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Softly, softly
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paul

paulmiller



Posts: 2719
Joined: Jan 23, 2005
Location: Lewisville, Texas, USA
No. 1 Posted on Apr 7, 2014 7:56 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Over the last few years I've gotten to really enjoy playing softly. I like to play late at night, which means leaving sticks in the bag in favor of brushes, to keep from disturbing the neighbors. Brushes also work really well with our quartet. And of all the songs the big band plays with good drum solos, my favorite is the Patrick Williams arrangement of "In the Still of the Night," as performed by Peter Erskine.

My toms are tuned so that I can almost play melodies with them, and a lot of my solo practice consists of just improvising and trying to impart tension and energy while keeping the volume low. It's really hard sometimes not to really cut loose, but often it's great fun just to keep it soft and se what I can come up with.

I really just wanted to throw that out there, but also wonder if anybody else feels this way.



The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely preferable to the presence of those who think they've found it. - Terry Pratchett

Just Add Sticks


StillKicken





Posts: 2357
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Buda, Texas
No. 2 Posted on Apr 8, 2014 5:11 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
paul wrote:
I really just wanted to throw that out there, but also wonder if anybody else feels this way.


OH, absolutely! Iíve been working really hard at playing soft and still be able play articulation accurately. Itís really hard to achieve my goal to see how soft I can play.

Iím really lucky; every other Tuesday I play in a small restaurant on a crowded stage with only four people and two toms hanging over the bass so playing soft and low is a must. Plus the fun part of it is a person thatís been filling in for the last three months although he plays Country is basically a blues type guitarist and our bass player is in the same ball park. That mix of type music is a blast to play and playing off each other is wellÖit just is, which is a requirement to play soft.

Iíll admit, Iíve cheated a bit but using the right type gear also helps me to acquire my goal. Other than muffling in the bass I stopped using Moongel on any of my drums to acquire a full musical tone. But I do use Fiberskyn3 drum heads on both sides on my toms to help lower the volume. With that combination and 7A Jazz type drumsticks Iím getting better at each gig of reaching my goal. I feel Iím blending in with the group really well but I try to push myself to play softer at each gig and having a blast.

sherm



K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple System
pwc





Posts: 9931
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Pattaya, Thailand
No. 3 Posted on Apr 8, 2014 7:39 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
There is nothing like playing in acoustic piano trios in 5 star hotel lobbies for years to train one in the art of playing softly yet dynamically at varying tempos. Brushes became my friend and passport to so many gigs over the years. Given a choice I would do all jazz gigs with brushes only for the whole night but that is not always viable.


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
technique2012





Posts: 290
Joined: Aug 11, 2012
Location: Illinois, USA
No. 4 Posted on Apr 8, 2014 7:58 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I agree. Playing softly definitely brings out the creativity in me. Though I have to say, my articulation and smoothness is often compromised at such lower volumes. Though that's just a lack of experience and lack of practice problem on my part and I've been working on it.


"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple."
-Charles Mingus

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