There are many different ways of learning drums. Some people use personal notes, some go-to books, and others go to school for it.
But when it comes to perfecting the drum skill, nothing makes more sense than playing along with your favorite song on a drum.
Everyone learns at a different pace. You need to determine at which pace you can learn comfortably.
The best way is probably to use easy songs.
However, as Maegan W states, “Sometimes, however, you want to challenge yourself and see what you can do. Take a break from normal top drum practice routine and try your and on more challenging songs.”
And if you are up to the task, this drum guide is for you. I will be talking about top songs to play on drums in general, with a focus on the hardest ones.
What are the hardest songs to play on drums in 2021?
I have been playing top drums for a very long time, and I know what it takes to be a top drummer. You need to be innovative.
And you cannot do this if you are not willing to go on top. By attempting to play some of the hardest songs to play on drums around, you get to know your limits and what you can do to improve.
The hardest songs to play in this list are characterized by:
Specific dynamic control and execution
In these pieces, each drum level of every note is intentional. And it is aimed at complementing the whole drum music to play. This is not something you say about the other easy pieces, which are played anyhow.
The drum songs contain some unique and challenging grooves and fill you will ever meet. You may think they are simple at first to play, but the more you try to play them, the more you will learn their difficulty. Even on sheet music, you will notice they are extremely technical to play.
It is mostly the speed that determines the difficulty level of drum songs to play. The songs in this list are played at high velocity for the amount of note present.
A song that one can play in a single rhythm in its entirety is not hard. But those that contain polyrhythms are something else to play. They may also have the simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms to play on drums.
The time signature is another aspect to play on drums music, a drummer has to master. Their main role is to keep time, more than making the music lively.
Some of the hard songs come with odd time or odd meter. If the music is not in 4/4 time, it is at an odd time. Hard songs usually incorporate several time signatures within one song.
Having said that, here are some of the hardest songs ever:
1. Dance of Eternity
Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater is one of the trickiest songs that have ever come across. The Dream Theater is a sonic marvel of this progressive metal genre that offers a big task for drummers.
The tricky part comes with the use of many different time signatures. Mike Portnoy and co do follow the standard 4/4-time signature.
The song is not made of high speed or massive grooves and fill, but its complexity is hidden in the time signature.
At first, it seems easy and manageable. But as the song progresses, you notice the fluid motion and time signatures that change without any obvious repetition.
2. Meshuggah’s Bleed
This could easily be the number one hard song on this list. It features polyrhythms on the hat; the bass drum features cross-rhythms, triplets, and other complex moves, all in varying time signatures.
Some drummers say you are not human if you can play through the seven minutes of this song. It is hard to even get a good blueprint.
The bass tune is overly complicated. It is crazy how the band does hard models live.
3. Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick
The studio version of Moby Dick is a bit light. But I am not talking about Moby dick. I am referring to the live version recorded at Royal Albert Hall, 1970.
This song can easily be the number one hardest song too. It features complex time signatures, fast triplets, bongo style playing, and other hard fills, each of them hits as hard as possible. The studio version may be at number seven or anywhere else under this one.
4. La Villa Strangiato by Rush
In my opinion, a song is as good as the La villa strangiato rush, and the drum sounds are as complicated as the drummer. And in this case, this song tells it all.
I would have put it at number one, but I am following what many experts are saying. The song features some of the most challenging aspects.
The song has a ton of various parts to learn, but its speed, precision, and technicality are all on another level.
5. Ticks and Leeches by Tool
Tool’s drummer Danny Carrey uses some of the most technical approaches to this piece. He makes it extremely challenging for any drummer.
First, the song is played mostly at 7/4 meter at fast speeds on the 16th note. It can easily drive aspiring drummers crazy.
It begins low on famous drums with a gradual build to lightning speeds.
And then comes the polyrhythms and syncopated patterns between hard and footwork. You will need the highest level of skills and endurance to even attempt it.
6. Goliath by Mars Volta
This could be the loudest and hardest famous drumming tunes you may have ever heard. It features heavy and hard-hitting drum patterns. The double bass beats are almost violent, keeping hard on your toes throughout. The multiple grooves with varied time changes are really hard.
7. Sedation Deprivation by Nerve
This song has all the elements that make a song hard. It is defined with technical grooves, fill, glaring speed, intense polyrhythm, crazy dynamic controls, and many breakbeats.
At first, it seems easy, but along the way, you discover an amalgamation on intricately composed elements that make it extremely hard. Be ready to sweat.
8. The Violation by Fleshgod Apocalypse
The first time I came across this song, I could not believe anyone would create something like this. It is only a crazy person who can attempt it.
The track is created with powerful and famous drum performances that roar with sensory assault. Drummer Franco Paoli creates some of the best drumming sequences that knocks the sense out of anyone attempting it, especially on the double and relentless beats.
9. A night in Tunisia by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers
This piece from the pioneers of Hard Bop style in jazz is among complicated songs. It is a quintessential track that features a nicely constructed drum solo that swings and flows with ease and control. The drum work in this song is a true definition of jazz music.
10. Gene Krupa’s Sing, Sing, Sing
Gene Krupa is one of the best drummers of all time. He single-handedly redefined the face of drumming in jazz. There is more to the song than just its tempo. He approaches the drums with such resplendence and extravagance you cannot find in any other music. His extended drum solo gives the song a lot of power and swing.
If you can play Gene’s style, you have all it takes to become a great drummer.
11. Caravan (Whiplash) with drum solo
Caravan by Whiplash is absolutely one of the hardest songs to play on the drum. The rhythm is a mix of jazz, and samba tempos. The tune is great tune and there are tons of creative possibilities for imporovvisation.
This is the perfect challenge for jazz musicians, looking to improve their techniques.
What is the easiest song to play on the drums?
If you think you are not ready for the pressure from the songs above, consider some easier songs. Here is a list of easiest songs:
- Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes
- Another One Bites the Dust by Queen
- Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
- Bullet the Blue Sky by U2
- Come As You Are by AC/DC
- Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
- Let It Be by Beatles
- stairway to Heaven by John bonham
Simple beats and rhythms characterize all these songs. Most of them are in the basic time signature that flows the same throughout the song.
Many beginners have used a song like One Nation Army by The White Stripes because of its simplicity. It features a simple beat repeated throughout.
What is the most difficult guitar song to play?
Learning to play guitar can be challenging. You may need to start with something simple. But if you want to test your limits, here are five songs that will push you beyond. Note some of them are almost unplayable.
- CAFO by Animals as Leaders
- Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson
- DragonForce’s Through the Fire and Flames
- Technical Difficulties by Racer X
- The Dance of Eternity – Dream Theater
What are good drum songs?
A good drum song should not be too slow, or too first. You don’t want something too hard that will make you give up quickly. At the same time, you should challenge yourself enough.
But choosing a good song can be hard. So here are a few ideas you can start with:
- All I want – Skunk Anansie
- All My Life – Foo Fighters
- All Right Now – Free
- Assassin – Muse
- Black Dog – Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin is my personal favorite.
- Car Wash – Rose Royce
- Black in Black – AC/DC.
Some drum songs that even the most experienced drummers cannot attempt are too complex. But they can be a good way to learn new ideas. The songs discussed above should be good for such cases.