JK Drum Solutions: Drum Set Instruction, Transcriptions and Educational Podcasts
Drum Set Education Resources

Drum Transcriptions vs. Charts vs. Arrangements

   Transcriptions are full-detail usually meant for study. If you determine you need less detail than is provided, it is great skill to know how to detract accordingly to your needs or tastes. Consequently this process will also teach you about notation writing and reading. It is very important to be able to look at a ton of detail and see broader, repetitive patterns.

   Charts can be either generalized or slightly detailed depending on the author and are certainly going to lean towards the general with less fluxuation in favor of "the least you need to know". You will also see an equal focus on song form. Section headings, rhythm references for ensemble accents, stops, intros & outros with much less concern for things like tom orchestration or exact ghost notes. Important fills may be written out. Charts are good for both study as well as professionals who need to clarify - "How does that end solo of 'Rock & Roll' go?", "What's that intro for 'American Band'?" or "What are the hits in the guitar solo for 'You Shook Me'?"

   Arrangements are pretty much just a rundown of the song sections with some notation on the side for hits or when to fill, stop or a band "hit". Very little if any about the drum part. You really should know how to feel your way through 4-,8- or 16-bars without too much trouble as well as anticipate minor chages in the number of beats: for example, in 'Sweet Emotion' the Pre-choruses alternate between 4- and 8-measures each time; there's an extra two beats in the end of the last verse in 'Are You Gonna Go My Way'.  This is pretty much the fare of performing professionals.

   Truthfully there are overlaps and variations of each type of the above. It's much less about perfection or adherance to rules as much as having a practical understanding of which method is best for you and if it works.

   Perhaps you were looking more for info on getting started writing the types of charts you need, how to streamline the ones you already write or how to ideas on how to approaching practicing with them? Cool! Check this out!

   Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms? I'm open to read your thoughts!