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Side / Snare Pipe Bands or Solo - if it relates to Drumming...

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Old 10-22-2018, 05:54 PM   #1
pancelticpiper
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Default Question from a piper

Let's put it on the table: I'm a piper who doesn't know one end of a drumstick from the other.

I love listening to great drumming. There are times when I'm listening to The Worlds and I'm not paying any attention to the piping because I'm so focused on the drumming.

What I find interesting is that the drumming I like the best doesn't appear to be a style that drummers like nowadays.

For example this is one of my all-time favourites, the Cameronian Rant, especially this drum score

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW39X9Rh_78

And probably my favourite reel, John Morrison of Assynt House with my favourite drum score

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkSehjGTzxg

If drummers could explain why this isn't the sort of drum score I ought to be liking I would appreciate it. I can't hear what drummers hear, and I would enjoy some edification.
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 10-22-2018 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 10-22-2018, 09:02 PM   #2
thevoidboy
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Default Re: Question from a piper

Funny you ask.

Every professional solo piper in Scotland I had the fortune of chatting with (mentioning my daughter’s interest in the side drums) has said they do not like playing with drummers today, and the best drummer they ever heard and enjoyed was Alex Duthart. The man was simply and stunningly the most musical side drummer in history. Flat out. No question about it.

You have good taste, sir.


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Old 10-25-2018, 09:41 PM   #3
Rooklidge
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Default Re: Question from a piper

Fashion changes. I started drumming in the mid-70s. Duthart was the standard, but you could tell individual drum corps by their styles. Greats like Turner, Connell, Kirkwood, and Montgomery were easily distinguishable. Young lead tips like Jim King started rocking as pipe tunes opened up in a rounded style. Phrases started to get shorter; easier not to screw up than a long run of singles, and the kevlar heads and higher pipe pitches changed the sound for good.

I still listen and enjoy the old band recordings, and do not find fault with the blips and blooters that were heard even from the best bands. I play them on my radio show and enjoy hearing back from folks who either loved them as kids or were players in the bands of the time. There is great music in those old LPs, and all the respect in the world for trying to get cane reeds and heads stretched to the limit to behave.

As a piper now, I am only mildly interested in listening to drumming because of the similarity of the music between bands playing styles originating from Dickie's kitchen piping. No harm in it, just no interest. A drummer's job is to enhance the pipe music. It's simple, but easily forgotten while chasing the precious metals. What I miss most of all is the small silences. As George Pryde's student Davie Bruce once told me, "..the most important thing is when you don't play".
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:19 AM   #4
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: Question from a piper

PanCeltic Piper would you post an example of the kind of drumming that you do not like, please. It would help us figure out what it is that is different.


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Old 10-31-2018, 01:37 PM   #5
ironron
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Default Re: Question from a piper

I think you find a lot of leading tips.. write their own scores now
The cameronian rant you mention is an examp;e of drumming that I personally don't like .
Not enough pointing to the tune , No silence to lift the tune .

Last edited by ironron; 10-31-2018 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:41 PM   #6
thevoidboy
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Default Re: Question from a piper

Quote:
Originally Posted by ironron View Post
I think you find a lot of leading tips.. write their own scores now
The cameronian rant you mention is an examp;e of drumming that I personally don't like .
Not enough pointing to the tune , No silence to lift the tune .


On the other hand, it lays a musical foundation upon which the pipes can do anything.


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Old 11-01-2018, 07:08 PM   #7
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Question from a piper

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom MacKenzie View Post
PanCeltic Piper would you post an example of the kind of drumming that you do not like, please. It would help us figure out what it is that is different.


tomm
Good point and fair enough.

I tend to like pretty much any drumming I hear. It's just that my favourites are the older things.

To me it's not as interesting when the snare drums play exactly the same notes as the pipes. It's more interesting to me when the snare drums create their own musical statements, contrasting with the pipes rather than matching them, and shape the music into something different than it would be without the drums.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:06 AM   #8
Tom MacKenzie
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Default Re: Question from a piper

As a lead drummer I often find that the lower grade bands play tunes with long notes held for one beat or notes on the beat and half beat. I find it a challenge to make the drum scores interesting with these types of tunes. There is a lot of space certainly, and the challenge is to get a rhythmic groove going behind the tune that fits the tune and is interesting in it's own right.



So I agree with your point.


However, as you move up the grades the pipe tunes become "denser", full of cut-dots, or dot-cuts, or triplet runs and so on. The drum score written for these tunes will usually be written to follow and complement the tunes to such a degree that you can actually hear the pipe tune coming from the drum score when it is played!



I love playing the scores in Alex Dutharts books because they do exactly that, and add a bit of cleverness here and there that is just beautiful to play.


I also agree with your point of complexity for it's own sake. Hearing a drum core playing "too many notes" just because they can doesn't improve the ensemble IMHO.


At Maxville this year a band from the USA in Grade 3 played regimental drums with open rudimental beatings. It was simple, effective and fantastic to listen to. A real delight!



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Old 11-04-2018, 11:26 AM   #9
Pete Walen
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Default Re: Question from a piper

I heard those guys compete -
That was Kevin Barry Pipe Band, in Grade 5.
Really solid drumming - made me feel almost young again...

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Old 11-05-2018, 01:11 PM   #10
Alba2usa
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Default Re: Question from a piper

Tom makes an excellent point about so called 'easier' lower grade tunes, those long notes are problematic and not just for the LD to arrange scores for, but having to do it in the knowledge that lower grade pipers tend not to hold those long notes to their true value!

So an LD in such a band has to be aware of all those ensemble issues. It's easier for drummers to accompany pipers in higher grades who are expected to be able to play true note values.

A point to remember too is, someone mentioned the Duthart score for the 'Rant'. I'd venture to guess if he was arranging a score for it today, it wouldn't be exactly the same. Why, because the thing people forget today is tempos! Generally speaking, Strathspeys (and for that matter marches & reels) tempos today are a lot slower than in the '70's -80's. Tempos have a huge bearing on drum scores... huge!!

Without getting into the opinions of that, good or bad, of tempos, (that's a whole 'nother topic), it needs to be remembered that Alex arranged scores in the '70's for those MSR tempos back then. Even in the late 80's Strathspeys were being played @ around 124-6 bpm! Try playing the Rant at that! I think it was the polis that started slowing things down back then for clean execution, and because they had won six in a row, everyone followed suit.
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