Notating for Drum Set Players – Part 2

This video is a continuation of the first video that deals with writing out parts for drummers. I knew I would forget something!

I’m sure there are still things I forgot, so there will probably be more drum lessons in the future. 🙂


5 Replies to “Notating for Drum Set Players – Part 2”

  1. George

    A really telling example of how the drummer just needs style and where to hit or fill is that when Louie Bellson played a gig with a band I was in almost 30 years ago, he read off the lead trumpet charts and tossed the drum music on the floor! Said the written drum part was just a permanent example of exactly why the composer wasn’t a drummer! According to him, the energy of a hot big band comes straight from the marriage between the drums and the lead trumpet. In the years since then, it’s amazing to me how right he was.

  2. Jim Martin

    George: exactly. Buddy Rich was known to just have the band play the chart once and he had it learned. A drummer can make or break a chart, and how you use the drums to help delineate form and phrases plays a big part in how the chart flows from beginning to end. I’ll cover some specific examples of that in the future.

  3. curt

    Our piano player (who is also the band leader) likes to have band cues on the piano chart so I have started just giving a copy of the piano chart to the drummer. The band cues let him know the places to fill and when to put the hits in. Of course this can leave out some of the stuff about the feel of the drum part so it’s not a perfect solution. On the other hand not even knowing how to play the drums, my drum parts are very much a case of less is more.

  4. Jim Martin

    George: Drummers like reading the lead trumpet part because the most most important rhythms will be there. If the lead player is playing in the upper register, most likely the full ensemble is playing below him and that is where the hits are most needed. Hits are not needed in a saxophone pad, or even alot of trombone rhythmic figures, but when the entire ensemble is playing, that is when the drummer needs the rhythmic information to help the band out.

    I played quite a few big band gigs with Louis Bellson when living in Chicago and he would come through town. The band was always killer and Louie was the nicest guy (and consumate player) anyone could ask for. I used to play 2nd trombone so I was sitting right next to him. What a great education that was.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.