Drums vs. drumset

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It’s all probably a bit semantics, but in Holland we would say somebody owns a drum set or a drum kit, but you will always say he plays ‘drums’.
Somebody playing conga’s etc from your first picture would be called a (hyperactive) percussionist.

To me it would feel a bit weird if the cover of an album from a CD or record I own, and want to enter in MetaBrainz specifically states ‘drums’, I should enter ‘drumset’ instead.
Of course I respect your experience and authority, so if this is well thought through and decided on I will follow suit on this.


What would you call this?
(just kidding)


I can definitely see that :slight_smile: That’s why I’m wondering if the “drumset” instrument in English shouldn’t also include “drums” in the title, since it’s the most common use of the word, really. Right now, it’s kinda weird to use the Spanish translation of MB and see tons of people credited for “tambores” (drums) :smiley:

Possibly “drumset” should be called “drumset (drums)” or even “drums (drumset)”, while “drums” should have a clarifying comment.


Ok, so this is probably needing some more contemplation then?

Another observation, I am native non-English speaker, but I am pretty sure that ‘drumset’ is not a correct English word.
It would be ‘drum set’ then I believe.


A Google for “drumset” indeed turns up almost exclusively “drum set” or"drum kit"


I agree we should rename drumset if we want it to be used and we have the same problem IMO with electric bass guitar.
Even if I know the bassist is playing electric bass guitar, as I began editing before instrument credits, I have always used simply bass, and drums, as printed on almost every rock music booklets on earth.
Thinking of it, booklets also usually just say guitar for electric guitar ー or even lead or rhythm guitar.
And they usually say keyboards with an s, unlike MB’s keyboard.
I wonder what to do…


Don’t we have instrument credits for this? You can select drumset / electric bass guitar as the instrument, but enter drums / bass as credits. If we rename both of the instruments to be just drums / bass they will be used for all other kinds of instruments which can be credited the same way.


If we look at it realistically, I think an enormous amount of releases will just say ‘guitar’ ‘drums’, ‘keyboards’
(indeed @jesus2099 : keyboardS)

So those should always be selectable as a first option.
Then there could be a second optional entry field named something like ‘instrument refine’.
That could contain more details about the instrument or it’s role.

So you could then have:

guitar [acoustic]
guitar [electric]
guitar [rhythm]
guitar [lead]
drums [drum kit]
drums [congas]
keyboards [piano]
keyboards [moog]
saxophone [tenor]
saxophone [soprano]
vocals [lead]
vocals [backing]

etc. etc.


I agree that the current instrument form requires improvements. It would be nice if it displayed instruments related to the selected one and allowed to pick one of them instead. But lead and backing are roles for any instrument, not derivative. That would better fit relationship attributes.


@outsidecontext yes we now have instrument credits, my (bad?) habit dates from when we did not have it. And tons of drums/bass relationships must have been created before that.
And also, as a non English speaker (I know, actually I should use MBS in my language), I wonder if people (rock listeners) even know about drumset, while there is no doubt they read or hear drums on a daily basis. But I don’t really know as I am not English.


Yes, i think i never saw drumset in credits … while drums (for drum kit/set or batterie in french) is very very common.
Same goes for bass, on a rock album it often means electric bass, on a jazz album often double bass.
So i don’t expect most editors to enter one or others, but on listening it is usually very obvious, and using instrument credits is the solution for this.


hello, superlate to this discussion (I dunno why freso’s ping earlier I didn’t notice :​​o) but I like this idea:

following with onward discussion it should be “drum set” also?

and I am not opposed to bass (electric bass guitar) either

also [quote=“jesus2099, post:15, topic:194166”]
And also, as a non English speaker (I know, actually I should use MBS in my language), I wonder if people (rock listeners) even know about drumset, while there is no doubt they read or hear drums on a daily basis. But I don’t really know as I am not English.[/quote]
This is true, I myself was unaware of this/this distinction. and surly many others are also unaware of this.

I agree with these sentiments by zas and outsidecontext, however instrument credits have some unfortunate limitations, as https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/MBS-9327 illustrates.

In closing: please create some JIRA tickets with these changes (I can also bring them up on the meeting wrt style etc. for these things if it’s wanted.) :raising_hand_woman:


I took this up on the meeting and noone there was horribly against it, so.
as far as I understand from comments here, the wanted changes are:

  • drumset -> drums (drum set)
  • electric bass guitar -> bass (electric bass guitar)
  • add clarifying comments to drums and bass, as well as guitar?
  • and exactly, what comments?

Does anyone else have any other examples?
note these and create tickets please.


Two edits have been entered for drums(et): one to change drumset to “drums (drum set)” as suggested in this thread, and one to change drums to “membranophone”, to be consistent with the other percussion families. The other alternative, if it’s considered better, would be to change “drums” to “drum” instead (I don’t personally think it’s better, but it would work, and hopefully people would still pick the right “drums” for the set).

Either way, this will be a breaking change for drum set entered as “drums”. This is intentional, since it was already broken, as shown by translation issues specified earlier in this thread. Anyone who sees old “membranophone” (or “drum”) credits that should be “drums (drum set)”, please do change them! @loujin or @jesus2099: if there’s no script to switch instruments for all matching rels in the relationship editor, creating one would be great :wink:


THAT would actually be Glorious :​‌‌​​​​​‌‌O


Without reading all 20 posts from the past year (I did read the first few):

I play drums. But I play them on a drum set.
My hippie friend (no, seriously, he lives in a commune) plays drums. He plays drums on a hand drum.
The guys in the orchestra plays drums. One guy plays a snare drum. One a bass drum. One plays a timpani (which is usually a pair but is still singular).

No different than me playing guitar. Sometimes it is an electric guitar. Sometimes it is an acoustic guitar.
If I play all the guitars on an album, I play the guitar. But it could have been an electric guitar on one song and an acoustic guitar on the next.


These are also the experiences that I have made.
I also doubt more often which instrument could be the right one. I’m just sure, if I’ve heard the recordings, seen the artist live or there are some unambiguous pictures in the booklet.
And it would be nice when the field “instrument credited as” would have a “remember last entries” function (or a drop down menu with a generated pre-selection of most use cases), so that you haven’t to type them in again and again.


Weeeeeeeeeeell… I’ve been toying with this idea since February, and the “replace instrument” script has a crude interface to change all rels using a certain instrument to another. But only the main ones (conductor, few voices, piano/violin/etc.) are defined, I haven’t found how to present all choices and keep a reasonably clear UI


What happened to the instrument formerly known as “drums”. All credits with this instrument seems to have changed to “membranophone” players:

and thousands of other releases, all with “membranophone” instead of drums. The membranophone has 155.775 edits at the moment


I’ve noticed that too, but at the same time I also noticed that on entities where “drumset” had been entered previously the instrument was now showing up as “drums (drum set).” Based on the discussion above I concluded that the instrument names were changed so as to be less ambiguous.