I Miss Real Drums, Rhythmic Variation, Song Dynamics . . .


Jun 12, 2019
Scootchin' Over
The point is that there's been "good music today" throughout my five decades of life, but self-appointed serious-music-people can't seem to find anything to like until it's 20-30-40 years old, from the era when literally everything on radio was high art or something.
I'm not disputing that there is good music today. Of course, there is. However, I do think there are time periods where art flourishes (Ancient Greece, the Renaissance, etc.) and other eras where the amount of artistic profundity is less. I don't believe it's possible to really say one era was qualitatively better than another (it's fine to like one era over another though). I do think it's possible to identify when an era is in full artistic bloom (those judgments are subject to error though).
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chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Mar 25, 2003
Santa Barbara, California
Economic, cultural, and social conditions can definitely create peaks in creative output. For example, the Dutch masters lived at the time when Holland was the premier trading nation in the world, with a powerful maritime industry and navy.

The Italian Renaissance was bank-rolled by powerful families (again made rich via trade) such as the Medicis. They feared that it would be harder for them to get into heaven than a camel passing through the eye of a needle, so they spent great sums of money on art to beautify cathedrals and churches. But given their big egos, the faces of various saints were often made to look like face of the Medici or other benefactor.

The peak era of analog studio production by the likes of Steely Dan was only possible because the record industry could sell millions of records, and songwriters also got royalty payments for radio play, creating huge cash flows that could bank roll many hours of expensive studio time with the very best studio musicians, engineers, and producers.

Imagine Bill Gates paying for a big triptych for some church in Palo Alto, and telling the artist to make sure that St. Luke or St. Mark looks just like him....


Friend of Leo's
May 15, 2016
Bremerton, WA
I've always loved played rhythm. Live, loose, wild, or crazy tight pockets. There's something about people playing in crazy tight pockets though, it's not just machanically on time, because I've never heard programming get there. It's not just accuracy.

So I get burned out quick on electronic rhythm. But sometimes it's cool.

But you know what is not ever cool? Software drums that sound like a real, generic rock drummer.
It's a robot girlfriend.
I might like your home recorded song in spite of it, but it's yucky. I'd much rather hear you bang a tamburine and some lumber, to a click if you must, or just sound like kraftwerk.
Or make hip hop.
They didn't have drummers, and they made it cool, not fake.
Kurtis Blow's first album had a real drummer. But I get what you're saying.


Friend of Leo's
Aug 12, 2014
Turku, Finland
A real drummer is "in the moment". They add feel and dynamics no fake drums could ever capture.

Yeah... they're "in the moment".
They add a fluid grasp on tempo. Start Unbelievable(by EMF) at ~240 BPM.
Play fills how it "feels natural" as opposed to how it's written(seriously... only drummers playing covers can get away with this!).
They also complain that basic 4/4 is "boring" and start overplaying on songs that require basic 4/4.

But... he puts up with my compositions, so there we are... 🙃


Silver Supporter
Aug 19, 2020
After working with real drummers, tempo variation, unpredictable dynamics both in volume and disappearing with their love interest after one song at rehearsal, I quickly adapted to the beauty, reliability, and volume control of drum machines.

Even Stewart Copeland said he wasn’t opposed to them, but he made a really good point that you should have a drummer do the programming.


Feb 17, 2021
North Carolina

I Miss Real Drums, Rhythmic Variation, Song Dynamics . . .​

I miss all these things too and...

Hammond B3s through Leslie Speakers,
Vocals without pitch correct,
Bass lines without slapping,
And bands sporting a line of really hot back back-up singers.


Jun 20, 2010
I got so frustrated trying to program drums with a mouse (in Linux no less) that I was ready to hit something. So I tried drums. Between space and volume, and being pickier thany hands and feet could justify I arrived at this:

Yamaha Multipad. Kick pedal. That's my bass and toms. I have a snare pad too for practice and hashing stuff out. I record that as midi. I overdub snare and cymbals. Real snare. When I record midi stuff I don't quantize. Instead I turn off snap to grid, and go through looking for late/early notes that grab my ear. I then drag them to the grid. And I'm zoomed out a bit. There's still some breath in there. Listening and correcting this way is also educational. As it helps to learn how to pull off feel when you need to pull it out of your hat. Oh I liked that take. Ok snare is rushing but the rolls are triplet feel... Etc..

And the whole set up is incredibly compact. Doesn't take over the bonus room ( I like BIG drums). I don't do a lot of toms, I'm mostly working on song form and such, but I have the Multipad if I need them.