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Thread: does percussion become boring ? no offense

  1. #16
    Junior Member bghill's Avatar
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    But that doesn't really address the question. If you're playing in a non-percussion orchestra, you're not always going to be playing percussion-heavy works. Is it difficult to "keep your head in the game" in those circumstances? Are there things people do to address that, or does it just not come up?

    Look, I'm not trying to dis percussion or percussionists. This is something I'm genuinely wondering how percussionists view, as I'm considering taking up orchestral percussion myself (on a purely amateur level, mind you).

    I used to play drums in rock and roll bands, and although the instrumentation and rhythms are much less varied than they are in classical music, when you're playing rock and roll, the percussionist (drummer) is playing almost all the time and is keeping the tempo for the group. Neither of those things is generally true in classical music. I'm just wondering what this radically unfamiliar (to me) situation is like.

  2. #17
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    Well, a classical era work may look like this:
    http://conquest.imslp.info/files/img...03.Timpani.pdf

    And that's only if there's a lot of timpani.

    Early 20th century romantic music uses a lot more percussion, as follows:
    http://javanese.imslp.info/files/img...6.TimpPerc.pdf
    (Note that this file comprises several percussion parts)

    But later 20th century music uses percussion a lot more often.

    You're right that percussion is not there in classical music to keep time or set the rhythm the way it is in rock or jazz, as the conductor serves that function; it's usually there to emphasize the rhythm already being played by the other instruments or to add color. Frequent use of percussion in classical music was generally seen as gaudy (or "popular") for quite a while, and that's why it was avoided.

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  4. #18
    Junior Member bghill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Frequent use of percussion in classical music was generally seen as gaudy (or "popular") for quite a while, and that's why it was avoided.
    Interesting. And the two pieces you use as examples make for quite a contrast.
    I think I'll have to check out some Mahler.

  5. #19
    Junior Member csolomonholmes's Avatar
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    It depends on the type of person you are and the type of experience you want. Personally, I studied classical percussion and played in a couple of different orchestras. The whole symphonic experience was invaluable and a lot of fun. But when I had the chance to study with Arthur Press, a renown percussionist with Boston Symphony Orchestra at the time, I chose not to take it. Instead, I studied Jazz with an amazing teacher by the name of Randy Kaye. For me, jazz - specifically free jazz - was all about self expression while classical was about interpreting someone else's self expression... but that's just me. I certainly wouldn't trade any of my classical experience as it has had a major influence on the way I write and play.

  6. #20
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    perfusion and table...

    Auto-correct has become my worst enema.
    Last edited by Cadenza; Dec-27-2013 at 16:29.

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  8. #21
    Senior Member Katie's Avatar
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    Oh dear, you must never have heard a synapse-fusing "Drums" segment from a Grateful Dead show...poor boy...(jump to 1:25)



    and learn about the modern age's most magnificent percussive performer, student, researcher, activitist, and historian...


  9. #22
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    Purplerain, when you have found the way to switch of the T9 function on your iPad, please let me know !

    Cheers,
    Jos

  10. #23
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    The thing that most people get confused with is the difference between a percussionist and a drummer. A percussionist can also be a drummer, but a drummer is not always a percussionist.
    To expand on that point. A percussionsit can play a range of instruments, not just your typical drumkit. It can include timpani, mallet percussion (xylophone, glockenspiel, marimba, etc.), cymbals, gongs and random untuned percussion instruments.
    A drummer is focussed on the main drumkit, accompanying a band or group and most that i have come across don't have any idea how to read sheet music or written melody parts which a percussionist would know.

    Yes at times is can get boring (counting 202 bars in a sibelius piece to hit one note is boring) but it can also be incredible fun and rewarding. With such a wide range of instruments, larger than any other section, we can basically do anything. Also i find that percussionists have more freedom. We can eat up the back whilst others a practicing and go almost anywhere we want to because we are expected to be always making adjustments to all of our instruments of moving some around.

    So yes at times percussion can be boring but it is also fun (film scores have HEAPS OF PERCUSSION). however donm't mix up a percussionist and a drummer, because they are not the same thing

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  12. #24
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    Well certain ones are boring but the xylophone,marimba & glockenspeil are not boring to me.Attachment 57542
    Last edited by mtmailey; Dec-02-2014 at 01:56.

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  14. #25
    Junior Member bghill's Avatar
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    Having now played orchestral percussion for almost two years, I would agree with most of what MelodicHarmony has to say -- especially the part about being able to snack during rehearsal while the strings are wondering when they're ever going to get a break.

    I would just add that I've found that counting rests is a skill that's every bit as challenging, and can be every bit as involving, as playing any of the actual instruments. Just because you're not playing doesn't mean you're not doing anything.

  15. #26
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    I believe the factor of something becoming boring is related to interest. If you truly love percussion or just drumming, you can never get bored of it. As professional drummer, I explore new ways of composing music every time I use the drum; which gets me even more interested and allured towards this magnificent musical instrument. My love for drumming grows more every day.

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  17. #27
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    Drumming in classical music is tough because you have to listen to the other musicians and conductor - as well as know how to play perfect enough to get thru the piece.

  18. #28
    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    The powerful deep vibe of a bass/sub-bass concert drum is long wave in it's development . Isn't it a fascinating challenge to get that sound to the conductor's ear at the same time as a piccolo ?

  19. #29
    Senior Member RockyIII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bghill View Post
    How does a percussionist stay engaged in a work when many measures, or even whole movements, can go by without having an active role in the work being performed?
    They cry all the way to the bank.

  20. #30
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Katie;576684]Oh dear, you must never have heard a synapse-fusing "Drums" segment from a Grateful Dead show...poor boy...(jump to 1:25)



    That's the part of the show when I go to the toilet and then bar. If it's still going on after that I either go for a walk, play Candy Crush on my phone or leave.
    Last edited by Merl; Mar-09-2019 at 12:11.

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