marching tenors playing area


My cousin is in high school, plays on the drumline. He’s pretty good, considering he took drum set lessons since he was 8 and matched it with his natural talent. Granted, tennis is more his bag, but he likes marching band, so how bad can it all be? Anyway, he just started on the tenor line, so I thought I’d dig around and find some information on how to play it.

The big thing I’d always heard was that you want to reduce the amount of movement you make between drums. Bill Bachman over at Vic Firth mentions an X and Y axis across the drum. Essentially, if you focus on separating the up-down motion of the actual stroke, and the side-to-side motion of moving around the drums, you can remove a lot of the nasty sounds made from hitting rims.

My cousin and I discussed this for a bit, and he mentioned to me that he was told to hit the “gauk” drums right in the center, where it produces the most resonance and volume. On the main drums, you hit it close to the rims where it can produce the best pitch with overtones. The center of the drum can be dead, but I’ve seen times when it was beneficial to use the dead sounds to your advantage. I might dig something up on that too.


One Response to “marching tenors playing area”

  1. Yes, that’s right–play the gak in the center and the other four near the edge like timpani (if much harder!) Your lowest drum will play slightly farther in millimeters from the rim than the highest, but the same distance from the rim as a percentage. But the main reason to play the gak in the center is because it’s so small, there is no other place. That’s why a lot of big corps have moved from five drums to six: the part is still written for quints, but you have one gak for the left hand and one for the right.

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