In the early 1900s, a young man named William Ludwig Jr. wanted to be a drummer in a band. However, he was not accepted into any bands because he did not have a drum set of his own. With dreams still burning in his heart, he invented the first drum set and then became an official member of one of the most famous jazz bands who helped spread jazz all over America called The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB). He played drums for this band until 1929, when he died due to complications with diabetes at age 45. His legacy lives on through generations of musicians everywhere who play what is known as “The King Of Instruments.”
“William Ludwig Jr.”
It’s often written that Charles (“Buddy”) Rich invented the modern drum set. However, while Rich did pioneer many essential techniques and concepts through his work in jazz, he did not develop the drum set. Instead, it is believed that this honor should go to Max Roach, who adopted Ludwig-style timpani (since they were readily available), coopered wood cymbals, and experimented with combining drum timbres. He also invented cowbells to anchor rhythms on early bebop recordings with Dizzy Gillespie in 1947, whereas Buddy Rich was using suspended cymbals for the same purpose during radio broadcasts in 1946.
William Ludwig was a percussionist who came from Vienna, Austria. He worked as a drummer in Broadway theatre, then as a composer and arranger for many famous bands, including The Dorsey Brothers, Jan Savitts’ Orquesta Saphir, and Ted Weems.
Late in his life, he taught drums at Juilliard School of Music, where one of his students years before was John Bonham. Mr. John Bonham (drummer) also died too soon, but fortunately not before providing us with the immortal “moves” showcased on Led Zeppelin Classics like Black Dog or When The Levee Breaks).
The modern band was derived from a marching band in New Orleans. These “parades” were led by a trumpet and drum, with the rest of the musicians seen in loincloths and suspenders. This group marched too quickly for dancing, but it did allow interaction between musicians and observers which made this new jazz form spread far and wide.
Parades were an essential part of life in New Orleans, but they were new to most people making their way into town searching for work where music provided the comfort of familiarity. They became such a spectacle that spectators would throng on both sides of these processions of upturned faces, fascinated by the sheer audacity and flashiness displayed so unapologetically before them.
In the 1960s, an American drummer named Gene Krupa was one of the significant drummers credited with popularizing drum sets by using a more powerful bass drum for greater emphasis. In addition, he also built on Roy Haynes’s observation that most listeners were used to hearing cymbals played along with drums, so they wouldn’t notice if their sound were technical perfection. He felt this was why Parker and Gillespie had gotten away with moving one of their rhythm timing instruments from the hi-hat to a ride, meaning they could play two simultaneously per hand.
Also, the 1960s started with the invention of technology that made amplified drums possible. The problem was that the new drum sets were heavy and difficult to transport. So to use these new sets, people put them on stage and played there instead of at home as they had before. It’s an expensive investment for a band, but since it only sounded good on one song during the show, it didn’t drive up their fees all that much.
The ’60s also gave birth to one of the most recognizable drums sounds in modern music, with the soulful playing of bands like James Brown. The iconic sound was created with a bass drum, metal cowbell, go-go bells, woodblocks, cowbells, and snares tuned high for maximum resonance.
The link between drums and musical rhythm is so strong that drums are often the instrument of choice for conveying the beat. 1909 was the year Karl A. Lohmann patented “chemically very satisfactory non-proprietary putty rubber.” Putty rubber provided a certain amount of elasticity that allowed drumheads to be custom fitted.
This was not just an event about drums. Still, it meant an increase in efficiency for all instruments which needed stringed attachments like harps, guitars, or violins because the strings could now be attached using gut (which also stretches itself) rather than by nails hammered onto the hardwood. Nowadays, metal clips are used on most instruments).
The invention of the drum set was not very common before the turn of the 20th century. It wasn’t until after World War II that inexpensively manufactured drums began to be available and widespread enough for anyone who wanted them to obtain their percussion instrument.
As musical styles became more complex with extensive poly-rhythms, technology allowed drummers to adapt their techniques to keep pace with these increasingly complicated compositions. The development fostered by jazz musicians for acoustic drumming gave rise to innovations like playing on multiple drums simultaneously, “air drumming” or using brushes on cymbals (with or without a control device), and electronic kits incorporating analog synthesizers’ sounds with an acoustic kit.
In the 20th century, the drum set became a far more versatile instrument. Mixolydian and Dorian modes were often found on drum kits from this period.
In addition to the traditional four pieces—bass, snare & two tom-toms—modern drum sets can have a wide variety of exotic cymbals, bass drums, and pitched percussion devices such as chimes or bells. Since modern hand drumming has been incorporated into diverse styles of music from jazz to fast-paced rock offerings, these instruments are widely used today in today’s contemporary artists’ setup.
Drumming is one of the oldest forms of musical expression. It has been found in cultures throughout history and worldwide, from Africa to Central America to Asia. No one invented the first drums, but many believe African tribesmen created them sometime before 500 AD or 1000 BC! What we do know for sure is that people have loved music since it was discovered, so chances are there’s a drummer somewhere inventing something new right now! We invite you to comment below with your favorite moment in music history.