Kenneth McDonald, The final frontier. Time and space: a drummer's perspective (Other, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2012)

These details defined Wed Jan 7 11:20:14 2015  edit
 Author:  McDonald, Kenneth 
 Title:  The final frontier. Time and space: a drummer's perspective 
 Degree, institution:  Other, Dublin Institute of Technology 
 Status, year:  accepted, 2012 (September 2012) 
 Volumes, pp.:  1 (55pp) + 2 CDs 
 Supervisor(s):  Dr Philip Graydon 
 Repository:  DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library 
 General specialism:  Musicology: Performance Studies 
 Content, key terms: 

'Less is more', is a phrase from the 1855 poem "Andrea Del Sarto" (Called 'The Faintless Painter')" by Robert Browning:

Who strive - you don't know how the others strive

To paint a little thing like that you smeared

Carlessly passed with your robes afloat, -

Yet do much less, so much less, someone says,

(I know his name, no matter) - so much less!

Well, less is more, Lucrezia

It is also the term that the present author uses to describe the following concept: That which is not played is as important as which is played. In other words, the silence or 'space' between the notes is as important as the notes themselves. The author acknowledges that - sometimes - 'more' works, too. However, the main focus of this dissertation rests on the 'less is more' philosophy. Using silence as a photographer or painter would use negative space give added definition and depth to drum patterns. Silences can be both a rhythmic complement to solos and independent melodic phrases in themselves. Analyses and transcriptions of 'grooves' by key players Paul Motion, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Jimmy Cobb, Elvin Jones and PEter Erskine are used to provide the link. Interviews by the author with John Riley, Rufus Reid and John Goldby further support the central thesis.

The author's MMus research in this area suggests that leaving space is integral in a group context, thus allowing the texture and groove to 'breathe'. Further conclusions are that the "less is more" philosophy can be applied to (and are equally at home in) mainstreem and 'free' jazz drumming.