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Percussion is the superior Musical section

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2015 Category: Music
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 625 times Debate No: 70002
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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1st round is acceptance only. I believe firmly that the percussion section is by far superior to any other section in a concert or marching band.


Um, I'm new to this so please forgive me if I fail to do something right. If I'm guessing right, the acceptance round is where i say i accept the argument....
I accept the debate. Although, percussion are significant, they are by far not the most superior section in marching or concert band.
Debate Round No. 1


A sincere Thank you to my opponent for accepting my debate. Do not worry about your lack of experience, as I am relatively new as well, though this is not my first debate.

In any sort of musical activity, including listening to music, the first thing anyone must attempt to hear is the pulse of the music. Without this pulse the song does not quite fit together correctly. The percussion section is at the heart of this pulse. What makes a percussionist unique from the other sections in a musical activity is the ability to generate pulse based off of separate rhythmical inputs from sections, conductors, and their own personal sense of time.

In a Marching band field show rehearsal, while learning drill (the movements around the field) the percussion section still plays. this is so the band as a whole can time their feet to the pulse being generated by the percussion section. The drum major (conductor) does not generate the time his/herself, but instead watches the feet of a specified percussionist whose sense of time is trusted enough to guide the entire band.

Furthermore, in a concert band setting, the ensemble relies less upon the percussion section for keeping time, but still listens back to them for a pulse.

Even in a rock concert, the drummer has an earpiece that conveys a metronome so he can keep appropriate time and pulse and lead the rest of the band.

I sincerely hope I can make this an exciting debate for both me and my opponent, and if my opponent should need any help in his endeavors in this debate or any other, do not hesitate to call on The Masked Gentleman.


It is true that percussion plays a vital role in keeping time. However, they are not the only people with the ability to keep time in an ensemble. An important skill every musician must have is internal pulse. Internal pulse is the ability to keep time steady using your own mind. Even without percussion, it is completely possible for musicians to still play at the right pulse because of their own internal pulse. Percussion can not possibly the most superior musical section because, it is entirely possible to keep time in an ensemble without them there thanks to the ability of internal pulse.
However, for argument's sake, let's just imagine that there was no such thing as internal pulse and every musician absolutely must have something to follow to be able keep time. What would they do? Is percussion the only way to keep time now?

Of course not. Because we still have our best friends the conductor. Conductors are the people who unify and keep the pulse of the band together. Percussion just help to enhance the directions of the conductors. You may have said that in your marching band, the drum majors rely on the feet of a percussionist to keep time time for the entire band. Honestly, I've never heard of that being a thing. It could be possibly true for in your band, but everywhere else? I don't think so. Our drum major has a personal metronome that he listens to right before he conducts the show. Every band director I've known in the past has also done the same. This is the absolute first time I've heard of that.
But regardless of what you said was true, I know for a fact that the drum majors do not rely solely around the percussion for time. I know this because in the ballad part in our marching show (where the drumline completely stops playing and hides behind the props), we are required to depend on our own counting abilities and the drum majors to keep time, not the percussion proving even further that we do not need percussion to keep time.
Debate Round No. 2


While most (but certainly not every) musicians have a sense of internal pulse, who is to tell that one person's internal pulse is the exact same as the person next to them? While I will happily admit your argument about internal pulse was a well thought out one, it has flaws, as every argument does. The entire premise of internal pulse is just that; internal. The percussion section of any ensemble generates an external pulse, synchronizing each individuals internal pulse, and should someone accidentally fall out of time, they have an immediate resource to get back on track without looking at the conductor for a few counts, which is especially helpful when they are marching difficult drill or facing backfield. But enough about keeping time, I believe we've both milked that argument dry.

As for your second argument, it seems completely focused on the fact that the method my band uses is not used wildly elsewhere. We do have a ballad in which we hide behind the prop (in this case being a large pirate ship) and the conductor is on her own, giving time to the band without the percussion section as a crutch. This portion of the show was always where we scored the lowest. Try listening to your favorite song without the drummer. Try listening to your band show without the percussion. The percussion section is what gives the band a sense of intensity, and conveys that to the audience. I do apologize if my former argument was rendered invalid because you have not seen it used.

Lastly, I thank you for debating this with me. I do hope that if you ever want someone to proofread or otherwise give feedback on your work, please do contact me. I look forward to your final argument and the possibility of future musical debates.


I wish I knew a way how to listen to all my favorite tunes without any percussion like you have suggested, I can't. However, I can imagine that like it would probably lack the intensity that the percussion section gives. But theoretically if we were to do that take every section out of the texture of a piece, wouldn't every song or piece we hear just sound bland in comparison? What would be a march without the trumpet? An orchestra without a violin? Every musical instrument serves a function and adds a different color of sound into an ensemble. To say that all instruments are created equal would be a lie, but to say that percussion is superior to all of these sections is a bit much.

Also, I'd like to point out that in classical music percussion was rarely used. The only percussion that was really used was the timpani (but even that was played continuously) and these pieces are regarded as masterpieces. Many orchestral pieces and even some band marches only use lower voices to give intensity to piece, (keep pulse) and an extra voice of color without using any percussion. By the way, Hey There Delilah, one of my favorite songs, is one of my favorite songs yet it lacks percussion.

This debate was really fun and I would like to thank you for making my first debate an enjoyable and delightful memory. You were absolutely an amazing person to debate and I think a future debate on music would be fun.

P.S. Despite all the things I said, percussion is one of my favorite sections :)
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by SwedishLinx 1 year ago
Myself, as a percussionist will side with my section. We do have all the rhythm and we are really the heart of the band. We also have to be very skilled with what we do. In marching band we have to march correctly while beating either the bass drum, snare drum or the tenors. We have to focus with our arms and legs, let alone carrying several pounds on our shoulders. (sorry sousaphone) We are awesome.
Posted by UnderdogRising 1 year ago
The premise is too subjective. It ends up being a circular debate on opinion.
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