The Quarter Note Machine

I was watching videos of one of the greatest drummers of all time: Buddy Rich, and I read a comment that struck me as odd.

(Yes, I do believe that Youtube’s comments are among the lowest forms of intelligence to be found on this planet.)

The comment is:

“{Famous Current Drummer} sucks, he’s just a quarter note machine.”

Quarter and eighth notes are the staple of rock music and most of its sub-genres, and obviously there are and have been a countless number of rock drummers out there playing quarter notes.

As it is, however, there are few drummers throughout history that are known for or are remembered for laying down interesting quarter notes. There are few drummers that become legendary, period.

I suppose quarter notes are just too simple. You learn the simple things well enough and you move on.

But that’s simply not true. When I sit down to play, I don’t think to just play a simple swing and keep it so perfectly in time. At the heart of playing though, if you can’t keep perfect time, everything falls apart from there. I’ve been trying to just play simple lately, and do so perfectly. It turns out, for me at least, perfectly simple is rather difficult.

The fact is, more people should be focusing on being a “quarter note machine”, instead of trying to compensate for that lack of ability in other, more complicated ways.

So, in software development, what exactly is our quarter note?

People. People are the start and end of every software project. Fail people in any of the code we write and what is in between really doesn’t matter, does it?

Gathering requirements, solving problems both simple and hard are such an important part of software development. Let’s treat it as such.

Because you just never know who might show up when you’re selling a crappy drum set.