Recording Studio: It’s not easy to accept that while today’s elite players demonstrate almost superhuman feats of technical prowess on countless configurations of drums and cymbals, in reality after nearly a century of evolution nothing is really new! There is no questioning the ability of today’s elite players but a close study on drums of the 20th century reveals that history does have a tendency to repeat itself.
Recording Studio: Drumkit – Advancement of Technology
Aided by the advancement of technology drum manufacturers in the 90’s have basically refined the greatest inventions of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s endeavouring to provide today’s elite with the best tools possible for perfecting their craft.
As we draw to the close of the 20th century and look to the new millennium, we can ask this question:
What is the “Modern Drumkit” and just how far can it be refined and improved?
The universally accepted “Modern Drumkit” of today only began to take shape around 1930.
As with so much of today’s technology the initial invention underwent several generations of improvement slowly refining and scaling down the technology to suit the convenience of a society under constant change.
This process of technical evolution was no more prevalent than in the early decades of the 20th century.
Recording Studio: Drumkit – the Late 1800s
In the late 1800’s it was commonplace to find several drummers in one band. Each drummer was assigned an instrument, snare drum, cymbals, a bass drum and took their place amongst relatively large bands of musicians. In the late 1890’s things began to change.
At the turn of the century most musicians were employed in the pit area of theatres performing forvaudille. As the pit became smaller so too did the band. No longer was it possible to have three drummers.
Necessity forced drummers to re-think their position, experimenting with the idea of playing more than one instrument at the same time.
In the late 1890’s the development of the bass drum pedal sparked a new generation of invention. Suddenly the bass drum pedal enabled one drummer to play two drums at once. Initial designs had no spring and required the drummer to control both the striking action and the recoil with an exhausting and restrictive heel toe motion. Adding to the awkward playing action was the fact that the most commonly used bass drum size of the era was 26 inches or larger further compounding the sluggish nature of the heel toe action.