A singer makes drumming so much easier

Sinmara

Member
Back in February I joined a black metal band - the guitarist did the singing beforehand, but he decided to concentrate on playing guitar, so we rehearsed without a singer for months.

Then a couple of months ago we found a reliable and experienced singer (way more experienced than me) - and it made it so much easier for me to drum. Especially now that he hasn't been able to rehearse with us for the past 2 rehearsals - I realise how much I rely on him. He also said that he mainly listens to the drums, so it's a two-way street.

When we played live for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't hear the guitars particularly well the gig would have been quite a mess without me relying on his singing! (well, screaming...)

Anybody else noticed that?
 

john gerrard

Senior Member
A good singer can be such a help. Many players do not realize how important a singer is. A singers timing and phrasing and meter is every bit as important as anyone who plays a instrument. A singer with good timing and phrasing makes it so much easier to keep a good groove and help create a nice pocket. John
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I totally agree. Having a singer makes drumming so much easier and enjoyable. In my case, when we are just jamming on non-singing jam songs, these guys just wank off on two chords for 15 minutes. It get a little dull for me if there isn't more structure and changes in the songs. But with singing in the song, there is a chorus, verses, bridges, intro's, solos, etc. Sometimes the solo will last five minutes or so, but at least I know that eventually there will be a change and it gives me something to look forward to.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Anybody else noticed that?

Ya, it does, but it need'nt be necessarily so.

A singer makes it easier to outline a melody which helps to see the form and movement of a song or its parts, but if one spends enough time training one's ear to 'see'/hear forms and shapes, chord movements without the 'training wheel' of a voice present, your comfort level should'nt change at all.

...
 

Sinmara

Member
Ya, it does, but it need'nt be necessarily so.

A singer makes it easier to outline a melody which helps to see the form and movement of a song or its parts, but if one spends enough time training one's ear to 'see'/hear forms and shapes, chord movements without the 'training wheel' of a voice present, your comfort level should'nt change at all.

...

I'm sure I'll get there eventually, I've only been drumming for just over a year, and in a rehearsal studio for half a year :)
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Ya, it does, but it need'nt be necessarily so.

A singer makes it easier to outline a melody which helps to see the form and movement of a song or its parts, but if one spends enough time training one's ear to 'see'/hear forms and shapes, chord movements without the 'training wheel' of a voice present, your comfort level should'nt change at all.

...

I find that in some songs the correct "cue" for me to pay attention to is the singer.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
A good singer gives the music form and structure and adds meaning. The singer tells the story and the rest of us back him up. Instrumentals are fun too ... more than happy to wank on for 15+ minutes playing variations on a vamp. You need more chops to play instrumentals, as a rule.
 

johnnylaw

Senior Member
Since I have no steady band, I play in oddball pickup situations when I get to share the stage/space with other players.

I always find who is the "lead" and lock on to that person. Often it is a guitarist/singer that lays it down for the rest of us to support/follow. Its great to hang tight with the bass, but often that person is (or should be) on the "lead" as well.

In a band it is different because everyone has been through the material multiple times, and more refinement should exist within the arrangements. In these situations the rhythm section "drives" the tune affording the latitude for others to reach out, beyond, and around the pocket for that extra expressiveness that can make the music more alive and distinctive.

My two and a half cents worth.

Peace
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
What I've noticed is many musicians don't know how long a verse is if no one's singing and it's annoying as all hell.
 

TColumbia37

Silver Member
Yes, a singer makes it so much easier! Especially when you're learning new songs. They usually make it quite obvious when transitions are coming and/or when a change in dynamics is necessary.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Wait a minute - song form, rhythm, tempo, etc.,....that comes from everybody. You as the drummer can direct traffic simply by playing something different per section. For example, say on a verse you're keeping time on hi hat, then for the chorus you go to ride cymbal, additional verses or solos over verses you do something else. You're not just a drum machine, you're conducting the band! Study the masters in any music genre and you will hear the drummer doing something slightly different in each verse or chorus (especially in jazz).

As Max Roach did at one time, he'd even speed up through somebody's solo to get to the end if that guy wasn't playing great. And he'd tell 'em he woulda' slowed down to savor it if it was good! But only Max could do that ;)
 

Sinmara

Member
I'm doing that anyway - when we rehearse new songs I try every with every verse/chorus different things that sound good before settling on a particular one (though I have to record all my rehearsals because I simply can't remember the stuff I do for every song....)

That said I often change it every time I rehearse a song, and the more I learn, the more I find new ways to play/to add....
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I'm doing that anyway - when we rehearse new songs I try every with every verse/chorus different things that sound good before settling on a particular one (though I have to record all my rehearsals because I simply can't remember the stuff I do for every song....)

That said I often change it every time I rehearse a song, and the more I learn, the more I find new ways to play/to add....

Ok then. So what's the problem?

Really, once you get more into reading, you can quickly jot down a simple road map for the songs - actually, this isn't really a "music reading" skill just so long as you can count bars and phrases. I did an entire show on the fly with a band by jotting down notes on 3x5 cards for each tune two hours before a show. It wasn't perfect, but it can be done ;)
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
If the song you're playing has a vocal, that vocal should be the audience focus. It is going to set tone and dynamics for the song. So yes, if there's no vocalist, you're not really able to zero in on those aspects of playing as easily as when you have one with you.

I don't have a real problem with "losing my place" because I can hear the vocal in my head, sing along, etc. -- probably a holdover from days when I played melodic instruments. It's a skill that can and will come with experience.
 
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