June 13, 2011

Why The Drumset And Laptop Is Our Modern Day Piano

By 1800, the piano had overtaken the harpsichord as THE instrument of choice, after being ushered in by the likes of Haydn and Beethoven. (you've heard of those guys, right?) The piano was EVERYWHERE; new piano works were being churned out every single day, and the dominance of the piano is still reminiscent today in the use of it in many genres, as well as being one of the world's most popular musical instruments. The piano changed everything, and I think for the better.

Remember me, motherfucker?

Fast forward some 200 years. This doesn't sound like anything those cats back in the day would have even thought of, but this is what's rising in the music world:

Tons of electronic shit. It's everywhere. Not just in dance music either; it's in rock, hip-hop, and I even heard some of it in a country tune I heard out of nowhere. (it's ok though; country music still sucks) But think about it; we use laptops and DAW's (digital audio workstation; see: Garageband, Pro Tools, etc) for drums more than ever. With technology, we can emulate any type of drum sound, create any type of drum sound, then take those drum sounds and morph and fuck with them until they're new drum sounds! This wouldn't be possible without the rise of the drumset though.

The drumset was first used in the late 1800's with the popularity of brass bands. When brass bands were asked to perform in a parade, they wanted a single person to cover all the percussion parts at the same time, and thus the drumset was born. From there, it became a pivotal instrument in the rising popularity of jazz and early rock. In the 70's with the beginnings and rise of electronic music, drums are what drove early EDM pieces. Early DJ's would loop drums and use them to put over other tracks in the club to really get that shit going.

Play that funky music, white boy.

From there, the drumset has planted itself in rock, but aside and jazz (and the occasional hip-hop performance), the acoustic drumset has been replaced with sounds from a computer. Unless you're listening to classic rock or maybe an alternative radio station, most of what you're hearing is electronic drum sounds. You honestly think that someone actually played to the Swedish House Mafia tune I played above?

The piano had been ushered in by the big names in classical music after hearing the beauty of the instrument. (remember when I said Haydn and Beethoven earlier? Yeah.) Electronic drum kits were brought in by the sheer enjoyment of trying something new and groundbreaking, and yes, because they also sound fucking awesome. The piano was used everywhere. So are drumkits, acoustic or otherwise.

The point I'm trying to make is this; the piano ran train on any other instrument in its' day (except for maybe the all-too-dominant violin), and the influence of the drumset being transferred into electronic format in our current era is likened to that of the dominance of the piano in the 1800's. It's everywhere. People are doing new things with it everyday. You can't go half an hour without hearing the influence out there somewhere. It's in all genres today in one form of another, and I will debate that point to the very end. (mainly because I know that I'm right in that point) No, the piano and drumsets/drum sounds/laptops/lalala are very different. But the influence that they bring/brought to the table in their respective eras are very similar, and should be taken seriously. With everything changing from one day to the next in a society where you can't afford to miss a beat, what else will the drums do to further their impact on today's music?

The piano; running train on music since the 1800's.


  1. like the save the world song!

  2. really wish i could play real drums

  3. this blog is very good mmmm

  4. I play drums and must say, I hate hearing all the drum machine/electronic influence in modern music. Sad times.

  5. not a fan of this stuff, sounds shit man!

  6. The good bands will keep their drums as they are, the electronic sounds should just be used as extra elements (not abused) in the songs imo.

  7. Recently I came across your blog and sounds are really good...

  8. I use real drum samples in my music, does that count?