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A drummer is a percussionist who creates music using drums.
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system, it is a membranophone. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a percussion mallet, to produce sound. There is usually a resonance head on the underside of the drum, typically tuned to a slightly lower pitch than the top drumhead. Other techniques have been used to cause drums to make sound, such as the thumb roll. Drums are the world's oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.
Most contemporary western bands that play rock, pop, jazz, or R&B music include a drummer for purposes including timekeeping and embellishing the musical timbre. The drummer's equipment includes a drum kit (or "drum set" or "trap set") which includes various drums, cymbals and an assortment of accessory hardware such as pedals, standing support mechanisms, and drum sticks.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s. The terms "popular music" and "pop music" are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many diverse styles. "Pop" and "rock" were roughly synonymous terms until the late 1960s, when they became increasingly differentiated from each other.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
In other genres, particularly in the traditional music of many countries, drummers use individual drums of various sizes and designs rather than drum kits. Some use only their hands to strike the drums.
In larger ensembles, the drummer may be part of a rhythm section with other percussionists playing, for example, vibraphone, marimba or xylophone. These musicians provide the timing and rhythmic foundation which allow the players of melodic instruments, including voices, to coordinate their musical performance.
Some famous drummers include: Ringo Starr, John Bonham, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon (The Who), Neil Peart, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Tim "Herb" Alexander (Primus), Phil Rudd (AC/DC), Rashied Ali, Carl Allen, Steve White, Craig Blundell, Travis Barker, Tony Royster Jr., Rick Allen (Def Leppard).
Sir Richard Starkey, known professionally as Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals with the group, usually for one song on each album, including "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Yellow Submarine", "Good Night", and their cover of "Act Naturally". He also wrote and sang the Beatles' songs "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden", and is credited as a co-writer of others, including "What Goes On" and "Flying".
John Henry Bonham was an English musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer for the British rock band Led Zeppelin. Esteemed for his speed, power, fast bass drumming, distinctive sound, and feel for the groove, he is regarded by many as the greatest and most influential rock drummer in history. In 2016, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him No. 1 in its list of the "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time".
Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker is an English drummer and a founder of the rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer", while his individual style melds a jazz background with African rhythms. He is credited as a pioneer of drumming in genres like jazz fusion, heavy metal and world music.
As well as the primary rhythmic function,in some musical styles, such as world, jazz, classical, and electronica, the drummer is called upon to provide solo and lead performances, at times when the main feature of the music is the rhythmic development.
There are many tools that a drummer can use for either timekeeping or soloing. These include cymbals (china, crash, ride, splash, hi-hats, etc.), snare, toms, auxiliary percussion (bells, Latin drums, cowbells, temple blocks) and many others. Also there are single, double, and triple bass pedals for the bass drum.
Before motorized transport became widespread, drummers played a key role in military conflicts. Military drummers provided drum cadences that set a steady marching pace and elevated troop morale on the battlefield. In some armies drums also assisted in combat by keeping cadence for firing and loading drills with muzzle loading guns. Military drummers were also employed on the parade field, when troops passed in review, and in various ceremonies including ominous drum rolls accompanying disciplinary punishments. Children also served as drummer boys well into the nineteenth century, though less commonly than is popularly assumed; due to the nature of the job, experienced older men were preferred.
A military is a heavily-armed, highly-organised force primarily intended for warfare, also known collectively as armed forces. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force and in certain countries, Marines and Coast Guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and national honor guards.
Morale, also known as esprit de corps, is the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in an institution or goal, particularly in the face of opposition or hardship. Morale is often referenced by authority figures as a generic value judgment of the willpower, obedience, and self-discipline of a group tasked with performing duties assigned by a superior. According to Alexander H. Leighton, "morale is the capacity of a group of people to pull together persistently and consistently in pursuit of a common purpose". Morale is important in the military, because it improves unit cohesion. Without good morale, a force will be more likely to give up or surrender. Morale is usually assessed at a collective, rather than an individual level. In wartime, civilian morale is also important. Esprit de corps is considered to be an important part of a fighting unit.
A drum roll is a technique the percussionist employs to produce, on a percussion instrument, a sustained sound, "over the value of the written note." Rolls are used by composers to sustain the sound and create other effects, the most common of which is using a roll to build anticipation.} It has become as a standard sound effect heard on variety television programs immediately before a result or winner is revealed.}
In modern times, drummers are not employed in battle, but their ceremonial duties continue. Typically buglers and drummers mass under a sergeant-drummer and during marches alternately perform with the regiment or battalion ensembles.
Military-based musical percussion traditions were not limited exclusively to the western world. When Emir Osman I was appointed commander of the Turkish army on the Byzantine border in the late 13th century, he was symbolically installed via a handover of musical instruments by the Seldjuk sultan. In the Ottoman Empire, the size of a military band reflected the rank of its commander in chief: the largest band was reserved for the Sultan (viz. his Grand Vizier when taking the field). It included various percussion instruments, often adopted in European military music (as 'Janissary music'). The pitched bass drum is still known in some languages as the Turkish Drum.
Military drumming is the origin of Traditional grip as opposed to Matched grip of drumsticks.
The drumline is a type of marching ensemble descended from military drummers, and can be arranged as a performance of a drum, a group of drummers, or as a part of a larger marching band. Their uniforms will often have a military style and a fancy hat. In recent times, it is more common to see drummers in parades wearing costumes with an African, Asian, Latin, Native American, or tribal look and sound.
Various indigenous cultures use the drum to create a sense of unity with others especially during recreational events. The drum also helps in prayers and meditations.
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A cymbal is a common percussion instrument. Often used in pairs, cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys. The majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound a definite note. Cymbals are used in many ensembles ranging from the orchestra, percussion ensembles, jazz bands, heavy metal bands, and marching groups. Drum kits usually incorporate at least a crash, ride, or crash/ride, and a pair of hi-hat cymbals. A player of cymbals is known as a cymbalist.
A drum kit — also called a drum set, trap set, or simply drums — is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, which are set up on stands to be played by a single player, with drumsticks held in both hands, and the feet operating pedals that control the hi-hat cymbal and the beater for the bass drum. A drum kit consists of a mix of drums and idiophones – most significantly cymbals, but can also include the woodblock and cowbell. In the 2000s, some kits also include electronic instruments. Also, both hybrid and entirely electronic kits are used.
A hi-hat is a combination of two cymbals and a foot pedal, all mounted on a metal stand. It is a part of the standard drum kit used by drummers in many styles of music including rock, pop, and blues. Hi-hats consist of a matching pair of small to medium-sized cymbals mounted on a stand, with the two cymbals facing each other. The bottom cymbal is fixed and the top is mounted on a rod which moves the top cymbal towards the bottom one when the pedal is depressed.
A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Some music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.
A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that is sounded by being struck or scraped by a beater ; struck, scraped or rubbed by hand; or struck against another similar instrument. The percussion family is believed to include the oldest musical instruments, following the human voice.
A bass drum, or kick drum, is a large drum that produces a note of low definite or indefinite pitch. A bass drum is typically cylindrical, with the drum's diameter much greater than the drum's depth. There is normally a struck head at both ends of the cylinder. The heads may be made of calf skin or plastic. There is normally a means of adjusting the tension either by threaded taps or by strings. Bass drums are built in a variety of sizes, but size has little to do with the volume produced by the drum. The size chosen being based on convenience and aesthetics. Bass drums are percussion instruments and vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished.
A pipe band is a musical ensemble consisting of pipers and drummers. The term used by military pipe bands, pipes and drums, is also common.
A cajón is a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru, played by slapping the front or rear faces with the hands, fingers, or sometimes implements such as brushes, mallets, or sticks. Cajones are primarily played in Afro-Peruvian music, but has made its way into flamenco as well. The term cajón is also applied to other box drums used in Latin American music, such as the Cuban cajón de rumba and the Mexican cajón de tapeo.
A rhythm section is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band who provide the underlying rhythm, harmony and pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest of the band.
A drumline is a section of percussion instruments usually played as part of a musical marching ensemble. A drumline can also be a section on their own competing against other marching drumlines. High school and college marching bands, drill and drum corps, drum and bugle corps, indoor percussion ensembles are some examples of groups that include a "drumline".
In a marching band or a drum and bugle corps, the front ensemble or pit is the stationary percussion ensemble. This ensemble is typically placed in front of the football field, though some groups will work the front ensemble into a tight pod onto the marching field. Some high school marching bands opt not to march any percussion instruments, but instead have a "full" front ensemble.
Banda is a term to designate a style of Mexican music and the musical ensemble in which wind instruments, mostly of brass and percussion, are performed.
Orchestral percussion are percussion instruments used in orchestras and concert bands mainly in classical music and related styles. The term can also refer to the department or study of performance on said instruments at a music school or conservatory. Generally within such a department, students are required to study all aspects of orchestral playing; with marimba, snare drum, and timpani being the three most basic areas of study. Orchestral percussion usually does not include a drum set, but some compositions do require one.
Martial music or military music is a specific genre of music intended for use in military settings. Much of the military music has been composed to announce military events as with bugle calls and fanfares, or accompany marching formations with drum cadences, or mark special occasions as by military bands. However, music has been employed in battle for centuries, sometimes to intimidate the enemy and other times to encourage combatants, or to assist in organization and timing of actions in warfare. Depending on the culture, a variety of percussion and musical instruments have been used, such as drums, fifes, bugles, trumpets or other horns, bagpipes, triangles, cymbals, as well as larger military bands or full orchestras. Although some martial music has been composed in written form, other music has been developed or taught by ear, such as bugle calls or drum cadences, relying on group memory to coordinate the sounds.
In percussion, cymbal choke is a drum stroke or push which consists of striking a cymbal with a drum stick held in one hand and then immediately grabbing the cymbal with another hand, or more rarely, with the same hand. The cymbal choke produces a burst of sound which is abruptly silenced, which can be used for punctuation or dramatic fortissimo effects. In some modern music, namely heavy metal, it is "often employed to emphasize a particular beat or signal an abrupt conclusion to a passage." Cymbal chokes are used extensively by classical percussionists to muffle the sound of a cymbal in accordance with the composer's notation, or in an attempt to match the sustain of other instruments in the ensemble. "The effect, a sudden burst of sound, is [often] further strengthened by a single, simultaneous kick with the bass drum."
For 'choke' cymbal, strike the suspended cymbal with the tip of a wood stick and dampen the sound immediately after the duration of the note.
[In] ragtime [1890-1920]...a lot of time there would be a crash cymbal, or a choke cymbal as they called it, that was usually played with a mallet. They would strike the cymbal with one hand and choke it with the other hand. And there were different techniques for choking the cymbals. Sometimes, they would really cut the cymbal and make it real staccato...Or they would play other styles where they would let the cymbal ring a little bit and sustain itself, and then catch it.
Jazz drumming is the art of playing percussion in jazz styles ranging from 1910s-style Dixieland jazz to 1970s-era jazz fusion and 1980s-era Latin jazz. The techniques and instrumentation of this type of performance have evolved over several periods, influenced by jazz at large and the individual drummers within it. Stylistically, this aspect of performance was shaped by its starting place, New Orleans, as well as numerous other regions of the world, including other parts of the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.
A corps of drums is a musical unit of several national armies. Drummers were originally established in European armies to act as signallers. This is the major historical distinction between a military band and a corps of drums, 'drummers' would not play their instruments to entertain or delight, but rather as a utilitarian battlefield role. This role was fulfilled by trumpeters or buglers and timpanists in the cavalry and the artillery, who did not form into comparative formed bodies in the way that drummers did; therefore, an orthodox corps of drums will exist in the infantry arm and not in other arms.
Double-drumming is a percussion technique, developed around 1900, allowing the use of both a bass and snare drum by one person, using drum sticks, prior to the invention of the bass drum pedal and leading to the availability of the drum kit. According to Len 'Hunt' Doc, double drumming allowed one player to "beat a fast four-in-a-bar bass drum, doing a close roll on snare at the same time," whereas before it would have taken two percussionists. Accomplished through close positioning of the bass and snare heads, the cymbals were played by tapping a foot pedal called a "low-boy". This style is best exemplified by early New Orleans Jazz/Second Line bands, and Baby Dodds has been called the master.
A rock band or pop band is a small musical ensemble which performs rock music, pop music or a related genre. The four-piece band is the most common configuration in rock and pop music. Before the development of the electronic keyboard, the configuration was typically two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer. Another common formation is a vocalist who does not play an instrument, electric guitarist, bass guitarist, and a drummer. Instrumentally, these bands can be considered as trios.
Heavy metal drumming is a style of rock music drum kit playing that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic/acid rock drum playing, heavy metal drummers play with emphatic beats, and overall loudness using an aggressive performing style. Heavy metal drumming is traditionally characterized by emphatic rhythms and dense bass guitar-and-drum sound. The essence of metal drumming is creating a loud, constant beat for the band using the "trifecta of speed, power, and precision".