Thursday, August 20, 2020

Three little-known books

For a long time Steve Weiss Music has been my go-to site for unusual and hard to find drum books. Their warehouse must be full of stuff that never quite caught on, that has been sitting around for a few decades waiting for someone to be interested. I just made a little order and got these three books:

Accent Studies for Percussion by Rick Kvistad
A nice focused little book of studies in accented 8th notes in all meters from 2/8 to 9/8, and 12/8. With robust sections in 5/8 and 7/8. Includes one-measure exercises, and full page etudes. I like that all of studies are in 8th notes, and that he generally doesn't get too cute with it. More and more I feel 8th notes really are the common language of drumming, and accents on an even rhythm a major area of our vocabulary, not just on snare drum— it has has been the major way my students get into my harmonic coordination method, for example. 

You could cover most of what is in this book with parts of several books, but it's nice to have it all in one place. And I like the etudes. It's a good thing to have in your practice room. We played several of Kvistad's compositions in percussion ensemble in college, and it's nice having his name represented in my practice library. 

39 pages. 

Theory Manual of Musical Snare Drumming - vol. 1 by D'Artagnan Liagre
First of three volumes of an interesting-looking series of snare drum method books by a French writer— published by the Professional Drum Shop in Los Angeles, curiously. This volume covers beginning to approximately intermediate level, and also introduces music theory terms— not only those normally associated with percussion. Each part of the book ends with a duet with snare drum and a melodic instrument.

It's sort of a curiosity. I don't know who the intended audience is. It has a sort of pre-college or remedial college vibe about it— I can imagine it being used with freshmen percussionists to bring them up to speed.

The engraving is beautiful; obviously they got a top-level LA copyist to write it out. Text is in English and French. I might buy the complete series just to learn my French percussion terms. 

42 pages. 

Fundamental Instruction for the Junior Drummer by Charley Wilcoxon
I'm always on the lookout for good beginning snare drum books— right now my favorite is Elementary Snare Drum Studies by Mitchell Peters. I've seen this one around for years, and finally decided to check it out. It's quite a simplified version of Wilcoxon's Drum Method. It has the same problem as that book, only more so— it is heavily marked up with visually distracting little instructions. He'll write an accent, plus LOUD (or HIGH), every time it happens. A decent page of 3/4 rhythms includes some ties, and on every tie he also writes TIE and THIS NOTE IS NOT STRUCK with an arrow. Together with the stickings, the counts, the names of any rudiments, and other notes indicating things like 8TH REST, and markings indicating that the quarter note does indeed include the 1 and the &— it's quite an eyeful. You can often sense a writer's fear that the audience won't get it; here that manifests in some very cluttered pages. 

As with Drum Method, it takes a few minutes to realize oh, this is meant to be a drum set book! As the drums were played in the 1930s. It's interesting from a historical perspective, but it's quite useless for modern students. There are a few good pages but no one will want to work through this as intended by the author.  

This is a Ludwig Masters edition, edited by Robert L Matson. 52 pages. 

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