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How To Play Drums & Traps

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The drum that most people want to learn to play is the snare
drum, and this section is concerned almost entirely with it.
Many snare drummers who play with orchestras also have to
play various other noise-making contraptions called traps, so a
word or two is said about them also.

The Bass Drum

Ability to keep exact time is one of the greatest assets of the
good bass drummer. His instrument is so loud and important in
a band or orchestra that he must be letter-perfect in keeping
the beat He is helped in this, of course, by the band or orches-
tra leader, whose function is to keep everybody right on the
dot. A good drummer should learn his music so well that he
can keep his eyes constantly on the director.

Producing a good tone of the proper volume (loudness or
softness) is also highly important. The tone is governed to
some extent by the type of beater used. When playing in
parades a felt beater is generally used, but for concerts the
beater is made of soft lamb's wool.

You do not bang the bass drum squarely in the middle,
bringing the beater against it at a right angle, as is commonly
supposed. Instead, you strike the drum with a glancing up and
down stroke, hitting it about half-way between the center and
the upper hoop. This secret of bass drum playing, which has
much to do with good tone, is not widely known outside of the
drum-playing fraternity. (Fig. 110.)

Loudness and softness are controlled chiefly by the force
with which you strike. A good drummer always is keenly aware
of the volume of the other instruments and keeps his own vol-
ume in harmony with theirs.

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