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Old 08-05-2003, 08:02 AM   #1
peter
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Linearity Versus Non-Linearity

Linearity: notes WITHOUT simultaneous accompaniment of others.

An example of this would be a cymbal crash, without kick.

Non-Linearity: notes WITH simultaneous accompaniment of others.

An example of this would be a cymbal crash, with kick.

Have you noticed how linear Virgil is? Actually, in the last 10-15 years, players have really moved into this direction. Virgil is way out there in the front of the movement, with guys like Weckl.

It's interesting because rock/metal have always been associated with very non-linear patterns. This is another way that Virgil is bending the universe. In jazz, it's more readily tolerated because "almost anything goes" but in rock/metal, it is not welcomed as easily. You can hear it in the music. Suddenly, a driving pattern turns into shattering of glass, which is then miraculously re-constructed before our very eyes.

I think it's great when linear players use linearity with regard to the non-linear structure. In other words, when good linear players play a pattern of "open" notes, they come out them, with non-linear, closed notes, like the ending of such phrase with one or a series of cymbals crashes, ending the little adventure.

Sometimes I'll hear a drummer "overbalance" one way or the other and it bothers me. Other drummers have differed.

Have you guys thought about this? What's your view?
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Old 08-05-2003, 09:24 AM   #2
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FINALLY!! A drum topic not about the feet or speed!!

Linear drumming is so impressive to me because of the ammount of control it requires. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is NOT hit something.
I've been tapping into this style of drumming recently more than ever. It's amazing what some guys can do.

I personally think that linear, even if you think you'll never use it, it is so great to have that kind of control over a kit, and that kind of cordination.
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Old 08-05-2003, 10:15 AM   #3
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I only recently realized just how linear
I play. Some one had to remind of it. At
the same time, I had to remind myself
that there is a resolution that linearity
needs in many cases and that balance
is the real tough part of the equation.
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Old 08-05-2003, 05:52 PM   #4
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Linear playing is fantastic but I agree it needs balance to it. When it is played in variation with other facets then it stands out more and makes a bigger statement, than it being thrown at you constantly. Virgil is stunning! to say the least but I like how he combines it(linear) with more 2 and 4 power playing than when he pulls it out it just hit's you more. Virgil has some of ther freshest linear ideas out there, it is what grabbed me with Vinnie and Dave years ago, but Virgil just has a greater command than even those guy's, so he is able to come up with some wilder stuff.

And I agree a very important topic not related to his feet! Virgil's phrasing needs to be talked about more thank's for getting the ball rolling. I guess we could spend month's talking about what this guy does, interdependence, fluidity, dexterity, the power, speed, creativity, consistency it goes on and on, which is good for us.

Regards Kirk
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Old 08-05-2003, 06:08 PM   #5
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Virgil's command of the bottom and this is taking the drumming world by fire, is, in my opinion, one of the great non-linear foundations for his linear applications up top. He really lets go BUT it differs from a Weckl (not to devalue Dave's work at all), for instance, in that there's just so much more being said down there and that "holds down" the house.

Dave's a marvelous drummer. There is no doubt that he is one of the most important drummers in the last 20 years. He has incredible command over the single-kick and is a huge inspiration to me and others (I have played single but will convert soon). He really helped to put linear on the map and deserves a lot of the credit for its literal explosion, right now. He's also got a signature and every drummer dreams of that - something to set them apart. He's in the books - no doubt.

At the same time, Virgil has wielded a steel frame around the linear house of cards and that's really what it is. Linear presentations are very delicate. Sometimes they sound like players are just throwing their sticks at the drums. You have to get used to it, actually. If I listen to just pockets of Virgil, I could find myself trying to walk on water and drowning. It's not until the thunder down under grabs a hold of me and takes me to shore, that I'm feeling OK about what's just transpired. He is re-defining the way linear is to be played.

You are so right, Kirk. His monster 2 and 4 is SO DEAFENING that he can almost do anything and it would be permissable! I heard someone say to me that Virgil has no groove. There's nothing further from the truth but rather than arguing the point and with a proficient drummer, mind you, I chalked it up to bad ears and something more - disbelief.

You know, there's a shock-value to Virgil that we should not overlook and I think Virgil realizes this. He is going to come further down to earth in his future clinics and presentations because he realizes that his alien presence here is just too much for most of us. Most of us hear him and say THERE IS NO WAY. He knows that this idea defeats the whole purpose. That's why he is going to continue to encourage us to BE LIKE VIRGIL.

For those familiar with the film, it wasn't V-GER and it wasn't VOYAGER that Kirk found. It was VIRGIL!
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Last edited by peter : 08-05-2003 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 08-05-2003, 06:34 PM   #6
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Peter that guy's statement brings up much emotion,People use the "GROOVE" word as an excuse at times, not all the time but at times as nothing more than an instant save face excuse because they just had their be-hind kicked! by someone.

My teacher told me years ago that groove was not about simple or complex but about application for what the theme was. Was Vinny grooving with Zappa when at the time he was playing some of the most over the top insane stuff on the planet, sure he was because it fit, it worked, that is what mattered and also that he was able to pull it off with fluidity and consistency and control.
It had nothing to do with simple or complex, can you imagine Vinny playing 2 and 4 and holding back instead of what he played I do not think so. Same with Virgil what he plays works and fit's what is going on around him, it groove's. How many times have I heard someone say oh but can he play pop-rock, well let me think YEAH!!!! why wouldn't he be able to play it when he does what he does. I do think he can handle the requirements

Groove is IMO about application and control over what you do not
2 and 4 or anything simple, man some of the most simple stuff I have ever heard played is nothing but CRAP. Some of the most comples stuff played is CRAP. again application(taste) and control
(feel) and I do think Virgil has this, let me think about it Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! yeah he does

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Old 08-05-2003, 06:48 PM   #7
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I know what you mean, Kirk. You want to say, "Duh..." but we might as well be casting pearls to... Best not to say that. Let me put it this way, how can you expect a man, who's lived in a cave all his life, chained face to the wall, looking at the outside world via the shadows on the wall, to walk out into that radiant world? The sad truth is that what is safe is what's held onto.

Virgil isn't safe.

Something else, if I might:

I have had discussions with MANY players about what the heck groove is. I think I know what it is and where it's found. It's not just in the pulse but the accent of the pulse.

Gadd grooves. Vinnie grooves. Virgil grooves.

These guys are about MAMMOTH quarter notes! Even in their eigth-note pulses, you can hear the sledge hammer coming down and Virgil is no different, excepting that he carries the biggest stick - a pile-driver!

Pete to Kirk: Yes, sir!
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Old 08-07-2003, 04:06 PM   #8
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Anyone who says that Virgil can't groove either hasn't heard him, is jealous, or is just trying to find an excuse not to like his playing .
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Old 08-08-2003, 10:07 AM   #9
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You can groove in so many ways...sometimes freejazz stuff grooves for instance and so on.
Those who say that Virgil doesn´t groove etc, maybe compares him to Jeff Porcaro or Bernard Purdie. But they are totally different players man...what it´s all about I think is your personall taste...I guess that freeform jazz trumpeters doesn´t dig Virgils playing at all, but that doesn´t give anyone the right to say that Virgil (or anyone that DOES groove) doesn´t groove!!!
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Old 08-08-2003, 11:12 AM   #10
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Oh I got some advance lessons of this linear stuff through David Garibaldi's book...darn! can't remember the title but there are certain beats that uses such things and the demo he played sounded so groovy inspite it's technical sense if deciphered each note and how they interlay thus foriming a beat. I tried to learn some but i couldn't get a comfortable feel, damn.

How about permutations?
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Old 08-19-2003, 10:58 AM   #11
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One of the ways of bringing foundation
to linear is incorporating the kick in the
pattern. The lower frequency helps solidify
the sequence. This is one of the reasons
Virgil's patterns are so permissable.
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Old 08-21-2003, 05:02 AM   #12
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do you have some transcriptions or basic audio demos of this stuff?
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Old 08-21-2003, 06:09 AM   #13
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In a word - Virgil! Another great example is
Dave Weckl. Remember, it's the idea that
no two things are hit at the same time.

When you listen to these guys, listen for
fills that sound a little open, as in crashes,
without kicks etc.

This is an example:

www.thediametrixletter.com/linear1.mp3

You'll hear only one note at a time in this.
Remember, "linear" is as simple as hitting
the cymbal, without the kick.
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Old 08-26-2003, 08:19 AM   #14
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I think the best use of linear drumming is by using it to supplement non-linear playing. A nice mixture is ideal.
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Old 08-26-2003, 10:30 AM   #15
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Agreed.
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