Sound, Texture, Options & Imagination

Welcome to the final installment of 10 Weeks to Better Drumming. I hope these thoughts and ideas have helped you see both your music and drumming in a new perspective, and possibly opened up some new ideas.

What does this sound like?

I'm more about sound & texture than I am about technique. Whereas It seems most people are chasing technique on a daily basis. To me, technique is merely a means to an end. That's not to say technique isn't necessary, but that playing paradiddles at 280BPM isn't the end all, be all, of drumming. I would rather have reasonable technique with a good sound, than astounding technique with a poor sound. But then, that's just me.

What does this sound like?

I tend to obsess over sound & texture the way most drummers do over technique. No matter what instrument I'm playing, I am always looking for both a good sound from it, and possible new sounds. Texture is another world entirely. I have bags full of different sticks/brushes/mallets/implements that I use to get different sound textures with.

What does this sound like?

Let's look at some Options & Imagination using these different Sound & Textures:

Take your favorite beat/song/solo and change the sound textures: use a timpani mallet in one hand and a Blastick in the other. Go ahead, play it. Notice the different sounds, the different textures. 

  • Does this change the feel? 
  • Does this change your approach to playing it.
  • Does this change how you perceive this piece of music?

What does this sound like?

OK, do this again, only this time with a shaker of some type and a knitting needle. 

  • What changed this time from the last, or the original version?

Let's do it one more time with a bare hand/fingers and kitchen utensil, like a spatula.

  • Again, compare the differences from the previous versions.

What does this sound like?

Now we'll do something different. Place a towel/t-shirt over your snare drum and ride cymbal to muffle them. Then put something on your floor tom, like jingles/beads, that will rattle when you play it. Then play with 2 different implements in your hands.

  • What's happening now, both in the music, and in your head?

Don't be afraid to experiment with your sounds, or to change the textures. This can make old things sound new again, and feel fresh to play, not to mention inspire new ideas.

Thanks for checking out this series/blog. Please do let me know of your thoughts & experiences.

~ MB


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. sun lightJanuary 5, 2013 6:33 PM

    A paradiddle is the name of a percussion rudiment.
    In percussion, a rudiment is one of the basic building
    blocks of drumming. You can think of it as a letter being
    one of the basic building blocks of words. This is actually
    a good analogy, because there are about 26 letters and there
    are about 26 rudiments.

    [Original comment with links deleted because I'm not here to advertise or sell your product - get your own blog!]

    How ironic this comment is. Obviously this person has NOT followed my blog at all, if they did, they would realize how the paradiddle has very little to do with "Sound, Texture, Options & Imagination." The paradiddle comes out of military drumming, which is all about regimen and repetition, NOT creativity. While I feel that the 26 rudiments do have their place, I also think that that place is often in the past. Time to get a new alphabet and speak a new language…

    ~ MB


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