I’m looking for a word. A word for a “percussion composition”. If it were a break in the middle of a song with other instruments, you might call it a “drum solo,” but it’s a stand-alone composition. And the word “composition” is too formal for the context I’m writing in. I need a *hip*, general word for “drum composition.”

29 thoughts on “Halp!

  1. Part of the reason you think of a drum solo as something short in the middle of something else is that a longer stand alone-drum compositions would easily get tiresome perhaps even annoying. The drum solo pretty much went out with Gene Krupa decades ago. Jazz pieces are generally played as a series of ‘breaks’ one from each instrument with a beginning and ending they play together. But I don’t know if the word break is used with drum parts. So if you want something vibrant and more contemporary you might try inventing a word! ‘Drum soliloquy’ or some such nonsense. Or just talk around it, “It was like a drum solo, but more…” or whatever.

  2. Maybe something like a rhythm piece or its just “the beats.”
    My BIL is in a program for sound engineering, and many of the guys are into hip-hop. One of the students actually said “I just come here for the beats.”
    hope that helps.

  3. Drum solos are alive and well in rock music.
    RUSH’s Neil Peart does amazing 10 minute plus drum spectaculars. I have yet to be at a rock concert where there wasn’t a drum solo. There are many drummers, Tommy Lee from Motley Crue, Jason Bonham of Foreigner, Alex Van Halen (who is as talented as his brother), Rick Allen of Def Leppard manages the most amazing things with just one arm, just to think of a few. Drum solos allow the other members of the band a chance to rest.
    If you haven’t seen Neil Peart, I highly recommend it. He is amazing. Drums are more than rhythm for him. All of the member of RUSH are incredible musicians, but what Neil can do with drums is truly amazing.

  4. Well, I tried to use the Flip Dictionary to solve this one, and yet again, the thing has failed me. *glares at it* “For when you know what you want to say, but can’t think of the word.” Yeah, right. More like, for when you know what you want to say, and have days to kill browsing this giant randomly ordered dictionary.

  5. “Riff” also implies to me a drum composition that’s part of a larger composition, rather than a stand-alone piece. You know, we used to have a drum core in high school that would play pieces that had nothing to do with a larger band piece. And there are drum cores that just go out and perform as groups that aren’t part of larger bands. There’s gotta be a word for their “songs.”

  6. Hey. sent me this direction. I can give you some general info, but if you give me more information, I can probably help you more. First of all, are we talking about multiple performers? If so, I would just call this a percussion ensemble piece or arrangement. If it’s a solo piece, I would just call it a solo – the term would be correctly used as long as there is one performer or one performer with an accompanist.
    Main difference: This is a percussion ensemble piece; this is a solo; or you can call the piece by its proper name depending on how many people it’s written for (“quartet” for 4, “quintet” for 5, “trio” for 3, “duet” for 2, and probably “ensemble” for anything more than 5).
    Does this help any?

  7. Oh, and if we’re talking a break in the middle of a song, I’d probably just call it a “drum solo,” or more street-slang-wise, a “drum break.”
    It really depends on what genre you’re looking at. “Drum solo” or “drum break” work for rock concerts and marching band/drum and bugle corps settings, whereas the ensemble bits work more for a formal environment (like for classical-type environments or indoor drum competitions).

  8. I just want to describe what is playing in the background of a fight scene. It’s all about the fight scene, and half a sentence or less on the background “music”. So the wording has to be brief, descriptive, and help the reader *hear* the drums. They won’t be able to tell if it’s one player or more, although I imagine it kind of a high-energy, complex percussion piece.

  9. If it’s just a brief description you’re looking for why not just pick a word like “pounding,” “driving,” “throbbing” – or something possibly less porny and throw it in front of either “beats,” “bass,” “percussion,” or “drums”? If you’re picturing it as something like the cast of Stomp getting busy on a hot tin roof why not say just that? Or Kodo drummers on speed… or a drum machine that’s dropped acid. Have some free-associative fun.

  10. How about “drum trip”?
    ( Not my invention– Actually the lead-in song to Rusted Root’s album “Cruel Sun”, a very dynamic percussion track followed with a perfect segue into the next track, “Ecstacy” )

  11. “Stomp” does come to mind. But I keep wanting to put a concrete noun in that free-associative description, the name for what it is I’m describing.

  12. We saw RUSH this summer and Peart was as usual amazing. I was disappointed in YouTube. I wanted something from R30 or RUSH in Rio, but this was the best I could find.

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