Top 10 Hardest Drum Songs - Hardest to Play! (2023)

Author: Brett Clur | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Battery life can be seriously ruined. As musicians become masters of their craft, they begin to structure complex drum parts in a way that suits the bands they play with.

Most of the songs out there are pretty simple. However, there are some bands that take their musicianship to the next level with drummers that skillfully match them.

We'll look at some of the hardest songs to play on drums and why they're so hard to learn.

Please note that this is not a "complete" or "definitive" list of the hardest drum songs, as difficulty is entirely subjective. Let's start!


  • Me too? - sarcastic dog
  • Arithmophobia - Animals as leaders
  • pneumatic tool
  • Bleeding - Meshuggah
  • Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater
  • Tom Sawyer-Rush
  • Caravan - Whiplash Version
  • Rosanna Toto
  • Moby Dick-Led Zeppelin
  • Hot For The Teacher - Van Halen
  • How to learn and play complex songs on drums
    • Escuchar
    • Write
    • tutorials
    • Practice

Me too? - sarcastic dog

Snarky Puppy is currently one of the best jazz fusion bands in the world. The song "What about me?" is a favorite of many listeners. It has a simple eighth note feel. However, the drum parts are full of ghost notes and small nuances that make them difficult to play.very difficult.

Larnell Lewis had little time to learn this song and he rocked the recording, creating a drum part that will go down in history as extremely creative and complex.

I personally think this is the song that put Larnell Lewis on the map. He starts playing with such authority that I want to practice as much as possible to get to that point.

My favorite part is when the drums play themselves before the guitar solo starts. Larnell makes it sound so wonderful and clean, especially with the fat snare.

Although this song is in 4/4 time, there are a few sections that often annoy me, as the drum and bass parts are worded off the beat to make it sound like an odd time signature.

Arithmophobia - Animals as leaders

The intro of this track leads you to believe that the song is in 4/4 time. However, when the drums and guitar come in, you'll hear the bars change bars with each bar. Matt Gartska is known for playing beats like this.

Changing time signatures and hundreds of subtle ghost notes between the top hits make this track heavy. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Many advanced drummers will have difficulty with footwork. It's very difficult to consistently play doubles that fast. My advice to make this a bit easier would be to tighten up the kick drum, as this will increase the response of the beater.

I personally think Matt Gartska is one of the best drummers to ever play this instrument. There are so many things that he plays on drums that seem almost impossible to me. So trying to play one of his songs is not an easy task for anyone.

In order to play any Animals as Leaders song, you must be very comfortable changing time signatures and busy drum parts. For me, "Arithmophobia" is one of the most difficult songs to understand.

Every time I've tried to learn this song, I've found that it takes me weeks to master just 3 or 4 bars. It seems like it takes years to learn the whole track.

pneumatic tool

The only good word to describe this track would be "polyrhythm". There are many of them here. Tool have been playing progressive rock for decades and were one of the first bands to explore shifting time signatures and complex rhythms.

Drummer Danny Carey makes it look easy when he plays this song. Give it a try to find out how much effort it really takes!

Like Matt Gartska, Danny Carey just doesn't seem human. He sounds like he's feverishly counting in his head to get the right tempo changes, or he's so in tune with the music that it all comes naturally.

It's probably number 2 of those two options, and I'm really jealous. However, this song is over 10 minutes long, which means it's not a song for casual drummers.

Bleeding - Meshuggah

Speaking of polyrhythm, it wouldn't be a complete list of heavy songs without Meshuggah's "Bleed." Thomas Haake takes percussion to a new level on this track, playing Hertas on his kick drum as he carries a rhythm with his hands. This continues for the entire 7 minute length of the song.

This course requires coordination and a lot of stamina. It's fast and it's not easy. If you want to learn a song that challenges youdouble pedal kit, try it

Herta's double pedal pattern is so popular that it spawned a whole culture of memes. I like to see YouTube videos that reference what Thomas Haake is playing on drums here. The reason memes are so funny is because the drum part is incredibly difficult to play.

I tried to learn to play this song a while ago. I was able to slowly decrease the polyrhythmic patterns. Speeding up was a whole different story as my hands and feet started to fall apart. I'm still trying to practice today. I know one day I will be able to play the song. I just can't now!

Dance of Eternity - Dream Theater

Dream Theater was another band known for playing many strange time signatures in the 20th century. Their most famous song is probably "Dance of Eternity". With 104 time signatures in six minutes, it is without a doubt one of the most difficult songs to play on drums.

The drummer at the time, Mike Portnoy, did such a good job of writing these drum parts that it became quite a challenge for the drummers to prove themselves with this track.

I remember watching audition videos for a new Dream Theater drummer. There have been several top-notch drummers, all of whom could comfortably be called some of the best drummers in the world.

Many of them had problems with this song, which made me realize how difficult it is to play it. I personally never tried to learn it. However, I think it would take an unnatural amount of time to learn if it did. Good luck to everyone who accepts the challenge!

Tom Sawyer-Rush

Here's a track for all you classic rock lovers out there. Neil Peart is one of many favorite drummers thanks to drum parts like this. While this song isn't very upbeat, it does have some rhythms that take some time to learn. The hard part is putting them all together.

Once you get the hang of it, this song is so much fun to play!

I love how the song starts in the usual 4/4 time signature and then changes to a 7/8 time signature. I think what makes this song so popular is that, when Rush was big, few classic rock bands were into offbeat tunes.

Neil Peart shows exactly why he's so popular here, as the drum part is incredibly effective. I have a feeling that playing this song will bring out your inner rock star.

Caravan - Whiplash Version

The song "Caravan" is a jazz standard that has been around for decades. However, he became known through the movie "Whiplash". The song has two parts that are incredibly difficult to play on drums.

The first part is a fast Latin rhythm that requires some independence between the members. The second part is a fast swing in double time played on the ride cymbal. Both parts need some practice.

You must see the movie Whiplash to fully understand the complexity of this song. Latin percussion isit's never easy. I find it particularly difficult to play Latin rhythms because all four members have to be independent of each other.

Playing a double swing isn't easy either. I love playing medium tempo swing patterns, but speeding them up to choppy tempos is enough to stress me out a lot.

I think this song is a great test to see where you are in your jazz and Latin percussion skills.

Rosanna Toto

Moving on to another rock classic, "Rosanna" features Jeff Porcaro playing one of the most famous drum beats of all time. The Rosanna Shuffle is interval random playback that extends his ability to play precise ghost notes.

The tempo is fast and runs through the entire song, so you need to build up your stamina.

In terms of drums, this is one of my favorite songs of all time. My life was forever changed after learning how to play Rosanna Shuffle. After that, everything became a bit easier to play on drums, as that rhythm improved many aspects of my playing.

This leads you to play crushing rimshots and very delicate ghost notes. Random rhythms at intervals are not easy rhythms to learn. They also take years to master. The fact that this song is quite fast makes playing the Rosanna Shuffle even more challenging.

I have great respect for Jeff Porcaro. It takes an incredibly talented drummer to create a beat that would go down as one of the most recognizable beats of all time.

Moby Dick-Led Zeppelin

If you like hard rock, Led Zeppelin is one of the best bands to listen to. Drummer John Bonham is arguably one of the most famous rock drummers of all time. The song Mody Dick features John Bonham playing a great solo that includes many triplets.

Learning this one will only test your skills and make you kick some butt. The intro and the ending of the song are very simple. So you improvise the intro, play the complex drum solo, and then improvise the ending.

I remember a live version of this song was playing. My father showed me and told me how this drummer would surprise me. He was right? If you want to learn how to play Bonham's famous triplets, this is the best song to learn. I think this song perfectly represents how good Bonham was.

Hot For The Teacher - Van Halen

The list is completed by an absolute drum classic. The track opens with an intricate drum part that combines a double bass pattern with a hand pattern. Mixing these two parts will not be easy for any drummer.

The rest of the track has a random lead feel with a heavy emphasis on the kick drum. Once you put the pieces together, you'll have a blast playing a Van Halen classic.

I first heard this song while playing Guitar Hero on PlayStation. I wasn't a great drummer like I am now. However, I immediately realized how complex the drum part was back then. It surprised me and continues to amaze me to this day. The introductory battery part resembles a motorcycle that has just started the engine.

How to learn and play complex songs on drums

Top 10 Hardest Drum Songs - Hardest to Play! (1)

Learning these difficult songs will never be an easy process. However, there are a few things you can do to help make learning the hard parts a little easier to swallow.


The most important key to learning a song is listening. You need to listen as much as possible to get a sense of the song's structure and how each part flows into the next. Since drum parts are already present in established songs, you need to listen very carefully to what the drummer is doing.

The more you listen, the easier it will be to play the song later. Having a good ear is one of the most important aspects of being a good musician, and it all starts in the practice room when you listen to the songs you want to learn.


If there is a specific part of a song that you find difficult, I have always found that trying to write that part helps enormously. Imagining what the drummer is doing and writing it down on paper makes it more tangible for me. It also allows me to practice the part slowly as I read it over and over.

If you don't know how to read and write sheet music, I recommend you learn. It's an invaluable skill, especially when you need to learn how to play complex drum parts.


If you don't understand what's going on in a specific song, you can always check online to see if anyone has instructions on how to play that song. Many times I wanted to play a song but had no idea where to start the learning process. A quick YouTube search helped me find videos where people explained exactly what to do. The information was correct. It was free too!

Following an online tutorial on how to play a song can be incredibly helpful. The people who teach these lessons have already overcome difficult yardage by figuring out what to play. It will be easier for them to skip over what they have already discovered.

If you can't find the free music tutorial, you can still find it on one of theMain drum class platforms on the internetwhich have become very popular in recent years.


The last piece of advice I have is the most obvious. However, it is something that we all need to constantly remember and remember. To get better at playing songs, you need to constantly practice them.

I like to think that a song will never be as difficult as when I tried to learn it. Just keep playing the songs and you will naturally get better at playing them. The only way to play them better is to practice.


If you can play any of these songs, you can consider yourself a master drummer. Usually, drummers focus on specific genres and get good at playing them. So don't feel bad if you can play some of these songs but not others.

You won't see this often.jazz drummersome heavy gamedouble bassStandard. If you're up for a challenge, pick one of these songs and start learning.

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