More drum set in classical music pieces?

I've only seen a handful of contemporary classical pieces which feature the role of drum set. Even though the drum set is no older than the Western classical marimba (based on the African counterpart), it doesn't seem to enjoy the same level of usage within Western classical music. Why do you think this is? (I'm guessing it's because melodic compositions are easier to adapt to the melodic percussion.) Do you think there should be more drum set in classical music? Any recommendations for existing classical pieces with notably good drum set arrangements?
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
To me, the drumset doesn't really suit classical orchestral music. Same with electric guitar and synthesizers. Lots of 50's lounge music, 70's disco and musical theatre incorporates drums with orchestra, but 'classical' music doesn't feel authentic to me with drums. Its just a style of music that's not driven by a rhythm section.

Just my opinion/bias/upbringing though.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You could take your favorite classical orchestra piece and try and play drumset to it to see what happens.

If you posted a recording here, we wouldn't mind :)

I'm not sure I'd like to hear classical music with drumset. I guess in the right hands it could be awesome, but to me the whole point of classical music is to be what it has been already.

I don't know that classical pieces would lend itself to drumset. This is assuming the drummer plays something with an actual beat, not just using the pieces for their individual tones.

Like anything, I'm sure some stuff would be great, while other stuff might miss the mark.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I can't really help in your search, but I'm reminded of an experience I had in my very early twenties. I lived quite close to the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and I approached them about a possible course in drum set studies.

The fellow looked at me like one might look at a particularly ugly bug, and said, "Sir, the Peabody Conservatory in an institution OVERWHELMINGLY dedicated to the study of classical music."

End of interview.

All these years later, I've come to share his views on the relationship between drum set and classical music, if not his attitude!

Like Larry, though, I wouldn't mind hearing a recording. I'm still open to change, if I like it!
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I think the original purpose of the drum set has been lost. The drum set was basically a way to allow one musician to mimic a classical or marching percussion section. You have suspended cymbals, crash cymbals (hi hats), snare drum, bass drum, and aux percussions like cowbell and Chinese Tams (tom toms). now, drumset playing has evolved into an instrumnet all on its own, but it wouldn't really fit into classical music. If I'm playing a cabaret gig, I might be able to pull off a timapni sound, but my floor tom and some mallets wouldn't pass muster with a real symphony. Some of the drum parts are just way to complicated, even for those who have very good limb independence.

On the other hand, many of the pops orchestras, proms, and theater orchestras all use drumset in additon to a percussion section.
 

porter

Platinum Member
I think the original purpose of the drum set has been lost. The drum set was basically a way to allow one musician to mimic a classical or marching percussion section. You have suspended cymbals, crash cymbals (hi hats), snare drum, bass drum, and aux percussions like cowbell and Chinese Tams (tom toms). now, drumset playing has evolved into an instrumnet all on its own, but it wouldn't really fit into classical music. If I'm playing a cabaret gig, I might be able to pull off a timapni sound, but my floor tom and some mallets wouldn't pass muster with a real symphony. Some of the drum parts are just way to complicated, even for those who have very good limb independence.

On the other hand, many of the pops orchestras, proms, and theater orchestras all use drumset in additon to a percussion section.
Yes, most uses of "drumset in the orchestra" in a purely classical fashion are just using it as a multi-percussion setup. "La création du monde" and William Bolcom's "First Symphony for Band" are good examples.

There is some usage of contemporary drumset in turning classical "poppy", one example would be Andrea Vadrucci. However contemporary drumset playing for the most part is just a bad match in timbre for classical music.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
I don't know that classical pieces would lend itself to drumset. This is assuming the drummer plays something with an actual beat, not just using the pieces for their individual tones.

Like anything, I'm sure some stuff would be great, while other stuff might miss the mark.
I play my drum set to classical music quite a lot at my studio and it is fun and sounds good. Then again, I have six toms ranging in size from 8 to 16 inches, 2 snares with one tuned deep and rattley like a marching drum, the other more traditional. Then I utilize two hi hats 13' on one 15' on the other, and an assortment of crash and ride cymbals. I was trained classically in clarinet, so know the music and maybe that makes it easier.
Larry, this is not directed at you specifically, but rather all who don't think a drum set fits in with classical music. YOU ARE ONLY INHIBITED IF YOU INHIBIT YOURSELF. THINK OUT OF THE BOX, MOVE THE PARADIGM. Artie Shaw was asked by Benny Goodman who hr thought was the greatest clarinetist ever. Artie told Benny, "That's your problem Benny. All you're concerned with is clarinet. I'm concerned with the music. Clarinet is just a means to get there." Same with drums. Of course you have to not think in terms of what you're used to and remember you're not a time keeper in classical music.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I can't even grasp most of the stuff inside the box. I'm nowheres near ready for anything outside the box lol.
 

porter

Platinum Member
Of course you have to not think in terms of what you're used to and remember you're not a time keeper in classical music.
Now, I agree with this. As I said, contemporary drumset playing is a bad match, partially because there's a heavy timekeeping focus. However, that does not bar the drumset player from using an appropriate playing style that might actually fit.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I always feel in classical music the orchestra does everything and doesn't need a drum kit.

With orchestral arrangements it's about creating landscapes/emotions so you use every instrument for rhythm, dynamics, melody. If you've ever witnessed an orchestra in full flow it's pretty spectaular.

Plus the main thing is the drum set is a 20th century instrument so it has only been written into modern classical pieces but the modern genre has some wierd and wonderful things in it like 4mins 33sec (The only piece of music it's impossible to play the same twice)

I have seen a couple of examples where the two have worked together, I saw Jeff Waynes War of the Worlds live and that blew me away but that was a 50 piece string orchestra as well as a band. The other gig that was probably a better example was Bill Baileys Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra which was a comedy show but was very cleverly written.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I know it's not classical, but most third stream music uses the drum set.

My favorite third stream drummer is probably André Arpino, who worked with Jacques Loussier's trio for many years. They played thrid stream arrangements of Bach, Debussy, Ravel, Satie, Vivaldi, and many more. The drum work is great, especially on the Brandenburg Concertos.

Again, I know third stream isn't classical, but I feel that it's relevant to this thread.
 
Would you expect to see a heckelphone or contra bassoon in a rock band? Probably not.
Yeah, but these are not particularly well-known instruments outside of the musical community. You do see the violin, cello, and trumpet on occasion in some bands. Plus, the components of the drum set are often in the orchestra, except maybe the hi-hat.
 
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