Showing posts with label Drums. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drums. Show all posts

Friday, November 17, 2017

PIPE and DRUMS

Northern Constabulary Pipe Band at Remembrance Parade 2011 Dingwall Ross-shire Scotland
Photo  by conner395 
Bag pipes date back from the period of the Celts who marched into conflict to the sound of horns being blown. At the battle of Flodden it is said, is one of the earliest mentions of the bagpipes, that the town piper played his pipes. From the 1700's onwards bagpipes were mentioned more frequently.

In the early 17th century pipers were not given an official role in the regiment - even when the role of piper and drummer and bugle player were recognized - indeed sometimes the piper was sometimes listed as a 'drummer' on any military records. The first official recognition of the piper was in 1679, and they played an integral part of the regiment greatly boosting the morale of the troops.

Following the battle of Culloden, the victorious Hanoverians banned bagpipes, this was at the same time that the wearing of tartan was always banned.

Playing military pipes was seen as on a par with any the role of any other member of the regiment - highlighted by the sentencing to death of a piper in the regiment captured during the 1745 uprising.
'A Highland regiment never marched without a piper... therefore his bagpipe, in the eye of the law, was an instrument of war'

So what music did military pipers play - there were three types of 'pibrochs' (tunes) - as well as tunes for marching to and well as laments for playing at funerals. Many of the pibrochs were inspired by famous battles, in particular, the Jacobite Rebellion. As such some tunes are linked to certain regiments.

In 1840, the popularity of military pipe bands was given a boost - Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for all things Highland was behind the War Office's decision to provide each of the Highland Regiments five pipers and a Pipe Major. Pipe bands grew in reputation both at home and abroad a positive image of Scotland. While pipers were forbidden from playing in trenches many pipers disobeyed this order and many were killed alongside their comrades, with some pipers receiving the Victorian Cross for their bravery. Military pipers were also present in more recent conflict including the Gulf War. Today pipers in the army are also required to take on a secondary role in the army, such as a medic.

Today military pipe bands, also referred to as 'pipe and drums' have expanded and are common outside of the military and thousands of civilian pipe bands have sprung up all over the world
Pipe band proficiency is typically measured in grades from 1-4. With grade 1 the highest level and grade 4 the most basic or training level. Traditional Pipe bands are made up of a section of pipers, a section of snare drummers, several tenor drummers and a single bass drummer.

Countries that have strong cultural links to Scotland such as America, Canada, and Australia also have a 1000s of pipe bands which celebrate their shared Celtic heritage.


At the annual World Pipe Band Championships pipe bands from around the world come together to perform. The Edinburgh Tattoo is also a key fixture for pipe bands - military bands from around the world play together to create a magnificent sound and spectacle.

An important part of playing in a pipe band is the specific dress that is worm, this allows members to feel part of Scottish Heritage and the impressive look of the uniform adds to the spectacle.




Monday, October 30, 2017

How to Pick Out Snare DRUM STICKS

English: A snare drum. Español: una caja orque...
A snare drum.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Snare drum sticks are the objects that drummers hold and use to play the drums. Since there are different kinds of drums and styles of music, the sticks that drummers use to create their music can have a direct impact on the way they sound. As a result, it is important that drummers know the anatomy of a drumstick as well as how the characteristics of a drumstick can influence their sound.

Drumsticks can be made of many different types of materials but are usually made of wood. Common wood choices include hickory, oak, and hard maple. Each type of wood obtains unique characteristics that may make it more suitable in some musical situations than in others. Therefore, choosing the right wood for a performance is one key element to every drummer's unique tone.

Hickory tends to be the most popular wood used in drumsticks. It is denser, heavier and more rigid than the most types of wood allowing it to absorb a great amount of shock which helps reduce wrist and hand fatigue. Maple wood which is less dense and much lighter than hickory wood so it helps give the feel of a big stick without the extra weight of the hickory. Lastly, oak wood is very heavy and non-flexible causing the drumsticks made of oak to be some of the heaviest, hardest, and most durable drumsticks.

While the three types of wood mentioned above are the most common materials used to make drumsticks, other woods such as beech, hornbeam, lancewood, and massaranduba are also sources of snare drum sticks. It's important to note that sticks can also be made out of other materials including aluminum, plastic, and graphite, however, these are much rarer.

A snare drumstick has 4 basic parts but there will be 6 parts discussed in this article. First is the tip which is also known as the bead. It is located at the end part in which the head is being struck. It can be oval, round, acorn, or barrel-shaped. The shape of the bead can influence the way the stick rebounds off of the drum head after a stroke and is one of the most important aspects of a drumstick. Next is the neck of the drumstick. It is the small part of a snare drum stick that connects the tip to the shoulder. It is the thinnest part with the exception of some specialty drumsticks. The shoulder is the part where the stick starts to taper or slope into the neck. The closer the shoulder is to the tip, the less bounce and response you will get. The taper is used to identify the shape and the length of the drumstick shoulder. The shaft or the body is the biggest part of the stick which is used to hold and sometimes to produce specialty strokes. Lastly, the butt is the opposite of the tip which is the thicker, counterbalance end of the stick. Though it is not specifically designed as the part to play, some drummers flip the sticks to use butts for effects.



When picking out your first pair of snare drum sticks, be sure to consider the factors mentioned in this article. Determine what type of music you will be playing and decide what type of material will best fit that style of music. Next, determine what type of tip you want as well as what size drumstick best fits your hand. If you can feel confident making these decisions, you will have an easy time finding the perfect pair of sticks for your drumming experience!

    By Richard J. Klein
    Richard J. Klein is a passionate drummer and drum teacher who loves sharing his knowledge with people all around the world.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Different Types of METRONOMES

English: spring driven pendulum metronome Ital...
Spring driven pendulum metronome
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Metronomes are musical devices that produce regulated aural, visual or tactile sound beats or ticks. Popular among music composers, the use of metronomes enables them to get a consistent tempo for their musical compositions. They are very helpful to subdivide sound notes to create distinctive and unique musical sounds. They also give a musician the option to make musical time signatures as well. Because of their simplicity and accuracy, metronomes are much in demand among music composers today.

Metronomes can be broadly classified into three types and they are as follows:

Mechanical Metronomes: They are the most common types of metronomes that are available. This device comprises of an inverted pendulum rod that has an adjustable weight attached to its end. When the weight is slid up the pendulum the tempo increases and when it is slid down the tempo decreases. A second pendulum is hidden in the case of the metronome and this helps the production of a clicking sound with each oscillation. Mechanical metronomes are also commonly known as double weighted pendulums.

Electronic Metronomes: These metronomes are modern and upgraded versions and they use a quartz crystal that is very similar to that used in wristwatches. The simple metronomes that are available in the market have buttons that can be pressed in order to produce the tuning notes. The sophisticated metronomes are advanced and they can produce two or three distinctive sounds. The tones and the pitch differ and hence diverse beats can be composed. The electronic musical keyboards that are available in the market have built-in metronomes in them for the purpose of producing signature sounds and beats.

Software Metronomes or Online Metronomes: With the advancement in technology software metronomes have entered the market and they produce multi-track audio sounds. They help in creating stand-alone music signatures and create enhanced music sequencing. They are very popular as film scoring applications in recording studios and they are of immense benefit in synchronizing musicians to the sound beats. These metronomes are the most used ones today and they can be easily downloaded online.

An online metronome is a quick and easy music tool that is very popular for practicing music. It is a type of software metronome that musicians can access online. They help in tempo selections and in creating music rhythm with ease. This device helps musicians to produce accurate pulses and beats. They help in understanding the time signatures of the music and help the musicians to play accurately in accordance with the notes. These online metronomes are easily available on the net and they can be used for music tuning and compositions. They are of extreme benefit to those who need to make signature music with the diversity of unique sounds and beats.

In conclusion, it can be said that metronomes have a vital role to play behind the successes of signature music beats. Musicians rely and depend on them for the composition of original and unique music scores as they provide accurate and synchronized pulse beats with ease.





Saturday, September 23, 2017

Famous DRUMMERS - Bill Ward

Bill Ward, born in 1948 in Aston, Birmingham, England, is the drummer and one of the founding members of the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. His drumming is best characterized by rapid drum rolls in between guitar riffs.

Bill Ward's interest in music began as early as age 5 when he first played drums. At age 15, Bill was already playing gigs. His most influential drummers include Larrie London, Louie Bellson, Bernard Purdie, and Joe Morello. Prior to Black Sabbath, Ward became a member of the bands The Rest, Method 5, and Mythology, from 1963 to 1968. After the breakup of their previous band Mythology, Ward and guitarist Tony Iommi joined vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler and formed a group that worked under the names The Polka Tulk Blues Company, Earth, and finally, 

Bill Ward.jpg
Photo: Wikipedia
Black Sabbath. Ward was the drummer on all released albums from 1969 to 1980, including the quadruple-platinum album Paranoid in the 1970s. August 1980 saw his temporary absence from the band for personal reasons after the release of Heaven and Hell. He was then unable to participate in the recording of 1981s Mob Rules. In January 1983, Ward returned in time for 1983s Born Again, however, due to problems with his health, he once again left the band following the album's recording. He was out for about a year, returned once more in summer of 1984, and stayed with the band until September 1985. From then until 1994, several drummers took his place in the band, namely, Eric Singer, Bev Bevan, Terry Chimes, Cozy Powell, Vinny Appice, and Bobby Rondinelli. Ward made a short-lived return to the band in August 1994 for a South American tour, where he played for 3 dates.

Ward released two albums, Ward One: Along the Way in 1989 and When the Bough Breaks (Preview Release) in 1997, under his solo project, The Bill Ward Band, before finally reuniting with Black Sabbath. Before this reunion, however, Ward and the original Black Sabbath already did short sets for Live Aid in 1985, and at a Costa Mesa, California Ozzy Osbourne show in November 1992. For the full-blown reunion, the band did two shows at the Birmingham NEC on December 4th and 5th 1997, which gave them an opportunity to release a double live album, aptly titled Reunion, in October 1998. It was the single Iron Man from this album that gave Ward and the band their first-ever Grammy award for Best Metal Performance.

In the summer of 1998, just before the band's European tour, Bill Ward suffered a heart attack while in rehearsals, which led to his temporary replacement by Vinny Appice. Fortunately, Ward had a speedy recovery and was well enough to return, this time for good, in January 1999, during which the band headlined in the annual Ozzfest tour through summer of that year. After this tour, the band members each worked on solo material, and Ward also found time to work on Tony Iommi's solo album, Iommi, in 2000.


Ward was initially reported to participate in a tour with Iommi, Butler, and vocalist Ronnie James Dio in October 2006 under the name Heaven and Hell, however, he dropped out before the tour began, and was replaced once again by Appice.

Bill Ward married four times and is blessed with two sons, Nigel and Aron, and one daughter, Emily. He has a regular radio show, Rock 50, an internet-only college radio program which broadcasts from Cerritos College in California.

    Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands and musicians a rehearsal space in Long Island City, Queens, New York.
    Article Source: EzineArticles



Monday, September 11, 2017

Proper Way To Care For Your DRUMS

Your drums are not just instruments that you set on a stage and play, and then take home again for practice without ever touching them for maintenance or cleaning. The truth is, if you don't want to take the time to clean them and keep them properly tuned, you are not true to your trade. Depending on the type of drums that you have, there way be variations on the maintenance that the manufacturer recommends. How you care for your set depends also on the material from which it is made.

Dave Weckl's drum kit @ Jazz Alley, Seattle, W...
Dave Weckl's drum kit @ Jazz Alley, Seattle, WA, 8th Dec. 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, if there isn't a rule regarding drum care, what do you do? As with your clothing, you follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. When you buy a new outfit, you check the label for laundering instructions – or you should – and the same is true of your drum set. Cymbals for the most part can be cleaned with a window cleaner, but how you clean your drums needs to be depends upon a variety of factors including material of the skins and of the outside. Steel is not recommended, though sometimes used, and there will be a different method than other material, which is usually simply soap and water or even glass cleaner for a shine.

As a drummer, you should be proud of your skins and want to keep them clean in between performances. It doesn't take more than perhaps a half hour a day to keep your set looking in top condition, but you want to make sure that you know exactly what you need to do before you even take the set home. If you order your drum set online, be sure you read all of the instructions regarding care and maintenance before you ever set up the kit, because some kits require oiling before you ever use the drums for the first time. Failing to do that when required can result in your drums sounding out of tune or not blending in with the rest of the musical instruments in the band.



Bear in mind that your drums are a major investment, and if you want them to last you for years to come, you have to take the time to take care of them from the day you first own them. You do not simply leave them to collect dust when you are not using them nor do you only take them in for maintenance when they don't sound as good as they did when they were new. Regular cleaning and routine maintenance will be your drum kit looking and sounding new for many years to come. It is unnecessary to buy a new set every few years if you take care of what you have from the start.



Saturday, September 2, 2017

NATIVE DRUMS - How to Tune Your Native Indian Drum

Tuning Native Drums
If your drum tone sounds flat and dull then it needs tuning, before we go into the "How to Tune" part, let's discuss factors that affect rawhide. Rawhide by its nature shrinks or expands depending on certain conditions. In cold, moist and humid weather or these types of environments rawhide expands. In hot and dry weather or when exposed to a heat source rawhide shrinks.

2007 Powwow
Photo   by Smithsonian Institution
Now, armed with this knowledge about rawhide we can use it to our advantage to tune our drum to that perfect tone we want. When your drum tone is flat and dull and the rawhide appears to be loose then you need to get the rawhide to tighten. We now know that exposing our drum to a heat source shrinks the rawhide.

Warning! Over exposing your drum to heat can lead to permanent damage. Please re-read that again, because whatever heat source you use it's important to know this. So don't place your drum in front or next to a heat source and walk away and forget about it. Ok, now that we have got that out of the way let us look at some different methods we can use to heat our drum which causes the rawhide to shrink and gives us a better tune/tone from our drum.


Methods to tune your Drum
  • Hair dryer - the quickest and easiest way to tune a drum. Start in the centre of the drum and work your way towards the edges. Should only take a few minutes.
  • Heat lamp - Place the drum in front of the heat lamp, once again should only take a few minutes. Periodically play your drum to test the tone.
  • Heater or fire place- Using this method it's important not to place the drum too close to the heat. If it's too hot for your hand then you need to move the drum further away.
  • Campfire - The preferred method of Native Indians to tune their drums. Most of us have seen the image of Native Indians dancing around the fire beating on their drums. Just make sure you do not place your drum too close to the naked flames.

Each of the above methods works well, just make sure you do not over do it. By that I mean, leave the drum in front or too close to the heat source for too long. If you do, over time the rawhide will become over stretched and eventually lose its natural elastic quality.

Also, if you over do it the rawhide can shrink too much and damage the timber frame of the drum. Regardless of the method you use, test the tune of the drum as you go through the process by playing the drum until you are happy with the tone. Providing it's done correctly you can repeatedly use these methods without affecting the life span of the drum.

So far we have talked about ways to tune your drum if it sounds flat and dull. What if you have the opposite problem? On a hot dry day the drum may sound very high pitched; in this case, the best way to get the rawhide to loosen is by spraying or sprinkling small amounts of water on the rawhide.

Start from the edges of the drum and work your way to the middle. Let it rest for a few minutes then test the tone of the drum. Keep repeating until you have the desired tone. Avoid wetting the timber frame of the drum and just like the heating method don't over do it. In fact, use this method if you do over heat your drum to loosen the rawhide.


Other factors that affect the tune and tone of Native American Drums.
Besides environmental conditions, there are other factors that affect the tone and pitch of Native Indian drums. They are:
  • Size of the drum. Generally the larger the drum size, that includes the rawhide surface area, timber frame width and depth, the deeper the tone and more the tone resonates. Small drums tend to have a more sharp higher pitch. Although other factors come into effect which can affect the tune, tone and pitch, regardless of the size.
  • Rawhide thickness. In my experience rawhide thickness has the biggest effect on the tone of drums, particularly "Hoop Drums". The thicker the hide the deeper the tone and pitch. Thinner hides have a higher sharp pitch. So you can have a large drum with a thin hide which produces a high sharp pitch tune or a smaller drum with a thick hide that producers a deep long tune.

These are all important factors you need to take into consideration when selecting your drum.
Native Drums in Australia



Friday, July 21, 2017

The 3 Best DRUMMERS Ever

Drummers are a strange breed. They are the loudest instrument on a track and are notoriously difficult to get right. The drummer needs to keep the rhythm going and the other band members will be using the drummer to keep pace. All this pressure isn't for everyone and playing the drums is a bit like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time, it is almost impossible for an untrained guy to be a good drummer. But who are the best three drummers? It is a tough decision but below are the best drummers of all time.

Mike Portnoy.jpg
Mike Portnoy“ von chascar

Mike Portnoy - Tattoos all over his arms, a beard and long hair. Mike certainly looks the part and his drummer isn't half bad either. The founder of Dream Theatre, Mike is a drummer like no other. He was born in New York and is mainly a self taught drummer. He is the youngest drummer in the drummer's hall of fame and has been the best progressive rock drummer in modern drummer magazines reader's polls an unbelievable 12 years in a row, simply phenomenal.

Benny-greb-souledge.png"Benny-greb-souledge" by VinylVictim

Benny Greb - Benny's gigs are selling outs every time. Benny doesn't look like a typical drummer. This tall, spectacle wearing, bearded bloke is another excellent drummer. Born in Germany in 1960 Benny has had a lifelong interest in all types of music but it is drumming where he excels. He was playing in his first punk band when he was just twelve and quickly became one of the best drummers in the world. Benny works extremely hard and can be found jamming with a wide variety of styles. As well as gigging Benny is an avid teacher offering his famous drum clinics to other would be drumming genius.

Jason Bittner -Jason was taught how to play the drums. Born in New York in 1970, at the age of ten Jason took drumming lessons. He was a natural and in 1988 he studied at Berklee music school. Jason has won numerous modern drummers magazine awards including up and coming drummer and best recorded performance. Jason's speed on the drums is unbelievable; sometimes it almost looks impossible the speed with which he plays complex drum patterns.



The drums are an essential instrument in any band but there is no doubt that drumming is a skill that is difficult to master. These three individuals have obviously put the hard work and practice in that is necessary to attain the levels they have reached.



Friday, July 14, 2017

Are You an Organized DRUMMER?

What does it mean to be an "organized" drummer?

When your band plays a song, do you play that song the same way every time? If not, you should. Here's why...

English: Drummer - Producer Gunnar Waage
English: Drummer - Producer Gunnar Waage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It can all be summed up into one word called "predictability."  So many drummers will never play a song the same way twice. This, many times, throws the other musicians off, potentially causing a drag in timing or increasing the chances of a mislead cue. 

As the drummer in a band it is your responsiblity to provide the foundation for the music. This meaning that everything you do behind the drum kit is vital. Anything you do out of the ordinary, or something the other musicians are not used to hearing you play in a particular song really has the potential to screw things up.   

Experimenting is definitely a good thing, and that's why we practice, but there just comes a time when experimenting is over. You must decide what you're gonna do and then stick to it. Never throw in something that the other musicians are not expecting or you can end up with some serious choas.  

Predictability is a must! The other musicians must know what you're going to do before you do it. An outstanding drummer is predictable, prepared and organized, ready to bring his or her goods to the table. Personally, it has always bothered me when a band mate would come to play and he or she would just not be ready. Situations like that are just not fair to everyone else who is ready.   

It's been said that when prepardness and opportunity meet, success occurs. I don't know what kind of "success" your hoping for, but one thing is for sure, you will more likely meet with it by being organized when opportunity knocks.

Author: Dan Brown 



Monday, July 10, 2017

Information About the MARIMBA

The Marimba has come a long way - both geographically and technically speaking. The proto-marimba has long been a part of Amazonian, West African, and Central American cultures. In our society, they are the epitome of a classy, well respected instrument usually featured in high culture circles (such as in academia and orchestras). Marimbas are one of the most beautiful sounding percussion instruments. While very long and heavy, marimbas are capable of making very low to high tones that add an ethereal quality to many music pieces.

People interested in percussion (and perhaps even piano, since the overall layout is somewhat similar) should study and master the marimba. While playing the marimba is standard on the collegiate level, not too many people play the marimba before or after college, which is a shame. Although high school students may briefly encounter the marimbas in marching bands and drum and bugle corps, it is usually an insufficient amount of time to truly appreciate the complexity and necessity of this instrument.

P1390942 Andrey Doynikov spielt Bach
Marimba - Photo   by     tottr  (cc)

The reason for the high concentration of marimba playing in college, as opposed to any other time, is that marimbas are very expensive instruments. Often running a couple thousand dollars, they are too expensive for the average person. However, many reputable music schools should have one or two of these at their disposal, and these places make for great practice areas (besides the fact that a professional will be teaching you proper technique). There are affordable ways to get behind a marimba - do it!

The marimba is composed of metal keys of varying lengths hit by soft yarn mallets to produce varying tones. Many marimba players play using two mallets, or even using two mallets in each hand (resulting in four mallets being used simultaneously). Some of the more advanced players can use even more mallets...which is truly amazing. There are many techniques to striking the marimba, so a good deal of emphasis is placed on proper mallet holding methods. Depending on your personal style/capabilities and your teacher's personal preference, you may learn the "traditional grip", the "Burton grip", or the "Stevens grip", amongst many others.

The marimba is an octave lower (an octave is equivalent to eight complete notes) than its smaller counterpart, the xylophone. The main difference between the two instruments is the resonators featured on the marimba. These resonators (usually made of a light metal such as aluminum) are of different lengths and widths to help the marimba achieve its varying sounds. For the lower sounding notes, the resonators beneath the keys sometimes have to bend so as not to go straight through the floor!



Although many people are more familiar with the xylophone, the marimba serves as a sort of backbone in orchestras, ensembles, and bands. They are currently very popular in percussion ensembles, jazz ensembles, and marimba concertos. Any musician with serious musical aspirations simply must explore this wonderful and challenging instrument.

Are you interested in all things involving music?...

    By James J. Jones
    For the best variety of sheet music, click here to find everything you are looking for!
    If you want to peruse the largest selections of musical instruments, DJ equipment, or recording devices, click here!
    (7.2017 - Links not working)


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Secret History Of DRUMS: The Role Of The Military Drummer

The role of the military drummer is a fascinating chapter from the hidden history of drums.

Hidden, because most people are unaware of the vital role played by the military drummer in communicating strategy and keeping the machinery of battle oiled.

English: Grenadier drummer, 1756-1762 Русский:...
Grenadier drummer, 1756-1762
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Battle Stations

In the 17th century, in preparation for battle, before the head on clash between rival armies, considerable time was spent manoeuvering men into position.

The drums were used to convey orders - each 'beat' having a specific meaning instantly recognisable to the soldiers.

When the drummer's 'Call' was heard, the men dropped what they were doing and immediately regrouped by their lieutenant or platoon commander to await further signals.

The Captain's order to beat the 'Troop' was a signal to shoulder muskets, advance pikes and close rank and file.

The 'March' was a signal to advance, faster or slower according to the beat of the drum, to the point of rendezvous.

The 'Preparative' signaled the men to advance in rank and file to within skirmishing distance and be ready to engage battle.

At this point the company drummers would run to where the Colonel stood (or sat on horseback) beside his own side-drummer and the standard bearer.


English: Drummer of bombardier regiment, 1757-...
Drummer of bombardier regiment, 1757-1758
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Engaging The Enemy

On the Colonel's order the drummers would beat the 'Battaile' or 'Charge'.

This was described by Colonel William Barriffe to mean 'pressing forward in order of battle without lagging behind, rather boldly stepping forward in place of him that falls dead or wounded before thee...'

In the thick of battle, with the sound of cannon and musket, the neighing of horses, the screams of the dying and wounded, the Colonel's voice would not be heard and the beat of the drum continued to play a vital role in communicating orders to the troops.

From his vantage point the Colonel would command his drum-major to instigate various manoeuvers. If it was required to withdraw in an orderly fashion - for relief, or to gain a vantage point, or to lure the enemy into an ambush - the 'Retreat' would sound. The soldier, fighting for his life, was well prepared - the meaning of the different beats had been literally 'drummed' into him time and time again in training.

At the onset of battle, the roar of the assembled drummers would surely instil courage in the hearts of the men (and fear in the hearts of the enemy). Possibly, in the heat of battle, the beat of the drum, detached and ethereal, took on a spiritual quality, helping the combatants to distance themselves from the horror and suffering all around.

The drummer clearly carried a huge responsibility in the orderly conduct of war. In recognition of this it was considered highly dishonourable to knowingly strike or wound a drummer in battle.


    Charles Armstrong

    Hugh Barty-King 'The Drum - A Royal Tournament Tribute to the Military Drum' 1988
    ISBN 0 9513588 0 4


Friday, June 9, 2017

The Secret History of DRUMS - Parleying with the enemy

One of the most interesting chapters in the history of drums is largely forgotten today - the various duties performed by military drummers in the past.

In times of peace, it was the drummer's responsibility to beat the 'tattoo' at sunset in the town streets - a signal to publicans to stop serving ale to soldiers and bid them drink up so they could get back to camp in time for curfew.

English: Battle of Naseby, by an unknown artis...
Battle of Naseby, by an unknown artist
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

David Gilmore, Pink FloydDrummers also played a crucial role in introducing new blood into the army - in the town square, the drummer would demonstrate his prowess on the side drum - literally 'drumming up' new recruits. Many a young lad lived to rue the day he allowed himself to be seduced by the glamour of the drum into believing the recruiting officer's promises...

In times of war, in the thick of battle, drummers would relay the Colonel's orders to the troops - each 'beat' having a specific meaning which had been endlessly 'drummed into' the soldiers in training. When the chaos and noise around them rendered the Colonel's shouts ineffective, the beat of the massed drums indicated when they should regroup, advance, make ready, engage battle, retreat.

One of the more interesting functions of the drummer was to 'parley' with the other side - he would be sent as a go-between across enemy lines - to negotiate terms, arrange and pay ransoms, offer or accept terms of surrender, to deliver and bring back any hostages or prisoners who were to be exchanged.

Samuel ButlerEquipped with a small drum for lightness, and with written confirmation of his message attached to his hat, the drummer would approach the enemy camp and stop a musket shot's distance from the gates.

The sound of the 'parley' beaten on his drum was a signal of readiness to trade terms, and a party would come out to lead him, blind-fold, inside the camp to the General's pavilion.

His hidden adgenda to find out as much as he could about enemy numbers and the layout and disposition and any potential weakness of the camp was no secret to the adversaries, and anyone caught speaking to him out of line could reckon with the severest punishment. According to Robert Ward's Articles of War, Number VIII, 'Speaking With The Enemies' Messengers': 'None shall speak with a Drum or Trumpet or any other sent by the Enemy without order upon pain of punishment at discretion.'



Likewise, he had to be on his mettle not to divulge any information - the enemy would often ply him with drinks in the hope of loosening his tongue.

Parleying was obviously a delicate and dangerous undertaking and required skills of the drummer above and beyond musicality and mastery of the technique required to beat complex rhythms on the side drum. Discretion was required, tact, diplomacy, negotiation, sobriety, the ability to read and write, knowledge of foreign languages - skills not commonly found among rank and file soldiers in those days.

Parleying was manifestly a dangerous undertaking. The drummer who entered the enemy camp displaying any lack of confidence, or faltering in his delivery, or indadvertently insulting the enemy, could rightly fear for his safety.

The other extreme was also best avoided.

On Friday August 15 1645, at the height of the English Civil War, the royalist Governor of Sherborne Castle dispatched a drummer at 2 o'clock in the morning with the message he was willing to surrender on honourable terms.

Sir Thomas Fairfax, Captain General of all the Parliamentary Forces In England, could scarcely conceal his temper.

He dispatched his own drummer to offer no terms but quarter, and that should not be expected unless he surrender speedily...The over-confident manner of Fairfax's drummer in delivering this message so incensed the Governor that he almost hanged the fellow on the spot.

The drummer, however, lived to tell another tale. The episode ended badly for Sherborne Castle.

    Charles Armstrong
    In the words of Anne Finch, after the end of that terrible conflict:

    "Trail all your pikes, dispirit every drum,
    March in long procession from afar
    Ye silent, ye dejected men of war!
    Be still the hautboys, let the flute be dumb!"

    With acknowledgement to: Hugh Barty-King

    'The Drum - A Royal Tournament Tribute to the Military Drum' 1988

    ISBN 0 9513588 0 4


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How To Properly Set Up Your Own DRUM SET

Having your own drum kit will make it easier for you to set up your own drum set. However, even without a drum kit, you will still be able to set up your drum sets by using your stool or throne as guide. When using your throne as a guide in setting up your drums, place your throne in the middle of an empty room. Sit on the throne with your drumsticks to get the feel of the height and depth which you may need in setting up your drums. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in from of your drums.

English: Roland TD-12s V-Stage drum set. Shot ...
Roland TD-12s V-Stage drum set. Shot also includes an extra PD-105 tom pad, CY-8 cymbal, Axis Longboard double kick pedal, and Iron Cobra Hi-Hat stand.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

While closing your eyes and imagining yourself in front of your drum set, feel the balance of your throne. Both your feet should be planted firmly on the floor when you do this. Keep your feet on a comfortable position and then open your eyes. Check your feet and make sure that the width between your feet is more or less the same width as your shoulders. Putting your feet on a wide angle will give you a more stable and strong base. The location of your feet in very important because this will determine where you will put your pedals for your bass drum and hi hat. To make sure that your feet are comfortable where they are, try shifting your feet and experiment on different position. Do not worry, there is no hard and fast rules as to where you should put your feet when playing your drums so just go with the natural flow of your body.

Air drumming will help you gauge the possible height and reach of the drums. Play a mental tune and start drumming into the air as if you are playing your instruments in an actual concert. Pay close attention to where your hands go when you are air drumming so that you will know which way your body flow naturally. Always remember that our bodies have its own natural reflexes. By going with the natural flow of your body movements, you will be able to move more fluidly.



Setting Your Drum Set

Once you are comfortable with your position, mark the spot with chalk or any other non-permanent markers. Bring in your drums one by one and set them up one by one. Start by adding your bass drum first and then followed by your hi hat. Test your position again before you add your other instruments like the snare drum and cymbals. Every time you add another piece of instrument into your drum set, test your body movements and make sure that your movements are not restricted in anyway. If you feel that your movements are hampered in anyway, make adjustments. Always see to it that you are comfortable with what you are doing so that you can play your drums more beautifully.




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Information About the TIMPANI

The Timpani is one of the most important instruments in the percussion family. It is used in orchestras, various ensembles, bands, and even in popular music. Timpani is an Italian word (and plural - the singular is timpano) but in America it is always referred to as a Timpani, regardless of how many drums are being played; normally, you'll never find a single timpani all alone, for two, three, or four are usually played together.

English: Timpanist in the United States Air Fo...
Timpanist in the United States Air Forces in Europe Band.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
The Timpani is a large drum that can produce various pitches. The timpanist (a person who plays the timpani) is responsible for making sure the pitch is correct, and the pitch can be adjusted using various foot pedals. The drumhead is usually made of animal skin or plastic - although professional timpanists usually prefer animal skins for its high quality sounds.

There are special mallets designed solely for the Timpani. Timpani mallets are able to produce soft or loud tones on the timpani, depending on the power of each strike. In many pieces, the timpanist is required to perform crescendo drum rolls - no easy feat. The techniques used for playing the Timpani are numerous and require a great deal of dedication and practice.

Timpanists also have the daunting task of making sure every inch of their timpani drum heads are in pitch with each other. If the drum heads are inconsistent, as the performance wears on, the drum will become out of tune; because the Timpani are the only drums that can produce distinctive pitches, have inconsistencies would be unacceptable. Most Timpanists have perfect pitch, but tuning forks can also be used. As with the mallet techniques, developing perfect pitch takes lots of practice and ear training.

Muffling is also a distinct skill Timpanists must master - when musical scores were written years ago, the Timpani sound did not resonate as long as they do today. A good timpanist will be able to look at the music and determine how long each note should actually last. In addition, the timpanist must also be able to muffle the sound successfully, on time, without producing any sounds with their fingers to muffle the initial drum resonations. It's very tricky but over time it becomes second nature. Sympathetic resonance (when one timpani softly vibrates and produces sound because another Timpani has been struck) is also an obstacle Timpanists must overcome - on the professional or higher learning level, sympathetic resonance is usually unacceptable.

Most percussionists know how to play the Timpani, with varying levels of success. If you are interested in percussion, you will inevitably become acquainted with the Timpani. If the Timpani really holds your interest, it would behoove you to find a Timpani-specific instructor that is considered an expert on the instrument. There are many highly qualified people to teach, so learning should not be a problem; however, owning a timpani is very expensive. Most people practice their timpani skills at music stores, universities, or with private instructors that own timpani.



The Timpani, in case you haven't figured it out yet, is a very difficult drum to master. Yet the payoff is worth it - whoever does ultimately rules orchestra - and the timpani sets the standard for the entire orchestra or band. The instrument is vital to all great works of music, and it is still used constantly in modern pieces. As an indispensable instrument, whoever learns to play it becomes very valuable.

    By James J. Jones
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    Article Source: EzineArticles