In life there are no straight lines. Look close enough and all perceptibly straight lines become imperfect arcs and circular. Take a look at the natural world around you. Every thing, every being, has arcs and curves.
In music, as in life, it’s what you do with the space between the notes that creates your personalized sense of flow and subsequently your time.
In drumming, this relates directly to the physical motion between your contact points.
Drumming is the perfect visual representation of musically voiced space control IMO. The sounds come from points in a circular, or orbital motion.
And the more effortless and physically natural something is to play, naturally changes the shape of the music.
Since we can’t step outside of ourselves, physically speaking, mirrors and video become the preferred tools of observation.
Do you move in a circular fashion? Arcs? Orbital? Or is your approach visually rigid and angular?
How does the drastic difference of the 2 affect the sound that is produced?
Can you switch between these 2 extremes?
And how about all the grey areas that connect them and extend beyond those borders?
Just like dynamics, the wider your palette, the more control you will have at your disposal.
Approaching this with a wide array of scope, we can better understand that there is no right or wrong, merely degrees of motion… it’s art, after all. Adherently, the way your particular motion affects your external communication of time and groove can be dramatic and/or extremely subtle.
By smoothing things out and rounding your motions more, a greater sense of natural flow and thus natural sound can be achieved. This is perfect for a coloring type of texture and approach.
The more angular you approach the motions, the more angular your sound tends to become. I would classify this in terms of more aggressive playing. (Energetic and aggressive are of course different approaches.)
Now, by layering in the use of dynamics to your playing, we can really begin communicating through the instrument at its fullest potential.
For example, take a passage that is both angular and at a lower dynamic and it has the head room to explode both emotionally and musically, thus communicating exceptionally well with an audience at a deep level.
Now, where do you perceive the contact point on the instrument?
Ever considered altering this?
Try barely making contact VS perceiving the contact point an inch below the playing surface.
Explore both of these ad nauseam.
There are many dimensions to approaching the instrument. In my experience, it’s more of a 360° cube rather than a 2D image.
And the only physical rule to consider is, if your approach is hurting you, you are doing it wrong. All other avenues are open to exploration.