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Exploring applications of multi-dexterity in drum kit performance
thesisposted on 2017-03-02, 01:45 authored by Cameron, Christopher Paul
The drum kit is one of only a few instruments that invites the use of all four of a performer’s limbs. Control and fluidity in performance requires substantial development of limb independence and interdependence as well as a certain level of dexterity with each limb. Exploring multi-dexterity is a logical and almost inevitable juncture in the ongoing development of drum kit performance. The pursuit of an even performance ability between the hands existed well before the turn of the twentieth century. Incorporation of a more balanced contribution from all four limbs arose in the mid-twentieth century as the drum kit developed into an instrument that demanded higher levels of dexterity with the feet to meet the requirements of a number of advancing musical styles. Ever since, drummers have constantly explored new ways to utilise all four limbs, essentially working towards the goal of achieving a more refined multi-dexterity. Through design, experimentation and observation of my performance, this artistic research investigates possibilities of an ‘even’ playing capacity with each limb and how this might further the ongoing development of the instrument. This has been tested by interchanging the traditional roles of each limb, as found in the jazz tradition, across all possible limb permutations. New or uncommon combinations of drum kit elements are also explored through an innovative and unique drum kit design. The results of this study demonstrate that multi-dexterous concepts can provide new possibilities for the performing drummer and that there is unexplored potential for use of four limbs in this context.