Though the majority of modern songs have drums in them, from pop to Classical, they don’t all operate in the same manner. Yes, the drum kits themselves may be very similar, but the style of play varies widely from one genre to the next. When in the studio, it is a very useful talent for a drummer to have more than one style in their repertoire and being able to discern between the different tempos and rhythms is what makes for a speedy creation process. Once you start listening to drums more actively as you listen to music you will learn to pick out the changes and styles being used which usually dictates what genre the song itself falls into.
Rock drums are loud and focus on a mix of kick and snares that drive the songs. Modern rock bands use a lot of cymbals in their work to adding flair to the high end of the sound with ride slices and a constant flow of hi-hat taps. The walk is a very common basis for rock music drums which is then elaborated on for each unique song.
Though it stemmed out of rock music; metal has a significant speed increase over its ancestor and one very obvious addition, a second kick pedal. This extra piece of the puzzle allows metal drummers to double-pedal which makes the low end not only faster but more aggressive. Add in some extra work on the toms to keep things dark and tribal, and you have the basis for a metal track.
Hip hop drums today are usually made digitally, sampled from tracks of old soul bands or simply whatever producers can get their hands on. However despite the need to chop and change with beats in this industry one constant has been present ever since this styles inception, the break. More specifically the Amen Break, this beat that was part of a 1969 song became the backbone for hip hop tracks everywhere. Slowed down and often simplified, this highly recognisable pattern is omnipresent in the world of sampling.
Jazz drums are by their nature a little experimental. The whole purpose here is to apply as much variation as possible, yet as the skeleton of the band the drums need to keep the rhythm for the other musicians who are mixing things up just as much. Jazz drums stick to a pattern and simply elaborate on it, identifying what it is though can be a little tricky. Soft jazz often also has a notable difference in the fact that they often use brushes on their snares and hats.
Probably the furthest away from conventional drums in the list, Electronic Dance Music is still very much reliant on drums to keep its momentum going. The constant pumping energy behind these hypnotic tracks exist because of the drums, yet they are often very simplified. Regularly using a simple four to the floor pattern, EDM producers are known for making their kick sounds from just low bass notes. This means that some tracks won’t actually feature any real drums, yet the fact that the illusion of them is needed just shows how important this instrument is to all types of music.