In this article we unpick the key concepts relating to musical frequencies, and link these to the tuning of musical instruments and the creation of music, focusing particularly on drums and drumheads too. We cover all aspects of musical frequencies relating to notes on the piano keyboard and the intervals between notes. We also take a look at the concepts of the ‘equal … [Read more...] about Ultimate Guide to Musical Frequencies
It’s a good question, but one most experienced drummers will be very aware of the numerous answers to. Drums and drummers often receive a hard time from other musicians, because they are so ‘straight-forward’ in comparison to many instruments – you just hit them and they make a noise! But, actually, drums are much more difficult to tune than a guitar or violin, for example. … [Read more...] about 1. Why Bother with Drum Tuning?
Drums generate sound through vibration, but what actually is vibration, how does that relate to the sound we hear when a drum is hit, and what does that have to do with drum tuning?Let’s start at the beginning… vibration is quantified by the number of times something moves backwards and forwards in a single second, i.e. its frequency. The measurement unit for vibration … [Read more...] about 2. Drumhead Vibration and the Science of Sound!
‘Cylindrical drums’ are those us drummers are most used to playing – cylindrical shells with two drumheads, one on each of the batter and resonant sides. No matter how they are tuned, all cylindrical drums have a sonic ‘pitch’, which basically means the frequency which the drum vibrates at and which we hear with the most prominence. If you make the drumhead tighter the pitch … [Read more...] about 3. Tuning the Pitch of a Cylindrical Drum
Lug tuning is sometimes called 'equalizing the drumhead' or 'clearing the drumhead' and ensures that the tuning is even at every point around the perimeter of the drum. We often evaluate this at each of the lug positions around the drumhead, and make adjustments with the tension rods that connect the hoop and drumhead to the lugs and the drum shell. Accurate lug tuning is … [Read more...] about 4. Lug Tuning and Clearing/Equalizing the Drumhead
Drum tuning can be quite daunting for any new drummer, and for many experienced drummers too. Don’t be ashamed of this! It takes a number of years for most drummers to develop the required understanding and hearing skills in order to tune drums unassisted. It’s really valuable to understand a little bit about the fundamental (F0) and overtones (F1) of a drum before attempting … [Read more...] about 5. Drum Tuning 101 – Back to Basics
Do you ever wonder why cylindrical drums have two drumheads, what exactly does the resonant head add to the acoustics of the drum, and how exactly does it influence the sound? Well, there are two main reasons..Firstly, a cylindrical drum with just one drumhead is very inefficient, energy wise, because as soon as the head is hit, all the energy created from the hit gets … [Read more...] about 6. Tuning the Resonant Drumhead – What, Why and How?
We’re very used to seeing the audio waveform of different sounds and musical phrases, especially now that people have access to DAWs or Digital Audio Workstations such as Logic Pro X, Pro Tools and Ableton Live. Every sound waveform is unique and tells us a bit about the ‘shape’ of the sound, and by that we mean the profile of how the sound appears, how long its duration is, … [Read more...] about 7. Spectrum Analysis and Filtering Frequencies
Being a drummer is both a blessing and a curse! The great thing about drums is that there are far more ways to personalise a drum kit than there are for any other musical instrument – the number of permutations of drum types, sizes, depths, materials, configurations is endless. But the counter-side to this is that it takes a huge journey of learning, testing and experiencing … [Read more...] about 8. The Wonderful World of Drumheads!
With all musical instruments, there’s a hidden quality that makes some just sound better or different to others, and some instruments which sound more suited to a certain style, genre or even the musician and their performance traits. Sometimes there’s no right or wrong; some pianists play a Steinberg, others prefer a Yamaha. Some guitarists play a Gibson Les Paul and others … [Read more...] about 9. Timbre: The Truth about Drum Shell Vibration
Taking a seat behind a fully-loaded drum kit brings a moment of joy, power, and excitement to all drummers, and even non-drummers too! Just watch someone’s face light up as you pass them the drumsticks and let them experience the thrill of sitting behind your kit for the very first time. Every drummer’s kit has been meticulously setup to enable the perfect performance for that … [Read more...] about 10. Tuning Drums for Different Styles and Genres
Everyone loves a superb snare sound. Even those who don't know it; listeners involuntarily tap and clap along to the backbeat, and if it cuts through a track with power and style then it can make the hairs on your neck stand up. In fact, drummers and music producers are generally very particular about snare sounds, both in live performances and when recording or mixing a song … [Read more...] about 11. Snare Drum Tuning
The kick drum (or bass drum as it is often called too), is a bit of a beast on first sight, and that makes kick drum tuning seem a little daunting to many people. But actually, with some very simple techniques and a little knowledge on drumhead vibration, kick drum tuning can be a very simple task that doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. Getting straight down to it, the physics … [Read more...] about 12. Kick Drum Tuning