I does quickly become complicated as people mean different thing, are sensitive to different thingsand have different tastes,..
Part of it is even based on the instrument you play and it's possibilities. I wouldn't be surprised if other players can relate to keyboard players having often the general best harmonic ears and bass players being able to hear lower notes better. Keyboard players also in general don't obsess over tonal dynamics like some guitar players do. It's not like there are no exceptions, but there seems to be a trend.
langmick wrote:I would say touch is defined as control of all dynamics, ppp to fff, without any hint of tension or uncertainty. Painting a painting with a fine detail brush vs painting with a roller. The refinement of the lower dynamics.
Paul Marangoni wrote:nomsgmusic wrote: How do you "define" touch? Seriously.
Touch has everything to do with the interface between musician and instrument. In our case, it's usually mediated by a stick. The angle your stick touches the head, the shape of the tip, the pressure you apply, how long the stick stays on the head, and quickly it is removed, whether it shifts/slides a fraction of a millimeter,.... All those things (in addition to their placement of the notes in the flow of time) will define someone's touch, and that "touch" will result in someone's "sound" (once you combine enough groups of notes such that they from some sort of rhythm). For guitarists it would be their picking hand as well as how the fret the strings, how they bend the note, they're speed and depth of tremolo, on and on....
I like these definitions.
Langmick I really dig "The refinement of lower dynamics" because I think touch is more obvious at lower dynamics because volume can often mask different aspects of touch. But the adjustments that we make at lower dynamics have an affect on our louder dynamic range and our physical approach to the instrument. It's all intertwined.
Paul I'm glad you mentioned "How long the stick stays on the head, and how quickly it's removed" (attack.) I started thinking about this aspect of touch when I saw those slow motion vids of Mangini striking snares and cymbals. And relating it to my tympani studies of long ago. My teacher and I really talked a lot about how quickly the mallet was pulled back off of the head. It is never a surprise to me that drummers with great touch also studied a bit of tympani.
As drum set players we often hear the old phrase "pulling the sound out of the drum." But today I think of it more of getting the stick out of contact with the head (or cymbal) to achieve a sound of openness. Or conversely to leave the stick on the surface a millisecond longer to mute the sound. I think this is very obvious on "cymbal touch." As an extreme this is often called dead-stroking a sound, but I think the many variances in this that manifest in someone's touch and sound, and this isn't addressed much when discussing technique.
As someone who has been working on and developing his touch for years (aren't we all?) I'm glad to see that someone else has put some thought into exactly what that means. I think the terms "touch" and "sound" are unfortunately often used interchangeably. And "technique talk" isn't always conjoined with "touch talk," and how that manifests itself in "sound talk." Yet it's ALL really the same thing.
I am always intrigued by pianists and their different touches in attack and release, and I think this is relatable to the drums. I am also always intrigued by how the strength in a bassists left hand (fretting had) affects his sound. Although I don't know (yet) how I would relate this to the drums.
I am trying to come up with a definition for my more advanced students to think about while we are working on technique, touch, and sound.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
nomsgmusic wrote:And relating it to my tympani studies of long ago. My teacher and I really talked a lot about how quickly the mallet was pulled back off of the head. It is never a surprise to me that drummers with great touch also studied a bit of tympani.
Ha! Interesting. I studied timpani with David Kent (Toronto Ballet & Toronto Symphony) back when I was in high school. I do recall him talking about these things now that you mention it.
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