The Most Difficult Song to Play on the Drums: A Striking Challenge for Drummers

Choose the song you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 17, 2023 07:05
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion takes the center stage! Today, we're diving into the rhythmic world of drumming, and we need your expertise to settle the debate on "What is the most difficult song to play on the drums?". With thousands of mind-blowing drum solos and intricate beats to choose from, we've compiled an epic list of contenders vying for the top spot. But we can't do it without your input! Cast your vote for your favorite drumming masterpiece, or suggest a missing challenger that deserves a spot in our ranking. Let's embark on this percussive journey together and discover the ultimate drumming challenge that leaves even the most skilled drummers in awe. Join the beat and make your voice heard on StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Difficult Song to Play on the Drums? (September 2023)

  1. 1
    This song is known for its complex time signatures and intricate drum patterns, making it a challenge for even the most experienced drummers.
    The Dance of Eternity is a highly complex and virtuosic instrumental track by the band Dream Theater. It is known for its intricate guitar riffs, intricate time signatures, and challenging technicality.
    • Album: Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory
    • Year: 1999
    • Length: 6:13
    • Genre: Progressive Metal
    • Time Signature: Various (including 5/4, 11/8, 7/8)
    "The Dance of Eternity" by Dream Theater in other rankings
  2. 2
    This song features a constant 16th note rhythm at 280 bpm, requiring incredible stamina and precision from the drummer.
    "Bleed" by Meshuggah in other rankings
  3. 3

    "YYZ" by Rush

    Neil Peart
    This instrumental track showcases Neil Peart's incredible drumming skills with complex rhythms and polyrhythms.
    The drum solo in 'YYZ' by Rush is a highly complex and challenging piece of percussion work. It is known for its intricate and precise rhythms, technicality, and high energy levels. The solo serves as a highlight of the song, showcasing the exceptional drumming skills of Neil Peart, the band's drummer.
    • Song: 'YYZ'
    • Band: Rush
    • Album: 'Moving Pictures'
    • Genre: Progressive rock
    • Tempo: Moderate to fast
    "YYZ" by Rush in other rankings
  4. 4
    This song features an extended drum solo by John Bonham that is known for its power and speed.
    Moby Dick is a legendary drum solo performed by John Bonham, the drummer of the iconic rock band Led Zeppelin. It is known for its complexity, energy, and improvisation, making it one of the most challenging drum solos in rock music history.
    • Duration: Approximately 4-5 minutes
    • Tempo: Varies, ranging from slow to fast
    • Time Signature: Commonly played in 12/8 time signature
    • Techniques Used: Includes various drumming techniques such as single strokes, double strokes, paradiddles, drum rolls, fills, and improvisation
    • Improvisation: Bonham would often improvise parts of the solo during live performances, adding to the challenge and excitement
    "Moby Dick" by Led Zeppelin in other rankings
  5. 5

    "One" by Metallica

    Lars Ulrich's drumming on this song requires precision and endurance, especially during the fast double bass sections.
    "One" by Metallica is a song from their fourth studio album, "...And Justice for All", released in 1988. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult songs to play on the drums due to its intricate rhythms and fast-paced sections.
    • Song Length: 7 minutes and 27 seconds
    • Genre: Thrash Metal
    • Time Signature: 4/4 and 6/8
    • BPM: 86
    • Drum Patterns: Complex double bass patterns, fast fills, and syncopated rhythms
  6. 6
    Another classic Rush track, this song features intricate drum fills and a challenging tempo.
  7. 7
    Jeff Porcaro's drumming on this song is known for its intricate ghost notes and syncopation.
    The song 'Rosanna' by Toto is a challenging and legendary drum track known for its complex and intricate patterns. It was released in 1982 as a single from the album 'Toto IV', and it became one of Toto's biggest hits.
    • Tempo: Medium to fast pace, around 134 beats per minute
    • Time Signature: Mainly 4/4 with occasional switches to 2/4 and 6/8
    • Ghost Notes: Incorporates extensive use of ghost notes throughout the song
    • Drum Fills: Features challenging and embellished drum fills
    • Shuffle Groove: Contains a complex shuffle groove in the verses
  8. 8
    This instrumental track features complex time signatures and intricate drumming from Neil Peart.
    La Villa Strangiato is a complex and challenging drum solo composed by the Canadian rock band Rush. It is an instrumental track that showcases the extraordinary drumming skills of Neil Peart, the band's late drummer. The solo is part of the band's 1978 album Hemispheres and has become one of their most iconic and technically demanding compositions.
    • Album: Hemispheres
    • Release Year: 1978
    • Drummer: Neil Peart
    • Genre: Progressive rock
    • Length: 9 minutes and 34 seconds
    "La Villa Strangiato" by Rush in other rankings
  9. 9
    Chad Smith's drumming on this song is known for its fast and complex rhythms.
  10. 10
    Alex Van Halen's drumming on this song features fast double bass and intricate fills.

Missing your favorite song?


Ranking factors for difficult song

  1. Tempo
    Faster songs usually require more skill and precision, as drummers need to maintain the beat without losing control or sacrificing technique.
  2. Time signature and syncopation
    Complex time signatures or frequent changes in time can make a song difficult to play. Syncopated rhythms, where beats are emphasized off the main pulse, can also be challenging.
  3. Coordination
    Songs that involve intricate patterns or require the drummer to play multiple drum parts simultaneously can be very demanding in terms of hand and foot coordination.
  4. Dynamics
    Songs with varying dynamics, or a wide range of soft and loud playing, challenge drummers to maintain control, technique, and consistent sound, while also adapting to these changes throughout the song.
  5. Drum fills and solos
    Some songs feature complex or fast drum fills, which can be difficult to execute with precision and consistency. Additionally, if a song includes an extended drum solo or breakdown, extra skill and creativity are required.
  6. Endurance
    Longer and more demanding songs can be more challenging, as drummers need to maintain focus, energy, and precision throughout the entire performance.
  7. Unique techniques or styles
    Some songs may require specialized techniques, such as double bass drumming, blast beats, or Latin percussion patterns, which can add to the difficulty if the drummer is not experienced in these styles.
  8. Expressiveness and musicality
    Beyond technical aspects, a song's difficulty can be defined by how well a drummer captures the emotion and intent of the music. This can involve subtle tempo changes, nuanced dynamics, or capturing the atmosphere and overall vibe of the song.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult song to play on the drums. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or your favorite song is missing from the list, feel free to help us improve the ranking.


  • 183 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each song once every 24 hours. The rank of each song is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult song to play on the drums

Drumming is an art that requires precision, timing, and exceptional hand-eye coordination. Playing the drums is not only about hitting the right notes but also about mastering the rhythm and timing of the song. Some songs are more challenging to play on the drums than others due to their complex beats and fast-paced rhythms. In this article, we will explore some of the most difficult songs to play on the drums and what makes them so challenging for drummers. From classic rock to modern pop, these songs are sure to put even the most skilled drummers to the test. So, grab your drumsticks and get ready to rock out with some of the toughest drumming challenges in music history!