Backwards Fills

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
By backwards I mean ascending, or from low notes to high notes. They aren't very popular. There are some, but not many. Why is this? Are ascending fills harder? Do they not sound right? I only even thought of this because I just heard one and was a bit shocked at first. It was cool. I dug it.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Some guys mix things up by not keeping their toms in descending order. One example of ascending that comes to mind is the Zappa More Trouble Every Day big fill, which I think inspired the In The Air Tonight intro fill, which goes around the toms and then comes back in ascending order, low to high pitch.

I think it sounds great and creative and different when used correctly. I also think it is a bit more difficult to go backwards from the floor to hi tom.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Rising notes inspire a question mark where as descending ones are more like a period.
Also with traditional drum set up a drummer would often have to lead with his/her left hand to play ascending notes moving from right to left so it's harder for most.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Sounds like a Ringo thing LOL. I like to switch my mid range with hi tom aka Bernard Purdie and others- adds interest to fills. Since I play to many kick notes I’ve been experimenting playing fills between snare, floor tom and kick or just snare and kick. I think I got something going just not exactly sure what something is LOL. But I like the idea of Bizzaro world fills - everything backwards. Yeah it’ll work. Wait I think have been doing it backwards already- a man a head of his time.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I like that. I never thought of it that way, but it's like that in speech. Good call.
It's called the interrogative lift, among other names. My linguist offspring keeps me informed of such things, lol.

I think ascending fills are less frequently used mostly because they are harder for righties, but perhaps it's also because of the interrogative lift. That's just a guess, though.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I use them at times just to vary my playing. The only thing to make them harder is right handed drummers having to go left to right and not left to right leading with the right hand. The vary reason mentioned he didn't do may fills playing on his right hand set.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Also, in speech, a descending tone is considered more masculine than a rising tone.

I have to start asking my questions using a descending tone from now on, because I get them nonstop.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I do that as much as I can get away with, knowing that they stand out and can be overdone just for the sake of it. That’s never a good idea.

Bermuda
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Rising notes inspire a question mark where as descending ones are more like a period.
Also with traditional drum set up a drummer would often have to lead with his/her left hand to play ascending notes moving from right to left so it's harder for most.
Interesting, because the one ascending fill that jumps out to me is the one Ansley Dunbar plays near the end of "Stranger" by Jefferson Starship.
And the lyrics are in the form of questions as he plays it "Do I know your name? Are you someone I should know?"

I am pretty sure he plays the same fill somewhere on the Whitesnake album, but I don't recall which song.

The only other ascending parts of fills that come to mind are only parts of larger fills that also include descending parts (Jack and Dianne, Spirit of Radio).
 

fl.tom

Senior Member
Very much so. He runs through his toms backwards on Come Together.
Also interesting to note the primary reason Ringo did this was actually not musical... but rather so he could lead the fill with his left hand... since he’s left-handed playing a right-handed kit.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Very much so. He runs through his toms backwards on Come Together.
That is very true, and I play it backward too, though most people (even wellknown drummers) I saw playing come together, play the fill downward.
The drummer I think about is Ian Mosley, from Marillion. He does does backward fills in some Marillion songs, ending on the 8”, it’s very efficient because he has a great range of toms. He also do downward fills with just a strike on the 10 or 8” at the end (the way you would do with the snare). I like his style, very much.

But Bermuda is spot on, those fills stand out more, they need to be done on purpose not for the sake of it.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'd probably consider low-to-high for songs that need to evoke something rising, or the doppler of an approaching object. The way "Come Together" evokes the bubbling-upward effect because Ole' FlatTop, he come groovin' up slowly.

Consider the chorus of "Jerry was a Race Car Driver" where Les Claypool emulates the passing of race cars passing on his bass. When the point of the music is to create a story in the listener's head, you need to consider all of the tools available to you.

Going from high-to-low creates a sense of distance/space... You let the listener know that the verse is behind them now as the chorous begins.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Ringo says he played that low tom to high tom, but when I listen to the record, that's not how it sounds. To be honest, I can't tell what he's doing by listening to the song.

This is sort of like the instructional videos I've seen from Gadd describing 50 Ways, David Garibaldi breaking down the intro to Squib Cakes and Mike Clark showing what he played on Actual Proof. They all seem to be playing it differently on the record than what they show. I think Garibaldi and Clark actually admit that they don't remember exactly what they did.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Very much so. He runs through his toms backwards on Come Together.
This is exactly what I thought of. He did an interview about it stating that it wasn't any sort of big artistic statement he was trying to make; he only did it this way because he is left-handed and he liked to lead with it. It was simply more comfortable.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
No no I’ve seen the videos about being a lefty etc but he confided in me he was a Superman fan and Bizarro Superman intrigued him . He thought he’d get a lot of grief so made up the lefty issue, which doesn’t hold water cause I see lefties on here all the time with no problem. Heeheeheehee. This would make a great article for Modern Drummer LOL. The real story behind Ringo- he’s not your huckleberry”
 
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