A question for percc - percusi - drummers

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Rapier, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Maybe a numpty question, but not being a drummer it's ok. I noticed on a score the other day a quaver on the kick drum? How's that done then? You either kick it or don't, how do you do a 'short' kick? :confused:
  2. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    Welcome to the wonderful world of composers who don't understand percussion.

    Just kick it where it says and ignore the length, it'll be fairly short anyway.

  3. welcome to percussion world!! the opening note in dean goffins my strength, my tower used in the 2nd section nationals was a minim on the snare drum. fair comment if it was a roll....... but no just a minim :-? try and work that one out....
  4. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Ah, I see. Percussion is sort of ad lib then? At least the notation used by arrangers is.
  5. Mr Guinness

    Mr Guinness Member

    Maybe this is just composers/arrangers trying to make us feel a bit more like one of the gang, with this note length malarkey.

    They'll be expecting us to follow dynamics next. Fools.
  6. i follow every dynamic written perfectly............as long as they have lots of FFFF"s in them:rolleyes: never understood what the PPPP ones mean!
  7. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Perhaps the composer did know what they were doing, when I've written kit parts, I like a crisp bass drum note, so a quaver on a kit bass drum for me indicates you keep your foot on the pedal to dampen the sound after playing.
  8. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The percussion parts must be synchronized to the rest of the parts. Using the example from My Strength, My Tower given above, I believe that if you look at the score you would note that the percussion part mirrors the rhythm of another part. Writing a minim or other "long" note in such a case makes the score easier to read, if nothing else.

    What would you write in such a case? In order to be in time, every note, even in the percussion parts, has a duration of something. Would it really make sense in that example to write, say, a semiquaver and then fill in with rests? In my opinion, that would make the part more complex and difficult to read.

    Another point to make, especially with older music where parts had to be engraved, is that every symbol has an associated cost. Even with modern typesetting software, the fewer the symbols, the less time it takes to prepare the music.
  9. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    I know exactly where you're coming from on this one, but those are rather strong words - especially when the OP didn't mention which piece or composer it was.

    As brasscrest so rightly points out, there has to be a length of note in order to put it on the page - and as a composer who does understand percussion I would still normally match note lengths in the perc parts to what the rest of the band had unless there was a particularly pressing reason not to.
  10. JoeDrumTech

    JoeDrumTech New Member

    note lengths for percussion vary depending what piece of percussion you are playing, on a kick drum they tend to right the length so that it matches whats happening on the other parts of the kit and also to make it clearer to read.

    if for example you played something tuned like vibraphone or gock, the lenght then signifies wether to use hard/soft sticks or to dampen in order to create the right feel. all these are down to the individual players discretion. and the same goes for timps.
  11. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Having discussed this with our shed builders, I've often heard that leaving rests in bars is often more confusing than filling in the gaps using longer note lengths, dots etc, to mirror other parts as above.

    This is especially true of kit, which is usually (in my experience) written in two voices. So if in 4:4 you had eight quavers on a hi-hat with a bass drum beat on the first and third crotchet of the bar, it's far easier and clearer to use two minims rather than two crotchets, as you then have an untidy mix of notes and rests.

    Mixing note lengths can be done to aid reading too. like if you have a 3, 3, 2 rhythm within a 4:4 bar, often quaver, two quaver rests, quaver, crotchet rest, crotchet is the clearest method of notation. The note lengths don't really mean anything - but it's often the clearest way to show the rhythm.
  12. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    On timpani, the note length is an actual note length, because timps "ring". So, if I wrote a crochet followed by a rest for timp, I would intend for it to be damped so as to not "hang over" into the rest.

    Good point about vibes and glock.
  13. TubaGeek

    TubaGeek Member

    I think "P" is for POWERFUL!!!
  14. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    Obviously you missed the smiley....that I, er, forgot to put in. Said in jest, I assure you!

    I agree with everything that's been said in this thread about timps, and glockenspiel. However, we were originally talking about a kit bass drum part, and I stand by what I said - whatever the length written, play the start of the note and forget the length.

    Experience tells me that percussion parts often need a great deal of "interpretation" to understand what the composer actually wanted.

    PS: We spent a fun twenty minutes comparing the Salute To Youth perc parts against the score - I'd recommend anyone who hasn't had their area yet to do the same!
  15. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    Fair enough! :D

    Couldn't agree more. Sometimes I've never worked out what a composer or arranger actually wanted. Occasionally I've even had to resort to playing what was actually on the copy!! :eek:;)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2009
  16. anyway...........i dont like brass players meddling in our percussion world ;) we know what we are doing, and as long as we stick to the first rule of percussion....if in doubt....roll.... we will be just fine. teach all my students that........ perhaps thats why there is a shortage of good up and coming perc players in n.wales lol:dunno
  17. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Ah but we brassies have a saying too.

    "Never trust anyone holding a stick. They're always either a conductor, or a drummer."

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