The Nature of Time - Part 2

Reconstruct Yourself - The Sound of Silence


As drummers, we are limited to very short sounding notes. This has a great affect on how we hear and perceive the sounds we make. This also makes drums & percussion very different from all the other instruments out there. Let’s take a look at how most instruments play & perceive a line of quarter notes:

The line under each quarter note represents the 
length of time each quarter note played.


As we can see, each note is played until just before the next note. Now if the notes are tied together, they are played into each other. Now let’s look at how a drum (or most percussion instruments) would play the same notes:


The line under each quarter note represents the 
length of time each quarter note is actually 
played by a percussion instrument.

Notice that only the very first part of the note is actually sounded. The rest of the time played is actually space, or silence. So as drummers we actually play more space than sound! So paying attention to this space, and where our notes fall within it, is very important. As drummers we need to be aware of each note, as we don’t have the benefit of the actual full length of the notes to use as a point of reference.

Exercise #1 - Start by playing straight quarter notes at 40BPM. Play them 3 ways:

R L R L etc.
All Right Hand
All Left Hand

Listen to not only each note, but the spaces in between the notes. Try not to anticipate the next note, but wait for it and feel where it should be. Gradually increase the tempo 4BPM at a time. Repeat this with 8th and 16th notes both starting at 40BPM. The goal here is to become aware of where each note lands in time.

Exercise #2 - Repeat the same idea playing a note pattern on drum set, hand drums, marimba, etc. Feel not only the note placement, but the phrasing of the combined notes.

Become aware of both time & space.

~ MB

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