Drum Confessions Thread

rhythmace

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Cool, if you say so :)
There was a long thread on this several years ago. I debated it with pro drummer Tommy Wells. He finally went to a professor who agreed with me. Simply put, a pitch on a drum is not a note. A tympani is closer than other drums, but still a "quasi-note." "None of the modal frequencies are integral multiples of a fundamental." Not my opinion, BTW. I studied music theory and play guitar. If a drum was a note, it would mostly be out of tune with real musical notes. Thank goodness for that. It's also why we are percussionist. I can get into how scales come from mathematical fractions. Bach was a mathematician also. For instance the major 3rd is 1/6th the length of the generator. (fundamental) The major 5th is 2/3rds.
 

bpaluzzi

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There was a long thread on this several years ago. I debated it with pro drummer Tommy Wells. He finally went to a professor who agreed with me. Simply put, a pitch on a drum is not a note. A tympani is closer than other drums, but still a "quasi-note." "None of the modal frequencies are integral multiples of a fundamental." Not my opinion, BTW. I studied music theory and play guitar. If a drum was a note, it would mostly be out of tune with real musical notes. Thank goodness for that. It's also why we are percussionist. I can get into how scales come from mathematical fractions. Bach was a mathematician also. For instance the major 3rd is 1/6th the length of the generator. (fundamental) The major 5th is 2/3rds.
Pitch on a two headed drum is not a pure note. Agreed.

Timpani are different. I've already posted the mathematics/numbers. There's nothing "quasi" about it.
 

bpaluzzi

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There was a long thread on this several years ago. I debated it with pro drummer Tommy Wells. He finally went to a professor who agreed with me. Simply put, a pitch on a drum is not a note. A tympani is closer than other drums, but still a "quasi-note." "None of the modal frequencies are integral multiples of a fundamental." Not my opinion, BTW. I studied music theory and play guitar. If a drum was a note, it would mostly be out of tune with real musical notes. Thank goodness for that. It's also why we are percussionist. I can get into how scales come from mathematical fractions. Bach was a mathematician also. For instance the major 3rd is 1/6th the length of the generator. (fundamental) The major 5th is 2/3rds.
Also, your numbers are wrong.

The interval in a Major 3rd is 1/4 the length of the fundamental, and the perfect 5th (no such thing as a major 5th) is 1/2 the length.
 

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There was a long thread on this several years ago. I debated it with pro drummer Tommy Wells. He finally went to a professor who agreed with me. Simply put, a pitch on a drum is not a note. A tympani is closer than other drums, but still a "quasi-note." "None of the modal frequencies are integral multiples of a fundamental." Not my opinion, BTW. I studied music theory and play guitar. If a drum was a note, it would mostly be out of tune with real musical notes. Thank goodness for that. It's also why we are percussionist. I can get into how scales come from mathematical fractions. Bach was a mathematician also. For instance the major 3rd is 1/6th the length of the generator. (fundamental) The major 5th is 2/3rds.
This is as may be, but when I played timpani in college, if I was out of tune everybody knew it.
 

ThomasL

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Also, your numbers are wrong.

The interval in a Major 3rd is 1/4 the length of the fundamental, and the perfect 5th (no such thing as a major 5th) is 1/2 the length.
To be more accurate, the ratio between the frequencies of the fifth and the root is about 3/2 and the ratio for the major third is about 4/3. Talking about lengths might cause misconceptions.

The timpani is a bit special. The strongest modes have frequencies close to the ratio 1:1.5:2:2.5. In principal one should therefore hear a virtual fundamental at half the frequency of the lowest of these, but the lowest of these are usually perceived as the pitch. According to Rossing's "Science of Percussion Instruments", the strength and duration of the overtones are insufficient to establish the harmonic series of the missing fundamental. The timpani is still considered to be a drum with definite pitch, in contrast to double headed toms and bass drums.
 

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To be more accurate, the ratio between the frequencies of the fifth and the root is about 3/2 and the ratio for the major third is about 4/3. Talking about lengths might cause misconceptions.
Yup, agreed -- tried to stay with the convention that the OP was using in his numbers, but the 3:2 ratio is what you'll generally see. Also, Major Third is 5:4 -- 4:3 is perfect fourth.

The timpani is a bit special. The strongest modes have frequencies close to the ratio 1:1.5:2:2.5. In principal one should therefore hear a virtual fundamental at half the frequency of the lowest of these, but the lowest of these are usually perceived as the pitch. According to Rossing's "Science of Percussion Instruments", the strength and duration of the overtones are insufficient to establish the harmonic series of the missing fundamental. The timpani is still considered to be a drum with definite pitch, in contrast to double headed toms and bass drums.
The lowest mode (1s -- the whole head moving up and down like a trampoline) has almost all of the energy dissipated away immediately (due to the bowl shape and striking location), so the remaining modes line up very well with the "missing" fundamental. The Rossing text discounts this, but others (notably Benade's "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics") feel that it's the reason for timpani having a definite pitch ("true" fundamental dissipates energy quickly, missing fundamental effect + integer ratios for 8vb "implied" fundamental)
 

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I played red and blue hydraulic heads top and bottom mid 70’s thru 80’s. Kidding , still have them!
 

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I confess that one time in concert band in HS I had a bass drum solo part that was two half notes, on 1 and 3, simple...

I decided to change it to add a quarter and dotted eighth.....

The band director at the time got pretty angry, his face turned crimson and steam shot out of his ears, he already looked like Yukon Cornelius, a pretty big dude...

He found me afterwards and put his hands on my neck, trying to remind me not to do that ever again. I found my spots.

Also, anytime I see a tympani I have to play Bonzo's solo.
 

rhythmace

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Also, your numbers are wrong.

The interval in a Major 3rd is 1/4 the length of the fundamental, and the perfect 5th (no such thing as a major 5th) is 1/2 the length.
You need to know what you know and what you don't know. FWIW, 1/4 the length refers to the harmonic. You are talking about the 4th fret on a guitar. The harmonic at the 4th fret is an octave. It's half the way to the 12th fret. You are just being argumentative about the perfect fifth. Once again when you pluck a string you get all of the major scale harmonics including the 5th. The 5th, at the 7th guitar fret, is 1/3 the length of the string.
 
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rhythmace

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To be more accurate, the ratio between the frequencies of the fifth and the root is about 3/2 and the ratio for the major third is about 4/3. Talking about lengths might cause misconceptions.

The timpani is a bit special. The strongest modes have frequencies close to the ratio 1:1.5:2:2.5. In principal one should therefore hear a virtual fundamental at half the frequency of the lowest of these, but the lowest of these are usually perceived as the pitch. According to Rossing's "Science of Percussion Instruments", the strength and duration of the overtones are insufficient to establish the harmonic series of the missing fundamental. The timpani is still considered to be a drum with definite pitch, in contrast to double headed toms and bass drums.
The fractions are both ascending and descending. 2/3 and 3/2 are both correct. The 7th fret is 1/3 the length of the string. 4/3 is incorrect. The major 3rd is 1/6th the length of the string. We agree on the tympani, but even 2 headed drums can be tuned to a pitch. Heck, DW has made shells that they said were tuned to a pitch.
 

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A tympani is closer than other drums, but still a "quasi-note."
you always err (you push it up) on the sharp side when playing Tympani "music" in a band/orchestra to "compensate". Remember?

I'd assume those with excellent tympani-ear skills get the cherished orchestra positions. 4 years with Dean Anderson showed me that.
He was Vic Firth's right hand person. You always overshoot/sharp with Tymps
So (there is some compensation applied to Tymp tuning/ notes..
thought/maybe it was is a distance/ back of the stage (compensation) theater sound-travel thing too +/-
This is as may be, but when I played timpani in college, if I was out of tune everybody knew it.
 
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bpaluzzi

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You need to know what you know and what you don't know.
You should probably take your own advice ;)


FWIW, 1/4 the length refers to the harmonic.
No, it doesn't. It refers to the difference in frequency between the notes. The major 3rd is 1/4 of the fundamental pitch higher. If the fundamental pitch is 100Hz, the major 3rd is (100*0.25) higher, or 125Hz. Another way to write this (the more common way) is as the ratio between the frequencies: 5 to 4, or 5:4.

Similarly, the perfect 5th is 1/2 of the fundamental pitch higher: 100Hz*0.5 = 150Hz.
A ratio of 3:2

You are talking about the 4th fret on a guitar.
I'm not talking about anything involving guitars.

The harmonic at the 4th fret is an octave. It's half the way to the 12th fret.
No it's not. The 4th fret harmonic is 2 octaves and a major third above the open string.

The 5th fret is half way to the 12th fret (3/4 string length), and it has the harmonic 2 octaves above the open string.


You are just being argumentative about the perfect fifth.
No, I'm not. This is basic music theory.

The 5th, at the 7th guitar fret, is 1/3 the length of the string.
No, it's not. The fret is 1/3 of the way up the string, but the vibrating part of the string is 2/3 the length of the string. Which gives a frequency ratio of 3:2, like I said.


The major 3rd is 1/6th the length of the string.
No, it's not. Even using the reverse naming convention you used on the 7th fret (calling a 2/3 length string "1/3 length"), the major 3rd is not 5/6th the length of the open string. It's 64/81 the length of the open string.

We agree on the tympani, but even 2 headed drums can be tuned to a pitch.
Not a definite pitch they can't. And which side of the argument are you on here?


Heck, DW has made shells that they said were tuned to a pitch.
The pitches are treating the shells as idiophones, not membranaphones. Idiophones can easily be tuned to a pitch (see marimba / xylophones). The DW pitch matching is still snake oil, but it's completely irrelevant to this discussion.
 
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mebeatee

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On purpose... or if your youth was spent on an isolated American Indian reservation in the early 1920's this could possibly be forgiven. However if you're at a bar with your friends one beer in, singing Sweet Caroline and clapping on 1&3 you'll need an intervention starting with turning in your DFO membership card, taking lessons from James Gadson, and getting immediate psychological help.
Better yet....smoke a blunt and listen to some Reggae music....ya mon...
bt
 


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