Anononon. That's just my impressions. Facility does not automatically mean musicality, but geez, some of these teens today can seriously rip it up on both counts.

The bar just keeps going higher. And people keep clearing it.
 

T.L.

Senior Member
Re: Is one genre of music really harder to play than another

this is all completely subjective and only relative to ones familiar surroundings

if someone was raised from a small child around and playing only rhythms such as guaguanco, mozambique, cascara, bembe, guarapachangueo, etc etc... then rock music may feel very foreign to them

if someone grew up saturated with jazz then metal would feel like another planet and vice versa

"harder" is what makes this all subjective

usually the unfamiliar is difficult .... once it becomes familiar it is no longer difficult

I tell my students all the time .... all we are doing is untying knots ... the knots being the unfamiliar.....once we untie these knots and lay the string or cable straight these movements will no longer be difficult.
after the movements are in place then the "feel" factor enters.

it is sort of like an NFL wide receiver (American football) who gets traded to another team with a completely different offensive system with a lot of sight adjustments and unfamiliar route combinations .
his playbook will look extremely "difficult" to him until he learns it.
after a season ... the next season he will be out there reacting instead of thinking because he has internalized the play book

drumming is no different

internalize the playbook of the style you wish to play

the human mind and body is an amazing machine able to be programmed to do almost anything if prioritized
I agree.

It's pretty subjective. Years ago, when I was in my early 20's, my brother (a very accomplished bassist who has played a lot of jazz with heavy players in Canada and the U.S., among other styles, too), said to me, "I really like your playing on swing tunes much better than your straight playing."

This, of course, was meant to be a kick in the ... For me to work on my bossas, pop/rock, funk, etc., but it also underlines how what we practice -- I practiced "ding-ding-a-ding" way more than "boom-tack" as a teenager -- and what we listen to generally dictates what we find easy and difficult as drummers.

Personally, I find that jazz is very complex and diverse drum-wise, yet for many players the simplicity of some pop songs is the most difficult because it requires you to leave your ego at the door and consistency is so important (unlike some jazz where stylistically that same consistency would not work).

It's like comparing apples to oranges.

Ultimately, most great players tend to have a "bag" that they find suits their tastes and strengths.
 
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