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Drum set up for melodic play.

Pibroch

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Some teachers say it's very useful to be able to play melodically, and even to play commonly known melodies on drum set. I've never worked on this.

To be able to learn this skill, how critical is it to keep the same positional set up for my toms? (The reason I ask is that I'm usually changing things every couple of weeks.)
 

JDA

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Also..I think you're going for "Implied" melodies...just making them up as you go not even recalling a particular established song or melody just..................singing it. (I was going to say winging it..)
But yeah Melody is one of the reasons to (we) play drums..

up, down, hi, lo, make it up, as you go...
Every melody has a rhythm
even the Om tune..
 

Pat A Flafla

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Setup doesn't matter at all. The key to this is to think of a sound in your head that means something, be able to "sing" it, then make it happen on the kit. Afgter that, you cut out the middle man and go straight from the mind to the hands, but as if you're singing through your sticks.
 

JDA

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right..
how critical is it to keep the same positional set up for my toms
if you have two small toms on the bass
they needn't descend (there's no law - the ina gadda da vida law was repealed in 1974)
So you can make up your own arrangement of your (own) drums
 

Pibroch

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right..

if you have two small toms on the bass
they needn't descend (there's no law - the ina gadda da vida law was repealed in 1974)
So you can make up your own arrangement of your (own) drums
Thanks - that's more along the line of what I'm seeking opinions about. To be more specific, a wooden xylophone, for example, always has the wooden sounding blocks in fixed positions for pitch. Is changing positions of mounted and floor toms every couple of weeks likely to make things significantly more difficult to play melodies?
 

JDA

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no it just varies Your brain what is used to doing...
Some people do it because they have a 10 in their two mounted toms and like the 12 as the first tom so the 10 becomes a right side outlier

but your drums are your 5 melodic instruments plus...cymbals..
 

Pibroch

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Great. My brain has little problem quickly learning new cymbal positions and then improvising.

However I suspect there may be advantages in keeping at least all the drums in fixed positions when learning and playing set melodies, such as the heads of jazz tunes in semi improvised jazz-protocol-driven jazz numbers? I don't know.
 

JDA

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yea like I said- specific/entire tunes- is seperate from just little 'melodic phrases. Melodic phrases you can use much more in actual playing (irregardless) of the actual song (the band is playing).
If you want to go into actual melodies that's a whole nother page I don't think with much practical use. The short passages like Hamilton and Ari do is about the extent of it. Otherwise just play a melodic instrument like a piano or flute.

But the oldest one is (that I know ) used by jazz drummers (I've known old timers -in person- over the years) is on two toms

" my momma done told me"
"my momma done Told me"

All the bebop drummers did that vocalized some of their fills (or took their fills, from, a vocal..)

"salt peanuts. salt peanuts"

That's the fill Copeland plays leading into the end section, of every little thing she does
digadiga digadiga..

that's old Max Roach drum vocalizing..
from the 1940s.

Keltner uses it on Josie to bring the band back in it's the same lick
(melodic/vocal/phrase)
 
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Pibroch

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Yes, learning whole tunes goes against the grain for me. Some drumming educators advocate it: Ralph Peterson ran an intensive course at Berkeley entitled "50 tunes in 15 weeks" where students learnt entire tunes - playing (not accompanying) whole melodies on the kit!

I'm open minded about it and I recently took a lesson from an 80 year old highly experienced and regularly performing jazz drummer, whose playing I adore, who urged me to do it. He can free improv beautifully as well as play conventional jazz highly creatively.

Am more than 50% likely to give it a go and would probably enjoy playing Tunisia if I could eventually do it like in that Jeff Hamilton video earlier on this thread.

My ultimate aim is to be, years of hard work down the track from now, as accomplished as I can be as a free improvisor in general, as well as improvising on changes and tunes in jazz protocols type settings for fun.
 
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JDA

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"50 tunes in 15 weeks" where students learnt entire tunes - playing (not accompanying) whole melodies on the kit!
don't confuse learning the form of tunes with....... pressing down on the heads (did he mean that?) and faking the melodies..
Knowing the Form of tunes is fundamental- that's might be what he meant? either way you get it..
 

Pibroch

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Beautiful! - I agree. The more I listen the more I love it.

As you probably know Ari was one of Ralph Peterson's star students so not surprised he can play so melodically. And his morphing from one groove to another is interesting and very musical.

Though I'm not fully convinced about one of his transitions in this clip, which seems maybe a little rushed, his playing didn't seem off - l am familiar with this folk tune and somewhat used to listening to traditionally played Korean traditional music: l have every Korean music album in the JVC World Sounds catalogue - a series which I can wholeheartedly recommend.

REALLY nice find and inspirational - thanks.
 
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Jazz Turkey

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Here area couple more ideas.
Joe Farnsworth with some words of wisdom. Melodic playing on a pad.
.

And Ari playing with Charlie Parker’s BilliesBounce on a 4 piece then the melodic rhythm with the snare against varying ride tempo.

.
 

Matched Gripper

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right..

if you have two small toms on the bass
they needn't descend (there's no law - the ina gadda da vida law was repealed in 1974)
So you can make up your own arrangement of your (own) drums
Actually, it might be a misdemeanor in some jurisdictions to set up your toms out of order. Best to check local ordinances.
 

toddbishop

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To my way of thinking, everything you play on the drums is melody. Melody is just the pitch element of two or more notes played in musical time-- maybe close enough to each other to be perceived as part of the same melodic statement. You have a bunch of drums and cymbals that have different pitches (even if they are untempered), on some of them you can do pitch bends--- or not. Melody doesn't have to have more than one pitch. So it's not really about the instrument, it's about how you approach your own playing. Are you paying attention to the melodic element of your playing, or are you just whacking on some stuff?

I suppose it would help if you tuned your drums to have a fairly pure tone, with musical sounding intervals between them. And chose your cymbals to have nice intervals.

The thing of playing actual pitches-- it's kind of a parlor trick, a thing you do for a drum feature, it's not a normal part of playing the instrument. Hoenig isn't playing entire tunes as a pitched melodic instrument, he's playing the worked out thing and then going back to playing drums. Might as well just grab a saxophone and play a few bars badly if you're doing to do that.
 
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Pibroch

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Pedal_Pusher

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I'm an old fart so I immediately thought of a Joe Morello version of Shortnin' Bread. I am not sure which Dave Brubeck album it is on, but it is worth checking out. There are probably more like this among old time jazz drummers but this is the one that popped into my mind. Happy hunting!
 


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