Recording Studio: Archaeological evidence suggests that around 30,000 years ago, in the Upper Paleolithic era, early man figured out how to stretch an animal skin to make a drum. It only took 29,000 more years for man to arrive at a system for multi-tasking on the instrument: the drum kit.
Not quite a hundred years old, the recording studio drum kit might be just a kid in instrument years, but it’s long been at the heart of popular music. It’s served not just as a time-keeping machine but as a tool for virtuosic expression, from the bombastic jazz of Buddy Rich to the prog-rock stylings of Rush’s Neil Peart to the impeccable funk rhythms of Clyde Stubblefield.
Before any of these idioms existed, in the late 1800s, separate percussionists were assigned to drums and cymbals in military and concert bands. As these ensembles typically played in parades, there was plenty of space for a large percussion section to roam about. Indoor concerts, on the other hand, had obvious physical constraints and therefore percussionists often had to do double duty.
Recording Studio Drum Kit : Pedal Driven
A clever solution to this issue was to get feet in on the action. In 1909, William F. Ludwig, Sr. of the Ludwig Drum Co. helped drummers do just that when he pioneered a foot pedal for the bass drum. One drummer could then play multiple parts simultaneously—kind of a big deal at the time.
One recording studio drummer could then play multiple parts simultaneously — kind of a big deal at the time.”
After that, the basic drum set gradually began to take shape. A snare drum and cymbal, both stand-mounted so that a drummer could play seated, joined the bass drum. This allowed for the basic common-time pattern: the bass drum on beats 1 and 3, the snare on 2 and 4, and the cymbal running throughout, which is still in heavy use today across a range of genres.