Popular Drumming Terms Glossary Used In Modern Pop Music

Ok, so here is a breakdown of drum terms used in the industry. Some of these you may have heard of, some maybe not. But this gives you a better understanding of what I may be communicating in a module, or even how to communicate in a musical setting on your drum set with your band. I Would love to hear any others you may have.


Measure: a standard unit of size or amount. A bar of music. (There are 4 beats per measure in most pop and rock songs.)

Metronome: a device used to indicate an exact tempo at any speed. (You need to practice with a metronome.)

Click: (a.k.a. click track) metronomic track used for live performance and recording to maintain steady tempo. Similar to a metronome. (Do you need some more click in your mix?)

Loop: a rhythmic/musical fragment that repeats (loops) in order to provide a feel, vibe, momentum.

Dynamics: the varying levels of volume in music. (You need to utilize more dynamics in your playing to give it some direction.)

Rudiments: basic, standard patterns/stickings used in drumming. (i.e. rolls, flams, paradiddles)

Time Signature: the time (or meter) of a piece of music, indicated by 2 numbers, one above the other, at the beginning of a piece of music. (Most Pop/Roc tunes are in 4/4. That means there are 4 beats per measure. That’s all you need to know right now!)

Subdivision: secondary division of a rhythm. (You can subdivide quarter notes into 8th notes in order to feel the space between the notes more accurately.)

Quarter Note(s): note value equaling a quarter of a whole note. (Most pop and rock music uses the quarter note as the basic pulse or beat of the song.)

Eighth Note(s): note value equaling 1/8 of a whole note. (8th notes are twice as fast as quarter notes and there are twice as many per measure.)

Whole Note(s): note having the value of 4 beats. It’s the longest note in common use. Often referred to as a diamond (or football) in popular music. (A whole note takes up an entire measure in 4/4 time. This isn’t very important right now)

Accent(s): the emphasis of a particular note/beat; usually played louder than the surrounding notes.

They are sure to improve your communication skills in any musical environment.

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