Overdrumming

Pachikara-Tharakan

Silver Member
What is this "Overdrumming? When is overdrumming becomes really "Overdrumming"? Is overdrumming an individual opinion?( Was Keith moon's drumming called "overdrumming'?)


again, when do overdrumming becomes "annoying" to the listener?

Can you please explain with some examples? (Studio recorded or live)

sorry for being naive!

thanks in advance. :)
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
It is very easy to overdrum. Most bands want basic drums and anything more than that is overdrumming. Is this keyed off the recent discussion of oversouling by singers?

Large kits and double bass promote overdrumming, but do not necessarily lead to it. With few exceptions, every time I have played 16ths on the bass, it annoys the hell out of other musicians, who ask, "Where's all that noise coming from?"
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Overdrumming...is subject to opinion, and therefore not a measureable quantity. Person A says drummer Z is overdrumming, and person B disagrees. Who's right?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Drummers should play for the song, and the song and the band will determine just how complex that drumming can be. Let's look at two very different bands - say, the Donnas (straight-ahead girl punk-pop) and Tool (polyrhythmic art-metal).

Donnas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCvRT2sy5FE

Tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm38Ojh61lY

If you took Danny Carey and plopped him into the Donnas and told him to play as if he were in Tool, the result would be overplaying. By the same token, if you took Torry from the Donnas and asked her to play with that same style along to the Tool song in the video, that would likely be "underplaying".

In each case you could argue that the drumming is appropriate for the song - no more or less complex than it should be. It's when a drummer tries to introduce concepts that do not serve the song (or the performance) that it becomes overdrumming.

By that definition, no, I don't see Moonie's playing as "overdrumming". He had to keep up with the windmilling power chords of arguably the loudest guitar player of the time, and easily one of the best bass players ever, as well as a very charismatic frontman. While to listen to some of the Who's songs it sounds like chaos (especially live), you have to understand that Moonie wasn't approaching the instrument in its normal role - and because nobody in the band was, it worked. Proof of the pudding is to look at the drummers since Moonie passed on. No offense to Kenney, Simon, or Zak, but the difference is that the band became safer, tamer, controlled, and predictable.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Overdrumming...is subject to opinion, and therefore not a measureable quantity. Person A says drummer Z is overdrumming, and person B disagrees. Who's right?
The rest of the band and/or the audience is right.

They are always, always right. Even in subjective things like music, there are a few absolutes.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
i think of it this way. if i'm playing something that's distracting or takes focus away from what should be the focus, then that's overplaying. i've learned the hard way that it's not good to play too loud or play too much when the singer is singing. and if someone else is taking a solo, that's another time to take it easy.
 

Pachikara-Tharakan

Silver Member
Drummers should play for the song, and the song and the band will determine just how complex that drumming can be. Let's look at two very different bands - say, the Donnas (straight-ahead girl punk-pop) and Tool (polyrhythmic art-metal).

Donnas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCvRT2sy5FE

Tool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm38Ojh61lY

If you took Danny Carey and plopped him into the Donnas and told him to play as if he were in Tool, the result would be overplaying. By the same token, if you took Torry from the Donnas and asked her to play with that same style along to the Tool song in the video, that would likely be "underplaying".

In each case you could argue that the drumming is appropriate for the song - no more or less complex than it should be. It's when a drummer tries to introduce concepts that do not serve the song (or the performance) that it becomes overdrumming.
currently, One World- The police is playing in my computer -- Is Stewart Copeland overdrumming??? I do enjoy the song though. :) what if this song were originally recorded with just time keeping and if some unknown cover band does the way Copeland did in that song??

By that definition, no, I don't see Moonie's playing as "overdrumming". He had to keep up with the windmilling power chords of arguably the loudest guitar player of the time, and easily one of the best bass players ever, as well as a very charismatic frontman. While to listen to some of the Who's songs it sounds like chaos (especially live), you have to understand that Moonie wasn't approaching the instrument in its normal role - and because nobody in the band was, it worked. Proof of the pudding is to look at the drummers since Moonie passed on. No offense to Kenney, Simon, or Zak, but the difference is that the band became safer, tamer, controlled, and predictable.
thanks, I do see the valuable point.... but what if we never heard of both the songs and if hear a Donna's type song being drummed by a Tool type drummer.... .... The Who song "Eminence Front" ... if Moon were alive, that song would have been different sounding...

Currently One World- The police is playing in my computer... what if this song were originally recorded with just AC/DC type time keeping and if some" obscure" coverband drummer does just the way Copeland did in this song? majority of people would say that is " Over drumming" for sure!..........

just thoughts! :)
 
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alparrott

Platinum Member
thanks, I do see the valuable point.... but what if we never heard of both the songs and if hear a Donna's type song being drummed by a Tool type drummer.... .... The Who song "Eminence Front" ... if Moon were alive, that song would have been different sounding...

Currently One World- The police is playing in my computer... what if this song were originally recorded with just AC/DC type time keeping and if some" obscure" coverband drummer does just the way Copeland did in this song? majority of people would say that is " Over drumming" for sure!..........

just thoughts! :)
And an interesting point, to be sure. Many "prog" bands have recorded intentionally busier covers of some rock classics, and in some cases they are great explorations. I think in those cases we take delight in seeing those expectations formed by the original version shattered. But I would point out, again, that in the context of the band playing the song the drumming fits. It's when the drummer clearly values what he is doing over what the band is doing as a whole, that it becomes overplaying, in my opinion.

I think a lot of people would make a case for Keith being an overplayer, simply because of the nature of his playing. But he certainly didn't overplay every song. Two of the Who's best-known songs from later on, "Baba O'Reilly" and "Who Are You", are excellent examples of Keith's ability to rein it in and play for the song. When he hit the nitrous (especially live), it was more to match the stage energy than because he wanted to step all over everyone. Put more simply, the Who, live, was more of a four-musician race than a band... and in my opinion, for better than worse.
 

inneedofgrace

Platinum Member
This is a sensititve subject to me, because overdrumming can be a HUGE issue when playing at a church venue. A previous church I attended had a drummer that had a drum corp background, so it was all or nothing for him. On one chorus he would play as loud as possible (like a machine gun going off), and then he would not play at all on the next chorus. There was no "touch" to his playing - he was either way too loud and rigid, or non existent. This totally disrupts the rest of the band, and irritates the audience as well.

You have to adapt your playing to the type of music, the audience and the setting. For instance, you shouldn't be playing double bass fills in a coffee house. Nor should you be overly loud or obnoxious if the congregation is trying to worship and sing along with the band.

My band has had several gigs at a small restaurant, and the owner wanted us to start at 8 pm. For the first hour, he asked us to "tone it down", because patrons were still eating dinner. So we chose songs that we could play a little quieter for the first set. For the second set we came out blazing since most of the dinner crowd was gone. For the 1st set, if I had played like I did in the 2nd set, that would have been considered overplaying.

BTW - guitarists, singers, brass players and keyboardists can overplay just as much as drummers. Sometimes the keyboard player in my other band overplays on parts of songs, and it is annoying and distracting, making it very difficult to stay in synch with the rest of the band.
 

ddrumman2004

Senior Member
To me, a drummer that overplays is one that will hit everything in his or her kit in every song. Every cymbal and drum.....many times.......even in slow ballads.

I had a guitar player, whom had played with a lot of acts, both local and famous, tell me once..."You're back there but I don't know you're back there."

But it's not just drummers that can overplay as our band had a sax player back in the 90s that over played.......and I mean over played!
 

drumhammerer

Silver Member
thanks, I do see the valuable point.... but what if we never heard of both the songs and if hear a Donna's type song being drummed by a Tool type drummer.... .... The Who song "Eminence Front" ... if Moon were alive, that song would have been different sounding...

Currently One World- The police is playing in my computer... what if this song were originally recorded with just AC/DC type time keeping and if some" obscure" coverband drummer does just the way Copeland did in this song? majority of people would say that is " Over drumming" for sure!..........

just thoughts! :)
that's funny, cuz "one world" is probably the only song on that album that Copeland plays like that. The rest of that album, there are hardly any fills at all. In fact, that's probably true for most Police songs, sans a couple of the instrumentals. Most of his fancy stuff is on the hi hat which doesn't get in the way of anything.
 

JPW

Silver Member
Overplaying is the aural illusion that is heard when a person is jealous of other players technical ability or gig. It is as hard to define as is 'overrating a drummer'.
-JPWpedia

If you don't like someone's playing, explain why. Don't hide behind abstract undefinable terms.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Overplaying is the aural illusion that is heard when a person is jealous of other players technical ability or gig. It is as hard to define as is 'overrating a drummer'.
-JPWpedia

If you don't like someone's playing, explain why. Don't hide behind abstract undefinable terms.
The most wonderful post of 2011 so far.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Overplaying is the aural illusion that is heard when a person is jealous of other players technical ability or gig. It is as hard to define as is 'overrating a drummer'.
-JPWpedia

If you don't like someone's playing, explain why. Don't hide behind abstract undefinable terms.
So if I explain my reasons for not liking someone's playing by saying "his drumming is too complex or busy; it doesn't fit the song", I'm really only jealous? Are you saying is that there's no way anyone could possibly overplay a drum part for a song? Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" would sound amazing with Virgil Donati laying down some polyrhythmic craziness underneath, and anyone who disagrees are really only jealous?

Sometimes, the only explanation for what a drummer is doing wrong is that he is overplaying.
 

JPW

Silver Member
So if I explain my reasons for not liking someone's playing by saying "his drumming is too complex or busy; it doesn't fit the song", I'm really only jealous? Are you saying is that there's no way anyone could possibly overplay a drum part for a song? Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" would sound amazing with Virgil Donati laying down some polyrhythmic craziness underneath, and anyone who disagrees are really only jealous?

Sometimes, the only explanation for what a drummer is doing wrong is that he is overplaying.
Why does complex or busy automatically mean overplaying even if the original song was a simpler one? There's more to this than the amount of notes. It's the way you deliver those notes and the term 'overplaying' doesn't explain that to any detail.

Most of the time I think we can all agree when someone is indeed "overplaying" but I just don't like it how people seem to define it. I call it 'not listening' and/or 'being a narcist'. You can be busy and complex and still have ears and a good taste.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
So if I explain my reasons for not liking someone's playing by saying "his drumming is too complex or busy; it doesn't fit the song", I'm really only jealous? Are you saying is that there's no way anyone could possibly overplay a drum part for a song? Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" would sound amazing with Virgil Donati laying down some polyrhythmic craziness underneath, and anyone who disagrees are really only jealous?

Sometimes, the only explanation for what a drummer is doing wrong is that he is overplaying.
Yes sometimes that is the only explanation... and judging by your posts over time you are most likely a fair assessor and obviously a good musician.

However, in most drum forum scenarios the word overplaying is no more than one of those look at me I'm enlightened catch phrases thrown out there to justify exactly what JPW is saying when 99% of the time it's just a bubble gum slander. And after being personally singled out via that idiocy off and on for the past several years I am more than aware of how things roll.

The problem with the doesn't fit the song axiom always comes down to a very simple if not absolute truth. Most of these songs we're discussing picked up all these beloved nuances for no other reason than a musician decided to create his part that way. These songs aren't Wagner where every shard of dynamic and temperament was carefully transcribed. In most instances the songs discussed in this thread didn't even have a drum part until that drummer gave it one. So in truth we're not really playing for the song at all. What we're really doing is playing to enshrine the memory of the original drummer, and we speak indirectly and otherwise of this phenomenon all the time.

Had Copeland been the original Who drummer we would be crucifying Moon for overplaying the very same song that he is loved for now.

Were these pop/rock staples we speak of as if song form were the only musicial classification had actually been rigidly defined by the composer and the composer alone then I think there would be a reasonable complaint in play. But in these cases we're mostly talking of channeled spontaneous conjurings of good music. IMO It's just not the same and falls under a different set of rules. As for the audience or the wonderment of a particular song based on our collective consciousness, who's to say that with enough repeated listenings and related social dynamics that the songs would not be just as beloved with different drummers playing with different concepts.

Popular music changed radically 100 years with the biggest transition being that songs no longer controlled musicians but that musicians controlled these songs. Now if I'm playing Beethoven that's different. Beethoven said you can never do this and we abide by his wishes.

This is different.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Why does complex or busy automatically mean overplaying even if the original song was a simpler one? There's more to this than the amount of notes. It's the way you deliver those notes and the term 'overplaying' doesn't explain that to any detail.

Most of the time I think we can all agree when someone is indeed "overplaying" but I just don't like it how people seem to define it. I call it 'not listening' and/or 'being a narcist'. You can be busy and complex and still have ears and a good taste.
I never said that there was an automatic correlation between complexity and overplaying. Carter Beauford is an excellent example. He lays down amazingly intricate and complex grooves on top of simple pop songs, and yet he makes it fit. Complexity doesn't automatically mean overplaying; it's all about what fits the song, and a lot of that will obviously be subjective. I know many people who feel that Carter Beauford is too busy, while others feel that every Dave Matthews Band song should be a pop song with a long drum solo underneath.

I'll also add that it is possible to underplay a song. Again definitely subjective, but I think that if Neil Peart just did a basic rock groove all the way through Tom Sawyer, most people would agree that he could have done a lot more with that song (and that's an extreme example; you could easily underplay a lot less complex songs than that). It's all about context, genre and the expectations of the listener.
 
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mattsmith

Platinum Member
You can be busy and complex and still have ears and a good taste.
Absolutely true.

I think the problem was that too many people let that Less is more parable hang out there without challenging its shortsightedness. Of course many guys play too much and blow it. However, I contend that a fair number play less out of a sense of tragic hipness or because that's all they're capable of playing, while passing off that dirty veil as something noble, when its often a pretty disingenuous posture not always representative of good music. I recall a drum solo I once put up on the My Playing thread that had already been rated highly by a number of major drummers and was included in a PBS documentary. No sooner was it up before the cold, inhuman, nonmusical catch phrases were tossed out there by guys I was convinced had not even listened once they heard the fast hi hat. It was like the cool-o-meter went off in their heads and they could no longer interpret sound. Sorry, I just think a lot of that is a gimmick for the sake of social acceptance alone.

ADDED: Hey Naigewron, the Norwegian drummer Erik Smith just interviewd me for the magazine Musik Praksis and we talked a lot about this. With you being over and capable of reading the language I would be interested in your thoughts when the issue comes out.
 
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