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Thread: Are We Loosing Our Musicality

  1. #1

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    I asked this on another forum so I thought I'd try here as well...

    I have been watching the threads of late instead of posting. And besides the aggressive behavior I've been seeing, there was another concern of mine that sort of begs to ask the question. In this day and age, our we throwing out the baby with the bathwater and loosing our musicality.

    I've read thread after thread on musical gear (pretty normal I would say) and drummers of choice (also pretty normal), techniques and tricks etc..., but where has all the musicality gone? How fast can you play is real nice, and how genius a pro interpretation is for teaching examples is all well and good, but where is the influence or focus on what what we do as a part to the whole. How do we fit as a group member instead of just a focal point? Nobody is talking about things like phrasing, verses vs choruses, the strength and embellishment of phrasing and repetition, dynamics both loud and soft, lyrical (not the vocal kind) improvisation...etc. Are we all just scratching records to a beat or revamping old tunes with new instruments? What ever happened to 1 4 5 1, or subtle 12 bar blues interpretations? Are we all just caught up in HOW TO PLAY and not enough in WHAT TO PLAY? I'm slowly becoming disheartened about the state of music in general. Somebody set me straight...so I know all of my years of music theory and compositional instructions aren't falling by the wayside...

  2. #2

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    I don't think we're losing it but it is my opinion that the internet draws many beginners and part timers (you know... old farts like me). The serious musicians are not hanging out in forums. They are either in school (music school) or in the woodshed hours upon hours honing their craft. Or they're busy gigging full time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    I don't think we're losing it but it is my opinion that the internet draws many beginners and part timers (you know... old farts like me). The serious musicians are not hanging out in forums. They are either in school (music school) or in the woodshed hours upon hours honing their craft. Or they're busy gigging full time.
    I agree to a point, but when I gigged, I would have loved to have a place like these forums to catch up on the latest and the greatest, much less hang with friends. With being on the road as much as I was, I never got back to see my fellow buds playing or hanging out with them. And we didn't have the internet (I'm an old fart too can you tell), so there was no way to share except by phone and that was too expensive and inconvenient. And I would take issue with the serious musician comment since I met some real heavy hitters here on these boards, along with serious full-timers.

    I just get the feeling like a lot of people are focused too much on the intricacies of "how to" rather than the bigger picture of "why should I" or "how does this work with." Maybe it's a self centered type issue, but one of the benefits to being a truly well rounded musician is to be able to perform with and for people. It's nice to have individual self gratification, but there is so much more to music than how to play a blast beat at 260bpm.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by carminemw View Post
    I asked this on another forum so I thought I'd try here as well...

    I have been watching the threads of late instead of posting. And besides the aggressive behavior I've been seeing, there was another concern of mine that sort of begs to ask the question. In this day and age, our we throwing out the baby with the bathwater and loosing our musicality.

    I've read thread after thread on musical gear (pretty normal I would say) and drummers of choice (also pretty normal), techniques and tricks etc..., but where has all the musicality gone? How fast can you play is real nice, and how genius a pro interpretation is for teaching examples is all well and good, but where is the influence or focus on what what we do as a part to the whole. How do we fit as a group member instead of just a focal point? Nobody is talking about things like phrasing, verses vs choruses, the strength and embellishment of phrasing and repetition, dynamics both loud and soft, lyrical (not the vocal kind) improvisation...etc. Are we all just scratching records to a beat or revamping old tunes with new instruments? What ever happened to 1 4 5 1, or subtle 12 bar blues interpretations? Are we all just caught up in HOW TO PLAY and not enough in WHAT TO PLAY? I'm slowly becoming disheartened about the state of music in general. Somebody set me straight...so I know all of my years of music theory and compositional instructions aren't falling by the wayside...
    you know, our grandparents and old jazz types felt the same way when people started playing and popularizing straight ahead 1 4 5 1 blues progressions. that was once the equivilent of "scratching records over sampled beats isnt musicianship". musicallity is in the ear of the beholder. i do agree that people should focus much more on "why to play" instead of "what to play". chops should serve the music not the musician.

    by all means, lets talk more about those things that make a player a good "musician".

    btw drummer, i try to consider myself a serious drummer, and i learn new things every day on these forums. the thing with this forum is, it is still kinda young and has not attracted enuff older experienced guys that preach these things without trashing the things that youngsters really want to learn these days.
    Last edited by funkymcstain; 02-11-2008 at 11:13 AM.

  5. #5

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    Cool Are we losing our musicality?

    Quote Originally Posted by carminemw View Post
    ...And I would take issue with the serious musician comment since I met some real heavy hitters here on these boards, along with serious full-timers...

    ...Maybe it's a self centered type issue, but one of the benefits to being a truly well rounded musician is to be able to perform with and for people. It's nice to have individual self gratification, but there is so much more to music than how to play a blast beat at 260bpm.
    I seem to fall in between the two--I'm an old fart, too--but I didn't start seriously studying percussion until I was in my early 30s...and that's something that has puzzled me, too. My drum teacher began studying percussion in the mid-50s, and he's as serious a musician as I've ever known...

    In my case, people our age (I assume we're in our 50s--I'm 55, for what that's worth) are focused on "how does this work?" because we grew up with music in which we played with others, as you say!

    Believe it or not, carmine, I don't like drum solos--not the interminably long kind in which the drummer hits everything up to and including the kitchen sink to have people say "hey, isn't that cool? Look at that cat play 8 side toms, double bass, timbales and bongos all at once!"

    A short solo (two, maybe four bars max) that fits into the context of the tune--yeah, man, that's the kind of solo I dig...to me, as a percussionist, a short fill on the bongos or congas every so often creates more excitement and drive than an extended solo that literally stops the show--and stops the flow!

    In my experience, I've gotten many more compliments on my dynamics, timing and feel (like, "Hey, man, the way you played your congas on such-and-such a song really fit the tune.") than I have on any solo I've ever done.

    And I get more pleasure out of hearing how my drumming and percussion fits into to the groove than stickin' out like a sore thumb...
    keep the beat goin' ... Don't keep it to yourself!

    Charlie

    "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." --Henry David Thoreau, "Walden," 1854

    "There's a lot to be said for Time Honored tradition and value." --In memory of Frank "fiacovaz" Iacovazzi

    "Maybe your drums can be beat, but you can't."--Jack Keck

  6. #6

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    I would agree to a point, but in my opinion musical language isn't as fun to sit around and post about as much as gear is. For one, gear is physical and easier to discuss in this format than trying to convey what you mean by dynamics and subtle phrasing in type written form. I have enough problem trying to communicate what I mean in describing the particular sound of a cymbal. For me it is about communication skills. Even this post was challenging trying to formulate my thoughts so that you understand what I am trying to say.

  7. #7

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    I just remember when we put our shows together, it was such a musical collaboration, like "what can you do here to give us this lead into that, or how can WE bring this to a boil so when we he this climax, we're gonna blow the roof off this stage! It was meaningful, collaborative, musical, and inspirational. I've played in couple hundred seat clubs and 20,000 seat arenas, but the feeling you get on stage was still the same. It was musical explosions, and subtleties, and timings and even the faux paux's, that make the whole experience come alive. These forums don't tend to wanna go there (not this one in particular...just in general) I joined John Paul Jone's forum just cause I wanted to learn more about his lyrical bass techniques. JPJ and Bonham, Just like Garibaldi and Prestia, are like the 2 parts of an egg...you really can't tell where one leaves off and the other starts...even though they make up different colors.

    I'm a professionally trained musician, from age 6 1/2, but I always want to come away learning something new. I'm not getting a lot of that lately...just how can I make my feet go faster. I even heard one group talk about how spasming your calves could really be beneficial. WHAT!!!! Are you kidding me!!! That's not what it's about! It's about playing...I can program a drum machine that will blow the doors off any player here...but once again, that's not what it's about!!!

    I sound like an old goober, but we've all gotten away from what the real music means...the real drumming experts know it too. Those are the ones who really know the score (no pun intended...well maybe just a little)

    Have you all seen this..."Nerve" with Jojo Mayer" Now HE knows drumming and music! And what a chop monster HE IS! IMO, he's the most musical drummer I have heard in the last 10 years...enjoy (And I'll get off my soapbox now... ) and let you see what REAL musical drum mastery is about...Listen to all those punches in the middle of all that raw energy and talent!!

    http://www.onlinedrummer.com/drummer.php?BeatId=462
    Last edited by drummer; 02-11-2008 at 10:57 PM.

  8. #8

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    Yea Carminemw I hear ya! I know what you are trying to say!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by carminemw View Post
    I'm a professionally trained musician, from age 6 1/2, but I always want to come away learning something new. I'm not getting a lot of that lately...just how can I make my feet go faster.
    Have you all seen this..."Nerve" with Jojo Mayer" Now HE knows drumming and music! And what a chop monster HE IS! IMO, he's the most musical drummer I have heard in the last 10 years...enjoy (And I'll get off my soapbox now... ) and let you see what REAL musical drum mastery is about...Listen to all those punches in the middle of all that raw energy and talent!!
    Hi carminemw, and welcome to the drum chat. Hey carminemw, I totally understand what you are talking about and agree with you. In bald, you are a very experienced senior player and we need the likes of you around to be able to pass that musicality on and learn off. This thread will make some very interesting conversation I believe because we will hear mixed views.
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  10. #10

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    Hey Carm, Another old fart here, musicality is alive and well my friend, you do it , I do it, in fact all of the drummers on here do it, just to varying degrees based on the music and the experience/talent of the player. It really is just a hard subject to put into words, the best way to express it was by the link to jojo, and to keep an open mind. I have had students who just have it, Ive had others who have to work real hard to [feel] the piece. Maybe if you break down and analyze the nerve piece in detail and put your thoughts in writing then young guy's here may just pick up on something. Death metal music to me is cold and hard but you know what, some young kid's here are getting into drums because of it and that is fantastic. Im not going to diss the music or the players lack of musicality in the piece. I say keep drumming kid , musical tastes will change with age and we have another brother. For me Peter Erskin or Jack Deljohhnet are taste monsters, for you its jo jo. all the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ratmycue View Post
    Hey Carm, Another old fart here, musicality is alive and well my friend, you do it , I do it, in fact all of the drummers on here do it, just to varying degrees based on the music and the experience/talent of the player. It really is just a hard subject to put into words, the best way to express it was by the link to jojo, and to keep an open mind. I have had students who just have it, Ive had others who have to work real hard to [feel] the piece. Maybe if you break down and analyze the nerve piece in detail and put your thoughts in writing then young guy's here may just pick up on something. Death metal music to me is cold and hard but you know what, some young kid's here are getting into drums because of it and that is fantastic. Im not going to diss the music or the players lack of musicality in the piece. I say keep drumming kid , musical tastes will change with age and we have another brother. For me Peter Erskin or Jack Deljohhnet are taste monsters, for you its jo jo. all the best.
    I've met Peter and he is a super guy. We played on stage together at the Stan Kenton Clinics at Towson State University. I played latin percussion at the time, sitting right next to Ramone Lopez. Peter was just starting up with the band, before he joined Weather Report...and way before Steps Ahead...a great swing drummer and very tasty player...

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    What a great topic! I'm in my thirties now and I taught myself to play starting at about the age of 25 or 26. I played in a rock ministry band and had the freedom to just bash, I also played in the praise band at church and I learned so much more in church about my instument. In church it is about the whole of the music not just one part and it forces you to really pay attention to what everyone is playing and getting a feel for each other. I do know how to read music but I can't do it on the fly wish I could. I find it intereasting that some drummers i liked before I learned to play I don't realy like so much now and drummers I thought were boring or whatever, I realy like now since learning. I have found it easier to play really fast, than to hold a slower groove and stay on time. Well I hope i got my thoughts out correctly, this is the first forum or anythiny i've done before so I get nervous.

  13. #13
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    I grew up playing in church. The music was relatively a lot simpler in the mid 70s than in todays flavor of contemporary christian, but you learn a lot in church. Playing the song, but more than that, the atmosphere. Playing the moment probably best describes it. Even with the same song, the moment is not the same as last time and wont be the same next time. Being able to feel exactly what you need to do, and how much of it needs done, and then just doing that, because it fits and for that moment its perfect.

    Worst church drummer I every watched play, wasnt the worst player Ive ever seen by any stretch, that guy had great chops. He could do things that were amazing. But he had no sense for the moment. It was all about playing the drums, not playing the music.

    Almost a year ago I joined up with a gospel group that plays out a lot, mostly local. And the rest is within 50 miles. Almost all of it is small............ really small locations. And most arent in a church. In a 35x35 room with twenty or so people, and some of them are less than ten feet from the drums, you absolutely have to make each persons listening experience an enjoyable experience.

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    Ok, first let me say that the musicality your decribing is hard to do exactly that - describe. For most musicians, of any sort, that difference between being muscial and playing a musical instrument comes down to feel - and you can't describe something you feel. That is where we seem to define the difference between someone who is good at something and then those who sit above the rest. I'm not as tachnicaly as alot of other drumemrs around, and I have no where near the skills or talent either, but for some reason, when it comes down to playing with bands - so many people have played wiht in the past woudl rather play with me on drums than tohers who are far superior in terms of technicality and skill - why? I believe it's because I get the "feeling" aspect, which is what your talking about here.

    Jojo is a great example of it, as are many other musicians out there - generally that's why they are who they are. That's why allot of guys look at the Travis Barker's and Joey Jordisson's and go "yeah, great, but who cares?"

    Anyway, secondly though, and this is where I am gonna disagree with some fo the comments people have made here - the idea that being able to go 260 BPM on double kick is not a big deal is well, to me, limiting your mindset. That in and of itself is another aspect of what we do. Also, I know guys like Shazane will back me up when I say that the level of intracicy (sp?) and musicality that goes into those styles of music is just as difficult as as any other, and relies allot on being musical and having the right feel. Again, this is what seperates those bands who can just play fast to the ones that actually blow people away. Just because it's not your cup of tea, don't discard it and write it off as irrelevant. To me it sounds like your the one throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I think there would be allot of learning opportunites in the worlds of drumming that you have not bothered to look at based upon your assumptions of what it's about and what they do.

    Danny Carey is a prime example of someone who takes things to the level your talking about, by incorporating everything he can into his playing. He is Jazz trained, playes in a heavy metal/progressive metal band and incorporates so many styles into his playing he is just magical to listen to. If your not familair with him (which, no offence, but allot of older drummers aren't) then look him up.

    Lastly, I'm gonna say that perhaps look at your role on this forum from a different perspective. Instead of being here to try and learn tings (which is something every individual needs to do on their own anyway), look at it as an opportunity to start educating those who are not as knowledgable or experienced as yourself. I would think you have a vast wealth of knowledge, especially in the types of things your talking about here, so why not share, and make the reason for this place. That way us relative newbies can learn things we may otherwise have overlooked. For example, I have no idea what your talking about with the 1 4 5 1 thing that you and funky mentioned.
    "What consumes your mind, controls your life" - So, what consumes your mind?

  15. #15

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    Isn't the standard 1,4,5,1 pattern a standard blues progression in what ever key that is chosen, but most often played in B flat?

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    Maybe - but that still makes NO sense to me what so ever.
    "What consumes your mind, controls your life" - So, what consumes your mind?

  17. #17

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    Most BB king songs follow that basic pattern if that helps!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazymanwithaplunger View Post
    Maybe - but that still makes NO sense to me what so ever.
    standard blues progression crazy, its chords and structure, your a drummer dude you dont have to worry about it, lmao.
    Why do drummers hang arouind with musicians anyway?

  19. #19

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    Crazy...I think you've misinterpreted me a little. I don't mind listening and learning about techniques. I may not be playing them any more, but I do enjoy learning them and giving them a go round in the basement on occasion. And I do know of Jordisson, and Carey, and Chambers and Portnoy and all of the other heavy technicians. I'm not as old as most sticks in the mud. But the issue I;m talking about is that most of those guys know when and where to put all that chop, and not just how to do it. That's where I think the musicality emphasis needs to be placed. But most of the kids (noobs) are not getting past the wow factor of how they can blitzkreige a kit.

    One thing I have learned is that if there is no nuance, there is no music. There's an old typesetters analogy here that goes..."when you bold a word, it adds emphasis, but when you bold all the words, then nothing has emphasis. If you set out full tilt from the beginning, your music will bring more yawns than cheers. It needs a beginning (a theme), a work and build, a climax, a recap, and a finale. Doesn't matter the length of each, but the important part is that it's like an audio story of sorts. They are not teaching this stuff any more. All that's being taught now is techniques and marketing equations as to what will work (sell) and what won't. We need to reintroduce musicality to our next generation or it will be gone forever... That's why although I'm not against the typical thread conversations, I just think there needs to be a qualitative balance with the musicality as well..

  20. #20

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    A lot of old rock was built in 1,4,5,1 which translates to say in the key of C...

    C = 1
    F = 4
    G =5
    and then back to C

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    Quote Originally Posted by carminemw View Post
    I've met Peter and he is a super guy. We played on stage together at the Stan Kenton Clinics at Towson State University. I played latin percussion at the time, sitting right next to Ramone Lopez. Peter was just starting up with the band, before he joined Weather Report...and way before Steps Ahead...a great swing drummer and very tasty player...
    You were blessed to grace a stage with him on it... props to you dude. Have you heard of bill stewart? he is another tastey player and a relatively young guy or mark mondesir, if you think musicality is dead then i recommend visiting a local university of music. Its is absolutely alive and well. I dont usually promote anything Ive done or my playing but i think I may post a session I did a few years back and get you to critique it. I just have to figure out how to do it. computer [noob].

  22. #22

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    Carmine was I missleading in what I said about the blues progression?

  23. #23

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    music is about expression. if it requires learning how to play dbl kick at 260+ bpm to express what you want then so be it. same goes for learning a chicago swing shuffle, or whatever music inspires you. you have to understand young people, and the way they express themselves. it comes out in their music. how many "subtle" and "dynamic" teenagers do you know?

  24. #24

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V70BY...eature=related this is musicality. if at first you dont see it, watch it again . if you do see it.... watch it again.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by backtodrum View Post
    Carmine was I missleading in what I said about the blues progression?
    Naw...it's all right there. I'm a firm believer in not only getting know your own axe (showing my age now) but getting to know all about the others as well. Changes, progressions, melodies...all essential to the equation...

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