Scoring for Kit percussion

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Thirteen Ball, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Being a confirmed brass player, and never dallying with instruments that involve sticks, I'm a little bit concerned when writing for Kit percussion.

    Sibelius is a wonderful package, but doesn't seem to have it's head on the right way up when it comes to drums. Suffice to say, every kit part I've produced so far has been...less than perfect!

    Anyone got any advice so I can get back on the right side of our resident noisy toys experts?

    Cheers Y'all.

  2. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    Hi Andi

    What is it you're after. Advice on scoring for kit or advice on notating for kit on Sibelius?

    Either way there are several of us on here who can help.

    Let us know what it is exactly you are after and I'm sure we can come up with some sparkling solutions :tup
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2005
  3. weenie

    weenie Member

    I always find it easier to just read a given rhythm thats written at the start of a piece, then just repeat it for so many bars. Only write the bits that need to be played in unison with the band. Most drummers wont need the music after a while, maybe only for rehearsal purposes.
  4. Grab the text tool and just put Ad-Lib ,that will do most of us :biggrin:
  5. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    It's mainly about writing things so that our percussion bods at co-op can read and play them. I generally know what effect I'm trying to get, whether I want crash cymbal, toms, snare etc, but what I write on Sib and what our chaps understand isn't the same thing.

    What I really need to know is where on the stave I put something, depending what I want the chap to hit. Tuned stuff is easy but what drum/cymbal goes where is a bit of a dark art to me!

  6. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I kinda suspected that might be the case!

    Like whan a part has "BBb Bass" on the top corner it really means "Octave below ad lib!"

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I was paid a great compliment recently in a review of three of my pieces in the British Bandsman (17.9.05) by Rodney Newton, a professional percussionist, composer and arranger. "drum kit parts in all three titles clearly written out in full". I do not say this to boast in any way, I do have the advantage of having played percussion, including kit.

    So, what am I getting at. 1. By all means PM me for information, and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have. 2. I have to make the point that when I write a part for drum kit, I expect it to be played as written, just like any other instrumental part.
  8. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    I trust this comment is tongue in cheek Tim :D

    As an arranger and a percussionist I wouldn't expect any drum kit part to be played as written ;)

    Writing percussion parts is an art and I have yet to come across any published part that truly takes in to account the skill and dexterity needed for both reading and playing percussion.

    Anyway, "topic" - please don't take it for granted that percussion parts you see published are 'acceptable'. Ask your percussionist what he/she wants and expects to see. At least then you'll be half way there.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    Hi Matt. Having played kit myself, I am aware of 'how the thing works', and what sounds and effects are possible. I have also studied closely parts written for 'drums' in different genres, including of course big band kit parts, which are probably the no.1 bench mark in writing kit parts in the popular/jazz idiom. I am fully aware that some kit parts are either very basic or unclear, which makes it difficult for those who write clear, detailed parts, as many 'drummers' ignore them.

    When I write a kit part, I know that a good kit player will possibly improvise with the part in places, which is to be expected, and is an acceptable thing. This is fine when I have written a 'guide' part, in the verse of a song for example, or clearly indicated a 'fill' or 'break'. What is frustrating though, is when I want something played in a specific way, and to play it any different alters the overall sound I want in the arrangement or composition. I think it is also important for a kit player to look closely at the links between different songs in a medley, or modulations etc. Again, I have written sutained sections, such as a cymbal roll, which is a vital part of the effect, and either something completely different is played, or it is not played at all.

    This is not an argument, I am just putting forward a point of view. I will give a final example if I may. My arrangement of "Manhattan Spiritual" is a feature for Timps & Kit. The two parts are coordinated, including some rhythmic 'conversation' between the two parts. If the kit part is not played as written, then it would not be the same piece.
  10. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    Hi Tim

    Absolutely. And herein lies the problem. Many drum kit parts, even today, are a nonsense. Even some very clearly written parts are embarrassing to play. For example, and a very good example (or very bad depending on your point of view ;) ) - Hootenanny. Look at the kit part to that. Very clear with every bar written out - but if any kit player plays that straight they should be shot.

    Good point. Which all boils down to making the part clear and concise. A lesson so many people, including publishers, should learn. If you want something played - write it out. If you're happy for the player to ad-lib - say so.

    When I write kit parts I always indicate when ad-libbing is OK. When I play kit I play what's written (at least once :D ).
  11. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Yes... I'll be in touch later with a sheet with how to write the kit parts etc.. It's eeeeeeasy :)
  12. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Oh boy, have I opened a can of worms, it's getting as bad as the 'To pedal or not to pedal' debate!!! ;)

    Thanks for your help everyone.


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