I'm still interested in developing my skills as a drummer. One thing that drummers spend a lot of time
It's interesting that when I looked up "metronome" on Wikipedia, I discovered this controversy:
Human beings seldom play music at an exact tempo with all the beats exactly the same. This makes it impossible to align metronome clicks with the beats of a musically expressive performance. This also has led many musicians to criticize use of a metronome. "Metronome Time" has been shown to differ from "Musical Time". Some go as far as to suggest that metronomes shouldn't be used by musicians at all. The same criticism has been applied to metronome markings as well.
And there were several interesting quotes which were against the metronome:
The metronome has no real musical value. I repeat, the metronome has no value whatsoever as an aid to any action or performance that is musical in intention. [...] refer by analogy to the sister art of drawing. Graphic artists understand well enough the essential and generic difference that exists between mechanically-aided drawing on the one hand and freehand on the other. Similarly, musicians ought to distinguish between (1) the sort of timing that results from dull, slavish obedience to the ticking of a soulless machine, and (2) that noble swing and perfect control of pulsation which comes into our playing after years of practice in treating and training the sense of time as a free, creative human faculty.
... this series of even, perfectly quantized, 16th notes, is no more evocative of samba, than a metronome would be. In fact, this representation neglects what makes up the samba essence in the first place — the swing!—The Amateur String Quartet by James Brown III
[...] using the metronome as a constant guide to ramp up the speed or to keep the rhythm. This is one of the worst abuses of the metronome. [...] If over used, it can lead to loss of your internal rhythm, loss of musicality, and bio-physical difficulties from over-exposure to rigid repetition—Understanding the Samba Groove by Pedro Batista
—Fundamentals of Piano Practice by Chuan C. Chang
I found something called "In Search Of The Click Track" which really blew me away. The site shows various drummers performances with the tempo fluctuation interpreted by a graph. The real human drummers had lots of fluctuation, while the pop songs with "The Machine" were flat-lined. Stewart Copeland, the drummer from The Police, had a lot of fluctuation, as did Bernard Purdie on James
|Bernard Purdie, one of the most recorded drummers|
On that note, I leave you with a decidedly human track from a forthcoming album I'm working on. This features my band Theoretical Planets, which is Jon Lakey on bass, Nicole Glover on tenor and soprano saxes and Joe Manis on tenor and alto saxes. Enjoy!