semiotic drum diagram

First semiotic diagram of drums

It took me a while to be able to get to this point for more thoughts from everyone here, but I wanted to show my (most likely awry and probably will get trolled for yet another long post) attempts at trying to create a semiotic diagram of the interactions I will be looking at in the final paper: the drum peripherals for Rock Band and Guitar Hero. While doing this, it was pretty exciting what I ended up finding out there, and I hope you enjoy the brain dump:

(I also left some areas here with parentheses to try to get help with what I am not sure about)


other artifacts in this arena:
ion drumset (alesis – makers of pro music equipment) – 2nd from the bottom left
logitech drumset (adjustable and quiet) – 2nd down from top left
ultimate view (hacker made) – 2nd left from bottom right
zen drums (many different small drums) – pros use – 2nd down from top right
taiko drums (japanese, but still a drum controller) – top left corner
dk bongos (for children) – 2nd up from bottom left
gh5 controller – bottom left corner
korg (the stick) – upper right hand corner
rock revolution – 2nd right from upper left corner
band hero – 3rd right from bottom left corner
silent drum controller – bottom right corner
roland handsonic – to the right of rock revolution
kat percussion – to the right of roland

implied speakers
the homemade ones speak more from hackers and DIY-ers perspective
the game controllers speak from a software/engineering standpoint
the pro ones speak from musicians and sound engineers

implied “player”
the homemade ones speak to those who are crafty and want control over the music they want to make, but still want to play games
the game controllers speak to a generic gamer who wants to enjoy music games, regardless of skill
the pro ones speak of professional musicians whose job it is to use these tools to play music to make money

implied cultural references
the homemade ones not only have the cultural reference of the pots and pans, but there’s also the strong nerd/tinkerer connotation
the games ones have the animal! connotation to them – just hack away at them and that’s how you define fun – the also amateurish feel to them as well from marching band
the pro ones speak to the refined musician and rocker inside of them, but have a strong pragmatic twist to them – it’s a simplified tool to make music and fun

the homemadeones are made out of “nonstandard” drum equipment – electrical equipment and sensors
the game ones are made out of plastic and practice drum heads, and foam – it literally sounds like one is practicing playing the drums
the pro ones are made out of metal and actual practice equipment, combined with a sound board type feel (remediation of professional equipment)

the homemadeones directly reflect the amount of love put into the music and the effort needed to make the drums work with the games and software – also shows their love of the game and also the showoffiness of their efforts – these are literally just controllers they have made to interface with the game, not directly sanctioned by the makers of the games, but they put it on youtube, which popularizes the games and efforts even more – may or may not connotate a level of musicianship
the game ones are tools literally to interface with the code of the games and the hardware of the video game systems – also can be used between games and show as tools online as to how to play the games – also are a status symbol of one’s acheivements in the games – for example the ions mean that you have the money for tools for gaming (it’s 250-300 bucks) and are super responsive – also reminiscent of the cobalt flux DDR arcade pads – better players play with the best equipment – so it’s almost kinda like a sport equipment piece, and the default equipment can’t get you to the upper echelons of play – reflect the whole gamut of musicianship from complete amateur to knowedlgeable pros
the pro ones directly not only reflect the amount of money and professional sounds that come through them, along with the ability to fine tune the sound to their desirable levels – the other pieces of equipment don’t get you that (except the silent drum, but even that not to an extent) – the pros don’t have the direct literal form of a drum set, which is interesting, because they are more computerish tools to craft sound, rather than to literally sit down on a throne, pick up sticks, and then start jamming – this type of jamming is professional, meant for money, as these tools will help you to get the money and respect from the music community, not the gaming community, as the other tools will get you

other form connotations
the homemade ones can take any form they want and encourage any type of play – aux perc, regular drumming, or any other type of percussive happenings – it’s sort of like the homemade ones are meant to be played only by the individual who made them – very restrictive and intuitive to one person, and may require extensive learning for those who didn’t make the original instrument (or is it?) – as far as the game concerned, it is an instrument – connotative of many of the other homebrewed instruments out there for youtube – can be combined with the games on the computer or the actual game console
the pro ones discard the traditional form of drum set – they abandon this in favor of an extension of the computer as a wave generating machine – or they utilize the “one drum” practice pad approach that one can use normal sticks on but manipulate it in the sound board way – these also connotate a professional level of play – very tight, staccato sounds that come from the drum material itself, regardless of what sound is programmed to come out of the darn thing – the level of metal and foam on them make it less likely for amateur banging on them to happen, as the toughness and the money reinforce the professional nature of these things

types of sticks involved
(i prefer 5A sticks, which are a little thinner, but i find they are pretty speedy)
homemade – any type of sticks or hands, as they are just “generically” used to hit the darn things and not have any other meaning attached to them (would have to ask people)
game ones – they come with their own sticks ( i play with my own sticks instead ), officially licensed as well, but feel too “woody” and not like a real pair of sticks that i have used and become used to hearing how they play – have to learn how to play with another particular set of sticks – just get the sound of the stick and the equipment
the pros – they are meant to be used not only with your sticks, but they are meant to also be played with your hands while playing to dynamically change and fine tune the sound, unless it is rigged to other technologies to help the musician dynamically change the music – or maybe even no sticks at all

so overall, i think this has helped me to see these as not only status symbols, but as tools that define what fun can come from drumming, along what type of sound “should” be made by drums

i guess then my language exposed is not only the intent behind the creation of these status symbols, but how they are used to satisfy the inner drummer within each of us

it also seems to me that there’s a “be all you can be” different kind of drummer evoked by each of these equipment – be the best modder and youtube star with the homemade equipment – be the best virtual drummer with the best drumming equipment for your friends online and also in the youtubes – be the best techno/pro drummer (without a “real” drum set) with the professional synthesis equipment

(may need help here) success, fame, “good” music

the different “companies” which manufacture the equipment (the actual modder from homemade, a gaming/software company (e.g. red octane or logitech), and the professional music companies that create the professional ones)

the “drummer” (i guess the dormant version that is within all of us)

sendee (receiver)
the actual performer (modder from homemade, video game player from gaming ones, and renowned conoisseur percussionist from pros)