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Drum Tabs


DrummerCafe

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I guess I don't even know what drum tabs look like. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

I always thought that standard notation was the easiest way to communicate the music.

~clockwirk~
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Well, I totally agree with you both.

I haven't really figured out why people use them. The time it takes to read and figure them out, you could be reading really drum notation.

 

The only advantage I see is if someone needs to put a groove on the Internet and they don't have a notations program like Finale or Encore.

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Here's an example of a Drum Tab:

 

Cym X-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|

FT -------------------------------|

S --o-------o-------o-------o---|

MT --------------------------------|

B 0-----0-0---0-0---------0-----|

 

 

To me, if you are wanting to read Drum Tabs, you would have to spend a lot of time counting the dashes and spaces ... and there is NO STANDARD notation for Drum Tabs. If someone is going to go to all this trouble, why not just use REAL notation? I'm puzzled.

 

If you want to see more explanations on Drum Tabs, you can go to ThePercussionist.com and check it out. You can quickly see that it's pretty complex ... and to me, a huge waste of time; especially since there is no universal agreement on tab notation.

 

I've played a lot of pieces that don't use standard notation; where the composer provides a key to reading the composition (example: Psappha by Iannis Xenakis). I don't have a problem learning something like that because it's an entire composition. But Drum Tabs are typically just grooves or beats for the masses.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if anyone can defend the use of Drum Tabs and why it's better than the standard music notation.

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Hey, Bart:

 

This is a new one on me! I am familiar with the Nashville Number System, and have often wondered if this was conjured up to make it difficult for outsiders to come in! Perhaps this is an attempt for drummers to have a "Secret Code" or something like that!?!

 

Or

 

Perhaps the inventor was comfortable deciphering Morse code!

 

I can see no real benefit unless you have a score that is a basic piece in 4 and the orchestrator does not want to take the time to score for set. He might insert a 4 bar Drum Tab to save time and space, but provide a basic beat recommendation for the song. (!?!?!)

 

Anyone else?

 

DJ

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Yeah, the Nashville notation makes since to me and is easy to read. The benefit of using it is that you can play it in any key, which is very nice when the artist can't sing the originally recorded key.

 

It's also great when you need to repeat sections such as a verse or chorus.

 

This drum tab stuff just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It seems like it's a ploy to escape having to read really notation. Whomever thought of it probably doesn't read standard music notation.

 

I mentioned that Drum Tabs could be good for the Internet aspect. If you want to share something and don't have notation software like Finale or a means to put it on the web, like making it a PDF file or scan the sheet music. Other than that, it makes absolutely no sense ... to me that is.

 

The reason I originally posed the question is I have considered making Drum Tab versions of my on-line lessons for everyone. Perhaps even do it on the Drum Ring web site. It goes against my better judgment, but wanted to get the opinions of others and not be so quick to judge against Drum Tabs.

 

Thanks for all your input!

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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for this drum tabs stuff, Is there a standard method of indicating meter or what beat subdivision each space represents ? Kinda reminds me of when I first started working with drum machines & would notate things on graph paper...To me, if you do a clean, evenly designed, standard notation page (that is, spacing the notes representationally), it gives you a good graphic picture of the music's division BUT,HEY, whatever helps people learn/remember/advance is great !

 

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Well I'm all for new ways of doing things, as long as it's a step forward. If there is a standard, no one is using it. So since there IS no standard, there is no doubt in my mind that reading regular music notation is easier in the long run.

 

You can purchase two different drumset method books and get two different notation schemes ... but they do come with a key. There is a standard drumset notation ... and it's not hard to adapt or make minor changes to fit specific drumsets. Since a drumset is really a large grouping of individual instruments (ie. snare, hihat, kick drum, etc.), there has to be some flexibility with the notation as well. Standard music notation does provide for that, although a "legend" or a "key" would be needed to make these alterations known.

 

Since drum tabs don't use any standard, and is nothing more than notation using graphs, it's a learning curve every time. The only exception that I could see is that drum tabs that come from the same author.

 

I still say "normal" music notation is easy to use once you learn the basics. I don't see schools teaching children to read drum tabs, but they do learn the basics or music rudiments while in choir or music classes. All of this is LONG before they would typically be focusing on a instrument for junior and senior high school. There are exceptions to this of course, but this can easily be seen as the average or majority.

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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I actually read drum tabs and regular notations. I think they are both just as easy. Once you get use to them. I started with regular notation and didn't like drum tabs at first. But now I perfer them but only because I use them more so I am more use to them. But I still read regular notations also. It's just whatever your familiar with.

 

Drummergirl

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I did some sessions way back when, and NEVER saw drum notation that specified which drum to play on. There was a chord chart in front of me, and I was expected to see the places where accents & fills were called for. Aside from that, each tune would be briefly discussed before playing - that's where we'd determine whether it was ride cymbal, hihat, or tom to ride on and what the general beat & bass pattern would be. I'd make my notes, and away we'd go.... having learned to read real music I find tab irritating.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Originally posted by coyote:

I did some sessions way back when, and NEVER saw drum notation that specified which drum to play on. There was a chord chart in front of me, and I was expected to see the places where accents & fills were called for. Aside from that, each tune would be briefly discussed before playing - that's where we'd determine whether it was ride cymbal, hihat, or tom to ride on and what the general beat & bass pattern would be. I'd make my notes, and away we'd go.... having learned to read real music I find tab irritating.

 

What you were reading is called Rhythm Charts, which is a standard type of chart for rhythm section players. I rarely do a session where the actual drum part or groove is written out. Even in Pop, Jazz and Classical music, composers rarely take the time to notate the actual drum parts. They usual just through down a basic concept and figure the drummer will know what best fits the music (which is a correct assumption).

 

From my original post, I wasn't trying to imply that Rhythm Charts or Nashville Charts are useless or not needed. What I was curious about was whether or not people really found Drum Tabs to be useful. I've downloaded some stuff from the Djembe-L site which is all in Drum Tabs. I can read it, but just felt that if someone had the time to notation with standard notation, the reading aspects would be MUCH easier. There had to be a reason why Drum Tabs were created in the first place. I can only assume it was from people who don't read standard music notation and/or who needed a way to share over the Internet.

 

 

 

 

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Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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