Publication Date



Studio drummers are some of the most well-rounded musicians contributing to commercial music in the modern era. They are hired to lend their talents to an artist’s compositions by creating drum parts that will complement the overarching song arrangement. In this type of work, it is very helpful to be fluent in many different styles of drumming, as the music of each artist will require different techniques. Each of the drummers highlighted in this research have mastered the ability to shift from one style of music to the next with ease, earning them the title as a “chameleon” of modern drumming. The five drummers selected for analysis are presented chronologically, including Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, Matt Chamberlain, Brian Blade, and Nate Smith. For each of the five drummers selected, three songs were chosen with each representing a different style of drumming. Nearly forty different transcriptions were created throughout the course of this research, notating specific patterns played in each song analyzed. After analyzing the drum parts from each song separately, similarities heard in the drumming on each record are highlighted. This helps us gain a deeper understanding of what makes each drummer unique in their personal taste and technique, and offers a brief summary of the individual style of each of these chameleon drummers.

Major Mentor

Todd London

Second Mentor

Bruce Dudley

Third Mentor

Peter Lamothe


Music, School of


Music and Performing Arts, College of

Document Type

Scholarly Project


Master of Music (MM)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University


Recitalist Name: Cameron Simons
Principal Instrumen

Support Musicians:

David Crutcher, keys
Stephan Wieder, guitar
Luc DiGiuseppe, bass
Mack Clay, saxophone
Jackson Dreyer, vocals
Laura Donohue, vocals

Playlist Available:

CSimons_GradRecital.pdf (576 kB)
Recital program