Less is more, what is this obsession with speed?

mebeatee

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There’s a local singer/songwriter whose motto is........play as slow as you can go..........then take it down a notch.....you can drive a truck between the beats.....
I taught an amazing young blast/hard core drummer to play real slow and play the spaces not the notes. With due diligence his accuracy, speed et al went through the roof and most importantly remained very musical.
Very easy to play a bunch of notes really fast......not so easy to get the spaces right.
bt
 

IVER

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Does playing faster make you a better drummer? The faster it gets the less feel.
Playing fast with precision takes some time to learn and is a real skill. However, playing SLOW with precision and taste is probably more challenging. Check out the Donny Hathaway ballad I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know and what drummer Fred White does. I don't even hear him playing quarter-notes, but the strike on "4" is as clean as it comes.
 

hefty

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Check out the Donny Hathaway ballad I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know and what drummer Fred White does. I don't even hear him playing quarter-notes, but the strike on "4" is as clean as it comes.
Cool example! Thanks for that. There's no way I'm playing that part at that tempo without tapping quarter notes on my leg with my right stick.
 

Houndog

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Not if you do it right.

In and of itself, playing faster doesn't define someone as better. But generally speaking, be able to play faster, makes a player more flexible and more likely to be able to play things slower with greater ease. By that I don't mean really slow, which presents it's own challenges. but being able to play something medium or somewhat slower than would be considered fast.

Nothing worse to my ears than a drummer playing at amedium tempo needing to play a 16th note fill - and being able to tell that it is hard for them. Just a bit too fast for them to pull off.

Sure very little music requires blistering speed chops - but a lot of basic pop rock and jazz mainstays get up there a bit. And again - there is no feel in the sound of a drummer struggling to keep up, struggling to articulate cleanly.... nor is there much fill in actually slowing down.

IMO as a blanket rule or concept "Less is More" is utter nonsense. Sure sometimes it's true - but sometimes is a far cry from all of the time or even most of the time.

And too many time, I fear it is used an excuse, a justification to simply not do the work...
I love that you are here …….
 

Jay-Dee

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He is a good guy; well known in the genre. I have told him this before: “I fully respect your talent and ability but I can’t stand the way you play. “ Tough Aussie could care less that he is not most folks cup of tea. Just painful in more ways then one.
Being an Aussie surely he's taking the urine and doesn't just play like this all the time over everything.
 

Jay-Dee

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Liberty DeVito explained it in a clinic of his many years ago with regard to fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibres. Depending on your make up you have the ability to play fast easier than someone else, like sprinters and distance runners in the Olympics, both great at what they do but different.

Take Steve Gadd and Dennis Chambers as a classic example, both amazing players for different reasons but I'd be willing to bet my house that Steve Gadd could never in his wildest dreams play as fast as Dennis Chambers, he probably doesn't even want to, certainly doesn't need to and it's never held him back. Fast twitchies definitely have some advantages if you want ultimate speed, but it isn't everything and blasting over the top of everyone else or something that doesn't require it is not cool and I expect wouldn't get you much work.

As I mentioned in DamnSingerAlsoDrums' thread with his band videos. It's how the drummer hits the drums, not how many times or how fast that makes them great in my opinion.
 
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rayboomboom

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It appears a lot of this conversation seems to be getting somewhat mixed up. Playing fast and slow tempos is different than playing a few notes and many notes. You can play fast tempos with few notes and you can play slow tempos with a lot of notes. My take on the OP's post is about playing a lot of notes. And how playing more notes might lose the feel because there is less space between the notes. It's really about how those notes are played, right?

To me, the saying less is more means there is more space to feel between notes, and that space, if played "properly" or played "with feeling" is more attractive to a lot of listeners. So you get more from the music with the feel than just the notes themselves. I get compliments when I play a busy song, that is supposed to be busy. But I get complimented more often and more in-depth when my playing is more sparse and with a good feel. For instance, with a good Blues band or western swing band playing more sparse music. Whether the music is fast or slow.

Great topic!
 

cruddola

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I'll more than likely anger a lot of you with my opinion. Machinegun drumming is nothing more than having and maintaining a limited vocabulary. Nothing worse for a drummer's growth than the lack of dynamic control and a sense of syncopation that seems to be so cancerous for the last three decades. Most of today's drummers all sound alike. Just take a look at the Guitar Center's Drum-offs. YouTube and so on. Seen one, seen them all. Almost all of them will suck at meshing with other instrumentalists. (Try touring with an acoustic band. A Harpist (don't need the guitar and bass), a violinist, a pianist, a sopranino saxophonist, two female vocalists and you being the drummer. Lots of exposure and money invested in the tour. Whatcha gonna do? That was me over 40 years ago. Played before over 100 thousand as the featured band. Olympic Stadium, Mexico City's Estadio Nacional. Again at Corke Stadium Ireland. Mighty lucky to have seen it, done it. My dynamic control and syncopation got me there!) One could splice the whole lot of what's out there on the platforms and nothing really stands out. They're empty. Style and soul is missing. Has been for decades. Machinegun drumming just doesn't cut it. It never has. Death Metal is just that, dead. Rap is just crap. If that's what you're into don't let this old fool stop you! Don't get me wrong, I can lay down some chops too. Anybody can gain speed. But can you acquire dynamic control and syncopation with that speed. Charlie Adams, Carl Palmer, Buddy Rich, any of those ring a bell? How about Sonny Payne, Roy Haynes, Joe Morello? Joe Jones, Viola Smith, Gene Krupa? Ginger Baker? Probably not, for the many out there. Take an ear to those 'founding fathers and mother' of drumming and see what I'm talking about. Get some! Anyone, even an idiot like me who's been at it over six decades. "Speed has always been on the back burner for me." That's coming from the mouth of Louie Bellson at my first clinic of his. Today's drummers are a bunch of lost, style-less souls. Ghosts. Really! Today's drummers read like a newspaper article. Drumming to me should be poetry. Drumming is an emotion, a conversation, a speech if you will. Dynamics and syncopation are it's soul. Dynamics and syncopation. Rhythm is the delivery of said content. Syncopation is it's punctuation. Speed is a frigging run-on sentence! Slow down, enjoy the friggin view of your percussive journeys. Catch the spirit, smell the environment. Be the journey. One of the best ways I keep from losing my style, composition and soul is to give myself only X amount of strokes in X amount of time. This morning I gave myself four bars at 7/8 time. House is getting a rehab so I gotta play on the stinking Djembe. What am I gonna do with only the 22 strokes I've given myself? Whatcha gonna do? How many different combinations can I create? I like this song, whatcha gonna come up with if there was a fill here and not take anything away from that song? A great teaching tool I gained from the Great Louis Bellson 40 years ago and Carmine Appice 30 years ago over a dozen of their clinics. Dynamics and syncopation, the heart and soul of the poetry of drumming. Drum On!
 

Phantomlimb777

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I also think that the more recent generations of musicians ultimately perceive and digest information at a much faster rate. The internet, social media, memes, etc are a lot of information to constantly have pumped into you, so maybe the inclination to be busy and subdivide is a result of more information, more consumption, more things to think about, but not as deeply. You don’t have time to process everything deeply if you’re trying to get it all in. There are lots of people that play a ton of notes thoughtfully, they’re just outweighed by the ones who aren’t thoughtful.

I’m probably ranting.
 

Tornado

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What is this? I don’t hear any music in his playing.
I concur; I call it "a jackhammer in a hail storm"
I think it was obviously tongue in cheek.


There actually are uses for this kind of playing, and it can be awesome. Here's 66Samus (Samus Paulicelli) doing a playthrough of a track he recorded for Devin Townsend. I love Devin Townsend btw, and so should more people.


I say give this a full watch, even if it's not your thing. But at least stick around until 1:45 to see a sick gravity blast.

His channel is pretty entertaining, and he seems like a really nice and fun guy.
 

Frank Godiva

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I think it was obviously tongue in cheek.


There actually are uses for this kind of playing, and it can be awesome. Here's 66Samus (Samus Paulicelli) doing a playthrough of a track he recorded for Devin Townsend. I love Devin Townsend btw, and so should more people.


I say give this a full watch, even if it's not your thing. But at least stick around until 1:45 to see a sick gravity blast.

His channel is pretty entertaining, and he seems like a really nice and fun guy.
Yep that’s it alright. This type of music requires those “turbo gospel chops”

007F5797-5165-4B31-89DB-75C4A7F74F01.gif
 

Hypercaffium

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With all due respect, I've never understood this mentality and I strongly disagree.
Less is less, more is more, simple as that. None is better than the other, if you ask me. Do what you want to do, do what you CAN do and don't make it philosophical because it's not.
 

dcrigger

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I also think that the more recent generations of musicians ultimately perceive and digest information at a much faster rate. The internet, social media, memes, etc are a lot of information to constantly have pumped into you, so maybe the inclination to be busy and subdivide is a result of more information, more consumption, more things to think about, but not as deeply. You don’t have time to process everything deeply if you’re trying to get it all in. There are lots of people that play a ton of notes thoughtfully, they’re just outweighed by the ones who aren’t thoughtful.

I’m probably ranting.
Nah - well maybe a little ... :) And that's OK... but maybe think about this (and in the context of this thread, what I'm going to write is in no way aimed directly at you... or anyone specific for that matter.)

But the fast moving digital age doesn't explain how many of the same things were said of fans - of be bop's frantic-ness or even those that loved the music of Chopin (Why so many notes, played so fast???)

As far as thoughtfulness goes... how do we know who is thoughtful and who isn't? Telepathy? Or is it somehow possible that the excesses we dig come from thoughtful performances and the excesses we don't, obviously don't?

Except that it's not obvious at all.

We like what we like. We "get" what we "get". Aren't explanations involving the thought processes of others that we conjure up to validate our preferences one way or the other are really just rationalizations? Rationalizations created to justify that which shouldn't need validating?

We like what we like. We don't what we don't.

The artist's intent, desires, motivations or degree of thoughtfulness really doesn't figure into the equation at all. And that's good thing - since we aren't mind-readers.
 

Sprice

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I'll more than likely anger a lot of you with my opinion. Machinegun drumming is nothing more than having and maintaining a limited vocabulary. Nothing worse for a drummer's growth than the lack of dynamic control and a sense of syncopation that seems to be so cancerous for the last three decades. Most of today's drummers all sound alike. Just take a look at the Guitar Center's Drum-offs. YouTube and so on. Seen one, seen them all. Almost all of them will suck at meshing with other instrumentalists. (Try touring with an acoustic band. A Harpist (don't need the guitar and bass), a violinist, a pianist, a sopranino saxophonist, two female vocalists and you being the drummer. Lots of exposure and money invested in the tour. Whatcha gonna do? That was me over 40 years ago. Played before over 100 thousand as the featured band. Olympic Stadium, Mexico City's Estadio Nacional. Again at Corke Stadium Ireland. Mighty lucky to have seen it, done it. My dynamic control and syncopation got me there!) One could splice the whole lot of what's out there on the platforms and nothing really stands out. They're empty. Style and soul is missing. Has been for decades. Machinegun drumming just doesn't cut it. It never has. Death Metal is just that, dead. Rap is just crap. If that's what you're into don't let this old fool stop you! Don't get me wrong, I can lay down some chops too. Anybody can gain speed. But can you acquire dynamic control and syncopation with that speed. Charlie Adams, Carl Palmer, Buddy Rich, any of those ring a bell? How about Sonny Payne, Roy Haynes, Joe Morello? Joe Jones, Viola Smith, Gene Krupa? Ginger Baker? Probably not, for the many out there. Take an ear to those 'founding fathers and mother' of drumming and see what I'm talking about. Get some! Anyone, even an idiot like me who's been at it over six decades. "Speed has always been on the back burner for me." That's coming from the mouth of Louie Bellson at my first clinic of his. Today's drummers are a bunch of lost, style-less souls. Ghosts. Really! Today's drummers read like a newspaper article. Drumming to me should be poetry. Drumming is an emotion, a conversation, a speech if you will. Dynamics and syncopation are it's soul. Dynamics and syncopation. Rhythm is the delivery of said content. Syncopation is it's punctuation. Speed is a frigging run-on sentence! Slow down, enjoy the friggin view of your percussive journeys. Catch the spirit, smell the environment. Be the journey. One of the best ways I keep from losing my style, composition and soul is to give myself only X amount of strokes in X amount of time. This morning I gave myself four bars at 7/8 time. House is getting a rehab so I gotta play on the stinking Djembe. What am I gonna do with only the 22 strokes I've given myself? Whatcha gonna do? How many different combinations can I create? I like this song, whatcha gonna come up with if there was a fill here and not take anything away from that song? A great teaching tool I gained from the Great Louis Bellson 40 years ago and Carmine Appice 30 years ago over a dozen of their clinics. Dynamics and syncopation, the heart and soul of the poetry of drumming. Drum On!
Oh great. Another "my generation is the greatest" post on this forum. You rattle off a ten of the greatest drummers in history and then rag on an entire generation of drummers because some random 18-year olds in a GC cutting contest posted online don't measure up. The internet let's anyone post a video from their very first strokes so yes there will be stuff out there that's not great if you don't know how to filter it. There are some amazing drummers coming up but it seems a lot of people would rather rest on the laurels of their contemporaries than push themselves to learn something new.
 

1990rookout

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Whatever serves the music, folks. . . Whatever makes the art. . . .

Context is everything.
 

Houndog

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Oh great. Another "my generation is the greatest" post on this forum. You rattle off a ten of the greatest drummers in history and then rag on an entire generation of drummers because some random 18-year olds in a GC cutting contest posted online don't measure up. The internet let's anyone post a video from their very first strokes so yes there will be stuff out there that's not great if you don't know how to filter it. There are some amazing drummers coming up but it seems a lot of people would rather rest on the laurels of their contemporaries than push themselves to learn something new.
This !!!!!
 


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