Why Is It?

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Speaking as someone who spent the last 4 years dedicated to learning jazz, at one point I realized that it’s more like learning a language than learning songs or even an instrument. If you don’t know the language well enough you will, at best, speak with an accent. Non jazz listeners might not hear it but those who speak the language will know.

I’ll probably always speak jazz with a rock accent. Depending on what level of player I’m playing with, they will probably hear it. I do find that a little intimidating, even if they are kind and accepting. Maybe I have too much pride.

I definitely like this comparison!!! Especially because music IS a language

I play jazz, with a rock drummer accent, from the Metal and Punk part of the country
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Speaking as someone who spent the last 4 years dedicated to learning jazz, at one point I realized that it’s more like learning a language than learning songs or even an instrument. If you don’t know the language well enough you will, at best, speak with an accent. Non jazz listeners might not hear it but those who speak the language will know.

I’ll probably always speak jazz with a rock accent. Depending on what level of player I’m playing with, they will probably hear it. I do find that a little intimidating, even if they are kind and accepting. Maybe I have too much pride.
I guess I should consider myself lucky to have been exposed to rock, metal, jazz, fusion, blues, contemporary and even played a number of ‘high class’ cocktail parties and fundraisers using only brushes as background dinner music such as Girl from Ipanama back in my earlier playing days.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
that we all treat playing jazz as this huge, monumental, Earth shaking, stress inducing event?

I read soooo many people saying " I got a jazz, gig, and am soooo nervous about......"

what is the pressure?
what makes jazz the bellweather?

it happened to me too 10 years ago when I got my first legit jazz gig. But now, I can't even remember what I was sos worked up about. And it is a WAAAYYYY easier gig than most metal and punk bands I have been in, both from a musical and logistical standpoint. Granted, we are not playing crazy, super fast, 60's Free bop/fusion etc...bbut still.

Why did we let jazz become this feared monster in our culture?

It's not for me because that's kind of what I've done for a few decades - but if I were to get something like a metal gig - that's completely out of my element I would be freaked out.

So I think the simple answer is that not a lot of people play or listen to jazz - so it's a vocabulary that isn't built into most people and people fear the unknown. pretty simple.
 

Mr Farkle

Well-known member
I guess I should consider myself lucky to have been exposed to rock, metal, jazz, fusion, blues, contemporary and even played a number of ‘high class’ cocktail parties and fundraisers using only brushes as background dinner music such as Girl from Ipanama back in my earlier playing days.
I agree. It sounds like you’re a well rounded musician!

Side note… 1960‘s casual cocktail attire makes everyone look cool.
 
The ability to decipher drum charts can be very useful, but I wouldn't trade my ear for the best sight-reading skills on the planet.
Luckily, this isn't an either-or-decision. You don't forget how to listen and speak just because you learn how to read and write.
At first, reading sentences is cumbersome and you trip over some syllables, but as you get more practice with it, you can read and already hear what the words are. Then you're free to read whatever you find interesting, you don't have to remember everything, it's easier to discuss things...
As drummers we mainly need quarter notes, 8ths and 16ths and the corresponding rests, so an alphabet of 6 "letters" covers most ground. Add ties and dotted notes and you're mostly done.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
I agree. It sounds like you’re a well rounded musician!

Side note… 1960‘s casual cocktail attire makes everyone look cool.
Hahaha! So true! I owned a black tuxedo 🤵and a few different ruffled tux shirts (including lavender and pale pink!), went great with my ‘wings’ and shoulder length locks.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Luckily, this isn't an either-or-decision. You don't forget how to listen and speak just because you learn how to read and write.
At first, reading sentences is cumbersome and you trip over some syllables, but as you get more practice with it, you can read and already hear what the words are. Then you're free to read whatever you find interesting, you don't have to remember everything, it's easier to discuss things...
As drummers we mainly need quarter notes, 8ths and 16ths and the corresponding rests, so an alphabet of 6 "letters" covers most ground. Add ties and dotted notes and you're mostly done.
I understand that and don't dispute it. I read music fluently and underwent five years of formal training to do so. I'm not diminishing the value of notation and the ability to utilize it. I'm merely positing that, in many musical contexts, a great ear can take you farther than a great eye. In stating that I value a great ear, I'm simply underscoring the import I place on that capacity. Clearly, being well rounded is the ideal, though life is rarely ideal. A glance at reality demonstrates that point.
 
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SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
I agree. It sounds like you’re a well rounded musician!

Side note… 1960‘s casual cocktail attire makes everyone look cool.
Well rounded = not specialized (me).
My favorites are (in no particularly intentional order) hard rock, rock, fusion, metal and jazz.
I also listen to Johnny Cash regularly and love old swing and Big Bang music at times. Old blue eyes and muddy waters never get old. Also music from previous eras, from the 1930’s especially. Variety is the Spice of Life.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Well rounded = not specialized (me).
My favorites are (in no particularly intentional order) hard rock, rock, fusion, metal and jazz.
I also listen to Johnny Cash regularly and love old swing and Big Bang music at times. Old blue eyes and muddy waters never get old. Also music from previous eras, from the 1930’s especially. Variety is the Spice of Life.
 

Sebenza

Member
There is no substitute for talent.

Not correct in my experience. Someone who (hypothetically) rates 5 out of 10 on a (hypothetical) talent scale but practices diligently 5 hours a day, has a very good chance of getting further than someone rating 9 out of 10 who practices 5 hours a week.

Having loads of talent just grants one a headstart...lots of less talented people can catch up and even overtake if they work hard enough.

The absolute finest of course have both...loads of talent and the willingness and discipline to put in the hours
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Interesting analysis. I agree that anyone with enough desire and drive can accomplish anything regardless of talent. Marylin Monroe for example.
 
I understand that and don't dispute it. I read music fluently and underwent five years of formal training to do so. I'm not diminishing the value of notation and the ability to utilize it. I'm merely positing that, in many musical contexts, a great ear can take you farther than a great eye. In stating that I value a great ear, I'm simply underscoring the import I place on that capacity. Clearly, being well rounded is the ideal, though life is rarely ideal. A glance at reality demonstrates that point.
The original post by someguy was "Without an audio reference, this might as well be hieroglyphics:" and I tried to explain that it's not as mysterious as it might look in the beginning and there is a straightforward method to it. He said he can read it, but in a public forum we're also "talking" to users that don't participate in the conversation. Sorry for the overused adage, but it's like teaching a man to fish. By investing just a few minutes every day, you won't be reliant on audio files as your only source of information.
Also, your ears might trick you when hearing something you don't understand (see the recent thread on All Along The Watchtower...) - you might not even be aware of what you're missing (Are those triplets or dotted notes? / Did I catch all the ghost notes? / Where exactly is this note placed? ...). A good transcription might show you in no time what the tricky part is and then you can zero in on that part. Sometimes, you'll develop your auditory perception by just recreating what's written on the page and it sinks in.
To me, reading and hearing go hand in hand and can support each other. That's why I took the time to try to explain the notation. Hence my gripe with your post. Of course everyone is free to learn whatever they want and people follow their preferences anyway, but why not give it a shot? To me, having great ears and mediocre eyes is better than having great ears and no eyes.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The original post by someguy was "Without an audio reference, this might as well be hieroglyphics:" and I tried to explain that it's not as mysterious as it might look in the beginning and there is a straightforward method to it. He said he can read it, but in a public forum we're also "talking" to users that don't participate in the conversation. Sorry for the overused adage, but it's like teaching a man to fish. By investing just a few minutes every day, you won't be reliant on audio files as your only source of information.
Also, your ears might trick you when hearing something you don't understand (see the recent thread on All Along The Watchtower...) - you might not even be aware of what you're missing (Are those triplets or dotted notes? / Did I catch all the ghost notes? / Where exactly is this note placed? ...). A good transcription might show you in no time what the tricky part is and then you can zero in on that part. Sometimes, you'll develop your auditory perception by just recreating what's written on the page and it sinks in.
To me, reading and hearing go hand in hand and can support each other. That's why I took the time to try to explain the notation. Hence my gripe with your post. Of course everyone is free to learn whatever they want and people follow their preferences anyway, but why not give it a shot? To me, having great ears and mediocre eyes is better than having great ears and no eyes.
Once again, I don't disagree, nor do I dismiss the utility of transcriptions. Furthermore, departing from the "gripe" you have with my post, I have no reciprocal "gripe" with yours. Those who have the resources and desire to acquaint themselves with notation and formal theory should certainly do so, though I would not, depending on their cumulative skillsets, think them inadequate if they abstained. A lot goes into the making of a musician. The prerequisites we're fond of enforcing don't always reign. May each player assess his or her own circumstances and pursue a plan that supports those goals.

"A good transcription might show you in no time what the tricky part is and then you can zero in on that part."

In this context, all transcriptions, like all translations of language and all interpretations of poetry, are subjective interpretations, nothing more. When we consult a song's transcription, we're relying upon the ear of the transcription's creator. It then becomes a matter of whose ear is better, yours or someone else's. Hence, I treat most transcriptions as suggestions -- sometimes good ones, sometimes bad ones. Efficacy is always debatable.
 
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My last post probably sounds harsher than intended, so I probably need to rectifiy a few things. Sorry for dragging you into this lengthy discussion! :D

I certainly don't want to force anybody in particular to learn notation and counting. It's just that I endorse learning the basics of it.
The effort is pretty low (a few hours) and the risks of learning it are minimal to me. The benefits far outweigh the effort and risks: writing your own notes, communicating with band members, reading exercises and learning transcriptions *.

I guess the discussion reminds me of a similar recurring one: Will a metronome make my playing robotic? / Does it mess with my natural time and ability to listen and groove with a band? I'd say definitely not, as long as you still use your ears. What it will do is showing you that some things are actually not as great as your hearing suggested at first. So it might actually improve your listening abilities.
Unfortunately, metronomes and notation seem to be sidelined quite often, because they might be a little bit frustrating at first. However, the learning curve picks up rather quickly and then you've acquired something very useful and the initial frustration will be gone for good.

Since there was a call for more videos that explain stuff quickly, here is one by Rick Beato. This one is surprisingly concise and might help to brush up on the most important rhythms that drummers use. If you're completely new to it, it might be a bit fast, though.

* I've found that transcriptions by good authors are often very accurate. If 99% of a given transcription are correct, that's not too bad - especially if you can't transcribe it yourself or if you don't have the time and motivation to do so. Definitely, use your ears and listen to the original. Transcribing yourself is a great way to develop your hearing, too. So again, I feel like eyes and ears can work together.
 
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someguy01

Well-known member
Since there was a call for more videos that explain stuff quickly, here is one by Rick Beato
Can't watch. I can't stand that guy's face, much less anything else about him.
I'll look around for another video, but I truly appreciate the gesture.
 
It was surprisingly tricky to find a good video - this one might be better:
And this one might be helpful to anybody that's unfamiliar with ties, dots and the symbols in general. The last third is not as important and the rhythm at 2:28 would normally be written differently. Instead of the last quarter, a dotted 8th with a tie to a 16th on the 4 would be easier to read, but it's formally correct.
 

Suburbankidz

Well-known member
I'm basically a rock, blues and funk drummer. I have gone to a few jazz jams. I did just fine playing jazz. Mainly because 60 years ago my drum teacher taught me how to play jazz. But I will share with you why many drummers might feel nervous playing jazz.

1. In most cases jazz is played at a low volume. When playing drums at low volumes your mistakes will stand out. Your technique, and your accuracy of tempo will be fully exposed. It can be hard for rock drummers to play fast and a low volume.
2. The rhythm of the song is kept with the hi hat and the ride cymbal. The other musicians in the band are listening for your pattern on your ride cymbal and your hi hat click. In my rock band I can't even hear the pattern on my ride cymbal. And in rock music the click of the hi hat is very hard to hear. In rock music the bass drum and the snare provides the rhythm of the song. I was playing with some jazz musicians at a local jazz jam. After I was done the bass player commented that I played very well, but I did not need to play the bass drum so loud. And I was barely hitting the bass drum!
3. Playing 2/4, 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8 is no problem. But there is always that fear that the band will start playing some strange off tempo time signature.
4. Many jazz tunes include drum solos. If you are afraid to solo, jazz is not for you. Actually that is what I like about jazz. It is very friendly to drum solos. You need to be ready to trade fours. If you don't know what that means, find out before you play jazz.
5. You need to know how to play with brushes. And when to use brushes. And which songs sound better with brushes.
6. And lastly, unless you listen to classic and contemporary jazz tunes you won't be familiar with jazz tunes. This is not a major issue, but it helps a great deal to be familiar with the song you are playing.

All of these things can create pressure on many drummers who don't normally play jazz.


.

Thank you!
 
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