Modern Drummer’s Playing With a Band, Part 1

Drummer Talk

Modern Drummer’s Playing With a Band, Part 1

Part 1: Communication and Form

It’s important to make regular eye contact with the other musicians when playing in an ensemble. In particular, focus on the bass player and keyboardist, as they-along with you-comprise the rhythm section. Your center of time and overall feel will be enhanced when you lock-in with them.

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“Ionisation” – First Ever Percussion Ensemble Piece

Here is an EXCELLENT performance of “Ionisation” by Edgar Varése – the first ever percussion ensemble piece.  It was written from 1929 to 1931.  Fascinating stuff …


Here’s some cool facts from its Wikipedia entry:

Ionisation (1929 – 1931) is a musical composition by Edgard Varèse written for thirteen percussionists, the first concert hall composition for percussion ensemble alone. The premiere was at Steinway Hall, on March 6, 1933, conducted by Nicolas Slonimsky, to whom the piece was later dedicated. One critic described the performance as “a sock in the jaw.”

The instrumentarium is the following: 3 bass drums, 2 Side drums, 2 Snare drums, tarole, 2 bongos, tambourine, tambour militaire, crash cymbal, suspended cymbals, 3 tam-tams, gong, 2 anvils, 2 triangles, sleigh bells, chimes, celesta, piano, Chinese blocks, claves, maracas, castanets, whip (instrument), guiro, high & low sirens, and a lion’s roar.

Ionisation features the expansion and variation of rhythmic cells, and the title refers to the ionization of molecules. As the composer later described, “I was not influenced by composers as much as by natural objects and physical phenomena.” (Schuller 1965, p.34) Varèse also acknowledged the influence of the Italian Futurist artists Luigi Russolo and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in the composition of this work.