Overdrumming

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yes, but my overpainting analog was about the produced music. How can you "over-" anything when the responsibility of the end product isn't yours? And quite honestly if painters are actually debating about amounts of strokes they seem to have similar problem that we are having here.
It's not the number of strokes. That doesn't matter in any art form. But painters definitely sometimes have regrets about not leaving a picture alone, tweaking after it had reached its optimal point. I used to do digital art and I'd backup along the way, just in case I overdid it. Sometimes when you're in the moment you can get caught up in stuff that you only realise was a blind alley with the benefit of hindsight.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
MM, generally I agree but I don't think the word "overplaying" is meaningless.
You're right Polly... you can most certainly overplay. Still there is an incorrect contemporary myth out there stating there is no such thing as tasteless, lacking underplaying, when it's just as much a problem. Moreover there are a large clique of people in the community of musicians so afraid of not being accepted that they will pretend to hear what they're really not hearing at all. When it comes to Internet drum discussions the 2 ton technique elephant is always in the room.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
You're right Polly... you can most certainly overplay. Still there is an incorrect contemporary myth out there that there is no such thing as tasteless, lacking underplaying, when it's just as much a problem. Moreover there are a large clique of people in the community of musicians so afraid of not being accepted that they will pretend to hear what they're really not hearing at all. When it comes to Internet drum discussions the 2 ton technique elephant is always in the room.
Ooh yeah, I agree with that totally. You're talking missed opportunities, passages screaming for a response from the drummer and it passes blandly by without hitting the spot. There's a song by an old band of mine and, in hindsight, I never really understood the tune at the time and just went blah blah blah. I never listen back to it.

Technique's an issue, for sure, but drummers can always spray around a ton of notes and make heaps of noise with minimal technique. I find that in simpler genres, lack of technique usually manifests in timing and dynamics issues. Correct me if I'm wrong but I see under- and overplaying as an issue with sensitivity, instinct and depth of understanding of the form.

When I think about it, most (not all) overplayers I've seen don't have very good technique. You'd expect educated players to be more likely to make educated musical decisions.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
The problem here is when do people come pro? Do you get a mail from the drumming community stating that "ok, you have now paid enough dues and you are thus allowed to play anything you want and we will rejoice"?
Actually as much as I hate to say it... this is very close. I made an example of a video I once put up in the My Playing section that was ridiculed by a bunch of tragically hip mostly older guys for demonstrating what one guy labeled inhuman technique. Then he made some jokes, disparaging remarks and went after my age. But you know what? A funny thing happened. That video became part of a TV program that was seen by a lot of people, and that got me a few really nice mid sized, lower end upscale gigs. Then I was actually subbing in semi big time settings. Then I moved to Europe, got more involved and returned here after a six month absence.

It was amazing how I suddenly had developed all this taste when just six months earlier I didn't get it. Of course the truth was my style had not changed at all. I was merely playing better gigs, meaning the impression of what I was doing was heard with new ears.

Then three months ago I went to the My Playing section again and dropped off a podcast describing the making of a recording project I was producing. Well lo and behold a handful of guys from the old WFD forum days come out of nowhere to lambast it. Interestingly none of those guys had been around for a couple of years or were new posters who just showed up because they were mad about something from several years before. See they hadn't gotten the memo about the new activities. They thought it was still the cool to trash the don't get it guy era. Then 3 weeks later I take the podcast to another forum and one of the same attack guys was now praising it, when he became aware that group consensus was different than before.

Most times /with a lot of guys/ there's nothing to any of this because you can see the phoniness coming a mile away.
 

JPW

Silver Member
Actually as much as I hate to say it... this is very close. I made an example of a video I once put up in the My Playing section that was ridiculed by a bunch of tragically hip mostly older guys for demonstrating what one guy labeled inhuman technique. Then he made some jokes, disparaging remarks and went after my age. But you know what? A funny thing happened. That video became part of a TV program that was seen by a lot of people, and that got me a few really nice mid sized, lower end upscale gigs. Then I was actually subbing in semi big time settings. Then I moved to Europe, got more involved and returned here after a six month absence.

It was amazing how I suddenly had developed all this taste when just six months earlier I didn't get it. Of course the truth was my style had not changed at all. I was merely playing better gigs, meaning the impression of what I was doing was heard with new ears.

Then three months ago I went to the My Playing section again and dropped off a podcast describing the making of a recording project I was producing. Well lo and behold a handful of guys from the old WFD forum days come out of nowhere to lambast it. Interestingly none of those guys had been around for a couple of years or were new posters who just showed up because they were mad about something from several years before. See they hadn't gotten the memo about the new activities. To them it was still cool to trash the don't get it guy. Then 3 weeks later I take the podcast to another forum and one of the same attack guys was now praising it, when he became aware that group consensus was different than before.

Most times /with a lot of guys/ there's nothing to any of this because you can see the phoniness coming a mile away.
Yeah, I know stuff like you just described happens. But the main point I was making is that most people just don't hear good enough so they don't know what it is exactly what they don't like about a certain piece of music, then they just use some hip term they see used on the forums to bash it. My main point during this whole discussion has been that it's ok for you to not like something but it would be really polite to be able tell what it exactly is that you don't like about it that needs to be changed rather than hide behind some undefinable terminology. Then we could start to discuss if it's an objective fact that something needs to be changed or is it one of those taste things that we will never agree upon. Just saying "he overplays" gives me the impression that you don't really know what you are listening to right now.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
My main point during this whole discussion has been that it's ok for you to not like something but it would be really polite to be able tell what it exactly is that you don't like about it that needs to be changed rather than hide behind some undefinable terminology. Then we could start to discuss if it's an objective fact that something needs to be changed or is it one of those taste things that we will never agree upon. Just saying "he overplays" gives me the impression that you don't really know what you are listening to right now.
I can't remember too many times in the Your Playing section here where someone has been told they overplay. The critiques are usually more constructive and specific than a flat "you overplayed". The toughest criticisms I've seen have been about timing - and fair enough too since nothing hurts a track quite like timing errors.

Edit: Matt, I remember that thread of yours. It was unusual and looked like a case of tall poppy syndrome. You put yourself out there by posting (I found it interesting) and the flames were unwarranted. Thankfully, that doesn't happen much here.
 
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PQleyR

Platinum Member
This is a very interesting discussion, and while it's moved on from this point I thought I would add something on the following subject...

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.
If you go back to just before Beethoven, in the Baroque era the performer's interpretation was much more important, partly because of smaller ensembles, and partly because the overriding concept was of seperate lines of music interacting with one another, rather than the concept of vertical harmony that appeared in the Classical period that followed it.
The Romantic composers you mention later were obviously trying to corral a vast orchestra into doing something very precise, which is impossible with 90 people's own interpretations. I can relate to this from my experience playing in my present band, where there are six of us typically playing very fast and there's not much room for manoeuvre, or the whole thing falls apart. However, in the 3-piece I was in before, we almost had to play more to make up for the lack of personnel, and because the music was stylistically different in a way quite similar to the Baroque/Classical difference I mentioned before.

Baroque music is now performed in a way that would have been strange at the time it was written.

Right, that's my bit over with. Carry on, everyone!
 

JPW

Silver Member
This is a very interesting discussion, and while it's moved on from this point I thought I would add something on the following subject...



If you go back to just before Beethoven, in the Baroque era the performer's interpretation was much more important, partly because of smaller ensembles, and partly because the overriding concept was of seperate lines of music interacting with one another, rather than the concept of vertical harmony that appeared in the Classical period that followed it.
The Romantic composers you mention later were obviously trying to corral a vast orchestra into doing something very precise, which is impossible with 90 people's own interpretations. I can relate to this from my experience playing in my present band, where there are six of us typically playing very fast and there's not much room for manoeuvre, or the whole thing falls apart. However, in the 3-piece I was in before, we almost had to play more to make up for the lack of personnel, and because the music was stylistically different in a way quite similar to the Baroque/Classical difference I mentioned before.

Baroque music is now performed in a way that would have been strange at the time it was written.

Right, that's my bit over with. Carry on, everyone!
Good point on ensemble size. When my band is playing as a 3-piece (most of the time) we have sometimes problems with filling the gaps. If two people are playing with 'less is more' mentality the third person almost always needs to take over and play a lot more or it will just sound boring (eventually). It seems 3.5 -piece would be optimal for us. 4 members sometimes means too much chaos for my taste, especially if the fourth player is as "talkative" as I am. Of course this in not always the case, depends on genre and band and individual players and their characteristics.
 

virfirjans

Member
I will try to express my opnion despite of my bad Englis.
Short answer could be: Overdrumming: Zach Hill / Not Overdrumming: Brian Blade, but this can be true for me but no for everyone, like all issues when we are talking about Art
'Cause the good and the bad in every artistic discipline is simply subjective.
 

Jim Mattingly

Senior Member
The dreaded "overplaying" term. The term is used quite often and used very loosely without in my opinion there being a definition for the term/word. I do believe there is actually a phenomenon called overplaying but I tend to associate it with dynamics/timing, or the lack there of. I do not like to the use the term myself when critiqueing someone elses playing. I will however use the statements of playing at one level, usually over the top, throughout any and every song. Never backing off during vocals or a lead. Playing at one overbearing level all the time. Timing, well enough said about that, it is what it is, you either have it or you do not. Luckily the two of these are usually associated with lack of experience and both of them can be overcome with time and more experience, and also for someone to be very honest a letting them know, but the person must be able to accept and deal with honest criticism. I am a firm believer in recording as many practices as you possibly can, whether it is a live practice with your band or your own practicing. Even if we are not recording during a practice I will always turn my TASCAM pocket recorder on, well worth the hundred bucks..
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
This is a very interesting discussion, and while it's moved on from this point I thought I would add something on the following subject...
If you go back to just before Beethoven, in the Baroque era the performer's interpretation was much more important, partly because of smaller ensembles, and partly because the overriding concept was of seperate lines of music interacting with one another, rather than the concept of vertical harmony that appeared in the Classical period that followed it.
The Romantic composers you mention later were obviously trying to corral a vast orchestra into doing something very precise, which is impossible with 90 people's own interpretations. I can relate to this from my experience playing in my present band, where there are six of us typically playing very fast and there's not much room for manoeuvre, or the whole thing falls apart. However, in the 3-piece I was in before, we almost had to play more to make up for the lack of personnel, and because the music was stylistically different in a way quite similar to the Baroque/Classical difference I mentioned before.

Baroque music is now performed in a way that would have been strange at the time it was written.

Right, that's my bit over with. Carry on, everyone!
You're right about Baroque. Before the 20th century it was the most embellished western period. And with a few exceptions the performer ran the show, often using the composer as the launch point for his own individual creativity. Bach, Handel and those guys were big time improvisers.

Then Castrati Opera came and the whole thing went south. The Castrati were among the tackiest performers in music history, with one often stopping an opera in its tracks to have a cadenza duel with another. And this yodeling went on for hours because the crowd /a common mob nothing like the stuffed shirts you see now/ loved it like certain people like professional wrestling today. But the composers thought it was the end of music and started to covertly limit the improvisational aspects by producing stronger melodies incapable of reasonable alterations. This ushered in the classical period which came between the Baroque and Romantic periods and featured Haydn and Mozart, two incredible melody guys whose melodies were so good nobody dared mess with them. They pursued a strict doctrine of simplicity in form and style, and eventually this same classicism, which was really a celebration of certain ancient Greek culture spread to painting an architecture.

So when you played Mozart you really DID play for the song whereas Bach not only had his stuff altered...he expected it.

But still even during the Baroque era the pieces weren't overwhelmingly group collaborations where Bach asked the viola to make up a part alongside the written out violin then left the cello up to his own devices by having him pick the register that suit him the best. There was a strict roadmap to follow then you proceeded with structured embellishments all under the control of the composer. And if no one believes that why don't you try to improvise any way you want on a Bach Invention then report later on how it went. This is in no way close to what goes on now in early 21st century contemporary music. The last 100 years have absolutely been a new ballgame.

Right now western popular music is in a classical period...the melodic contour is worshipped while improvisation is frowned upon. And before somebody half reads this post then starts chiming in with a not always, followed by yet another rare exception, why not just go with this until the point is made?

2011 is Western Popular Classicism and Mozart has been dead for quite some time now. To fill the gap a lot of lesser developments have occured including this Madonna/ Spears/Gaga time warp. However, over the past ten years or so a new group have been venturing forward and saying I don't like the limitations.

And just like 200 years ago a group of mostly older detractors have been preaching a lot of Play for the song doctrine that no longer applies...basically forcing you to go along because they're not up on the beginnings of this new Beethoven era enough to have any control, afraid that they will be cast out themselves. AND like the last Beethoven era this same crowd screams at the top of its lungs that none of that is true and that anyone who says so is overly sensitive. So just as it was back then this older crowd screams, belittles and points fingers because they don't know what's going on.

Welcome to the Beethoven era and it's going to be around for a while.

Look here's my beef with the Bb forum discussion in general. So many seem all hell bent to say something but few really do the homework, which in this case would be some actualization that maybe this identical discussion is not only old but has probably been recycling again and again for thousands of years. Furthermore my saying that doesn't make me an elitist or a snob...just the guy who did the homework while trying to respond to the guy who didn't think there was any, while he wonders aloud why you're not automatically agreeing with him.

Take it to the bank that every over musician in Vienna over the age of 40 thought Beethoven overplayed, and over composed and over just about everything else. Then when Wagner rolled around with his excess the old Beethoven crowd thought HE overplayed, then came Rite of Spring, then still later a brand new group of edit crazy minimalists like Webern showed up because they thought the old crowd had gone too far.

See how it works? Nothing is new here.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
If you think you overplay, but your audience is consitently growing, then you're not overplaying. If you think overplaying is your biggest performance issue, & your gig attendance numbers are static or falling, you're probably right. The complexity of your playing should always be in line with the band's vision. If your band mates are asking you to tone it down, then you should, or find another band that fits your aspiration.

Interesting historical cycle observation Matt.
 

hunterde

Senior Member
High guys my previous post was #32, sorry I think I misread the topic. In that post I talked about how I would chart the songs of the band I was going to be playing with let me rephrase that post to make it more relevant to this topic. From charting the drum parts it was easy to see that the simpler the chart the more popular the band and the simpler the chart more high paying the gig. When you sit down behind the drums to write a drum part you do not want to thank OK I'm going to write a drum part you need to think OK WERE going to write a song. I know a lot of musicians lets say guitar players who spent years learning how to be virtuosos at the guitar and then set down and say today I'm going to write a hit song. There are some super talented guys/girls who have done just that but that's one in a million. One of the most popular bands I ever played, with the guys in the band could hardly play their instruments but, they knew how to write a hit. I know drummers who have much more talent than I do that have literally cried to me, man I just can't get a gig. One time one of the Beatles were asked if Ringo the best drummer in the world, and his reply was Ringo not even the best drummer in the Beatles. But he knew that Ringo had what it took that's why they chose Ringo over Pete Best. Think about when we talk about great musicians we rarely mention any of the Beatles. But yes, they were some of the greatest musicians ever.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I think that if we can look at our playing on a particular piece retrospectively,and feel that we served the MUSIC and our fellow musicians,then we didn't overplay the piece.
Less is more,more is less.If we're playing a straight 8 over 4 on the floor and its boreing,well then...fill away..just not too much.Ringo has constantly been acused of underplaying but listed to what he does play, and then when you want that fill...he gives it to you, just where it should be.Lots of material to exemplify this but just listen to "Rain".Who says you can't play a fill over the vocal.

Steve B
 

hunterde

Senior Member
Right on, brother. I like the comment by John Reilly “you want to put your listeners in a trance” that may not be his exact words, but something to that effect.
 

Pachikara-Tharakan

Silver Member
If you think you overplay, but your audience is consitently growing, then you're not overplaying. If you think overplaying is your biggest performance issue, & your gig attendance numbers are static or falling, you're probably right. The complexity of your playing should always be in line with the band's vision. If your band mates are asking you to tone it down, then you should, or find another band that fits your aspiration.

Interesting historical cycle observation Matt.
quite simple explanation , thanks :)
 
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