Sad Drumming

AndyMC

Senior Member
Does anyone know good examples of sad sounding drumming that isn't super minimalist? After watching Hiromi Uehara I got jealous and wondered if anyone knew a way to play drums both interestingly and sadly, which seems hard because drums are just so happy of an instrument to play.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Does anyone know good examples of sad sounding drumming that isn't super minimalist? After watching Hiromi Uehara I got jealous and wondered if anyone knew a way to play drums both interestingly and sadly, which seems hard because drums are just so happy of an instrument to play.
I wouldn't describe Hiromi's performance as sad, more like, emotional, soulful, deep, profound, meaningful, with a melancholy air, yes, but not sad... :)

Now with this in mind Andy, you might be able to find drumming that fit my description of Hiromi's performance, it should be easier , isn't it?

I've never heard or seen sad drumming...err...wrong, I've heard sad drumming, but not in the sense you're looking for... it was a disaster ;-))
 
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AndyMC

Senior Member
I guess melancholy would be a better word, my communication skills are much better with rhythm than words.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
That was wonderful, and what control, especially on some of those crashes. You sir get a +1
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
A sad song would be what you are looking out for, not necessarily sad drumming. If the song makes you feel sad, there's your target.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
A sad song would be what you are looking out for, not necessarily sad drumming. If the song makes you feel sad, there's your target.
Well said Larry, it's the emotion of the song, which obviously, in some cases affect the musicians who are playing it, not the instrument. :)
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
Of course feeling the emotion of a song is important to playing sadly, however with melodic instruments if you go into a minor key in general you have more of a sad sound, I was wondering what in drumming would correspond to this, and listening to examples I think its just playing behind the beat a little, and with some push and pull.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I always felt that John Densmores drum part on "Riders on the Storm" was a melancholy and moody treatment that worked well within the song.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Does anyone know good examples of sad sounding drumming that isn't super minimalist? ... drums are just so happy of an instrument to play.
Minimalism - use of space - will be involved for that very reason ... drums are a naturally exuberant instrument. "Circumspect" would be about as close as we get to sad, wouldn't it? (maybe with the occasional hysterical outburst :)

So I'd go with Larry in saying this is about appropriate accompaniment in sad songs.

Have a look at the Brian Blade clip in context with a New Orleans second line funeral in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG6KH905cGU.

Michael Giles in parts of Epitaph http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhuG2hCJtsk

Elvin in Alabama http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j_TDoOPnIA
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Does anyone know good examples of sad sounding drumming that isn't super minimalist? .
I think the minimalism is part of constructing a sad part though.

The wide open spaces, the lack of notes, the emptiness...those are concepts that contribute to a sad feeling.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I think the minimalism is part of constructing a sad part though.

The wide open spaces, the lack of notes, the emptiness...those are concepts that contribute to a sad feeling.
Thanks DED, what's what I was trying to say, but not as clearly as you did.

If we don't leave those spaces then we start sounding exuberant again. The only negative emotion suited to lively drumming is anger.
 

Drum Mum

Member
I remember as a child hearing James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" when it was still on the radio-yes, I'm that old! Russ Kunkel's drumming just made me ache inside. He was forced to play with brushes because of the neighbor's complaints during group practice, and it was just the right thing. His touch on the drums, sad and powerful, is masterful. As Polly said, lots of space, but strong sense of dynamics.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
I really am looking for how drums can have that melancholy air on their own. I understand how to accompany a sad song, but most of those you could take the exact same drum part and put some happier melodies right over them. I think we have touched on some elements of what might make this sound.
1 generally quiet dynamics, either with brushes or controlled playing
2 Use of space (which i find different than minimalism, you can do a lot then stop then do some more)
3 playing behind the beat (I hear this myself but would like some agreement before confirming)
4 building on the initial quiet simple feel without losing where you started (maybe not necessary but necessary to sound good)
please comment and critique

PS I disagree that anger is the only negative emotion suited for lively playing, there is anxiety, envy, and hate. Yin and Yang there must be balance between positive and negative.
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
Jeff Hamilton wrote a drum solo for his drum teacher's funeral.

It seemed pretty sad. He did it at Modern Drummer Festival '98 I believe.
 
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