CrownBariDad

What to watch/listen for in percussion?

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can of worms: opened!

haha

sometimes you can hear them from the crowd... some people think it is cool and others think it is obnoxious. Will leave the more detailed explanation to the drummers, but the "duts" are to make sure they are all reading the tempo exactly the same from the drum major

Actually, I'm not sure how much the battery can rely on the drum major for tempo when the ictus is happening 30-50 yards away. If they played exactly with the DM, their sound would be fractionally late to the front. I think the duts help the snare guys solidify the energy and flow and intensity. When you have 8-10 guys who are tasked with playing exactly as one, but they can only really hear the guy right next to them....well, it's one h*ll of a challenge.

Edited by brichtimp

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I think a lot of it comes down to tuning of drums. Some make it sound clear and others make it sound like a bag of crap. It's the same as brass where perfect tuning makes you louder. As a brass player that also did 5 years of wgi majority of judging is focused on snares because it's easiest to hear.

Eh, it really boils down to technique. You can have a wonderfully written book that uses the full range of the line, but with poor technique you're not going to achieve the sound you want regardless of tuning.

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Actually, I'm not sure how much the battery can rely on the drum major for tempo when the ictus is happening 30-50 yards away. If they played exactly with the DM, their sound would be fractionally late to the front. I think the duts help the snare guys solidify the energy and flow and intensity. When you have 8-10 guys who are tasked with playing exactly as one, but they can only really hear the guy right next to them....well, it's one h*ll of a challenge.

Pretty much, this.

The duts provide an audible tempo cue to lock onto other than the hornline (which tends to sound very behind).

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I know there's a reciprocity to it, but the DM watches center snare's feet a lot, right?

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To "duts", there's a concept of playing "on top of the beat" and I'd guess horns do it, too. If the drums simply watch the DM's downbeat they'll be way behind. As they move farther back to the far sideline, drummers are taught to climb "on top" of the beat so that they are actually playing a fraction ahead of the DM. If you imagine 6 or 8 snares trying to find that *exact* spacing between playing and the DM's downbeat, you can imagine that "duts" help keep them together and "on top".

To the DM watching the center snare feet? Uh, no. It would be nearly impossible to keep things together that way because, today, snare feet are moving to a "pulse" of timing that doesn't necessarily reflect the meter or the tempo.

A great example of how this works can be found on any Youtube drum-cam videos. BK last year had a great example of their last run-through before leaving for their finals performance, and here's one of Cadets' last run through. You'll hear "duts", feel them play "on top" and, at the 4:41 mark and again at 4:52, if you watch closely, you'll see them split 16th notes. Then, at about 5:13 you see triplet flams (a stroke preceded by a grace-note tap). This, of course, is a very dense snare book so you might get lost, but look at those three time slices in particular. From this perspective it sounds like the horns and drums are never together but, in the stands, it sounds perfectly in sync.

Edited by garfield
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Do modern orchestral, wind ensemble, or brass band composers--granted that they are usually dealing with a far smaller percussion section--ever write anything that even begins to approach the complexity of drum corps percussion music?

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Actually, I'm not sure how much the battery can rely on the drum major for tempo when the ictus is happening 30-50 yards away. If they played exactly with the DM, their sound would be fractionally late to the front. I think the duts help the snare guys solidify the energy and flow and intensity. When you have 8-10 guys who are tasked with playing exactly as one, but they can only really hear the guy right next to them....well, it's one h*ll of a challenge.

Pretty much, this.

The duts provide an audible tempo cue to lock onto other than the hornline (which tends to sound very behind).

right... but they are dut-ing based on what the DM is doing. The drum line does not get to play choose your own tempo.

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I remember one spot in our show in '85 that we were having a terrible time getting the attack right, so Thurston had us start dut-dutting for that one spot. Don't remember who the judge was, but he eviscerated us for "using an audible cue that takes away all of the demand of the attack".

My how times have changed.

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right... but they are dut-ing based on what the DM is doing. The drum line does not get to play choose your own tempo.

No one is saying any different.

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Something else that is really great about the current state of DCI percussion (pit and battery): Not only is the technical and musical exposure and demand equal to or greater than the brass, but the quality of instruction allows the kids to translate phrasing, control...all the other musical elements, to the other genre they are playing during the school year. Also, by the way, the sheer number of notes is only one aspect of difficulty.....playing the snare part of a Sousa march (and doing it well) is its own art form.

As I read those thoughtful post it occurs to me that your comments touch on why I feel so strongly about Crown's 2013 book.

I'm sure there's some translation to other idioms like winds and such, but less than one might expect. The instruments are different; a marching Yamaha snare has a head as hard as a marble counter (nearly), while a "concert" snare's head can be deflected 1/4" or more with the thumb. Different technique entirely. What does translate is understanding expression and musicality and maybe how to apply it, but actually doing it across idioms requires completely different techniques. I don't think its different from clarinet players who march mello. It's the same extreme across drum idioms, too. (A suspect you already know all of this so my thoughts are more for non-drummers).

Example: How many drum corps snare lines play "traditional grip" (that crazy left hand on snare players that non-drummers are fascinated by) and how many symphony orchestra and school wind-program snare players play "matched grip", where both sticks are held the same palms-down like the tenor players. And drum corps bass players these days are actually playing more "vertical snare" than bass drum. Sure, that would translate to a HS or college marching bass player, but the techniques used on the field are not even approached the same way as the "concert" version used in wind programs.

Edited by garfield

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