How to create interesting variations within rhythms?

Discussion in 'Education' started by OrchFan, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. OrchFan

    OrchFan Member

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    So here's the deal, I know a little about basic rhythms and poly rhythms however because of being a bedroom DAW guy I am stuck at what's practically playable and what can be done to make a rhythm interesting.I have a little knowledge about Indian rhythms but not much about how western rhythms work.I know we can have fills,rudiments and syncopation here and there but I am always stuck at some questions which bother me.Is there any set of rules or a basic guide on how and when these techniques should/shouldn't be applied? How do you translate let's say a darbuka rhythm to the drums and so on?Is there a way I could build my rhythmic vocabulary when I have no access to the drums.Please be kind to me as I don't know much.
     
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  3. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    As a drummer since age 4 I'd say "if it sounds good, it's good". There is much to learn about rhythm as well as rests/silence (very important too!). You can start with checking out "sum rhythms", the collective sum of rhythms that together makes an interesting foundation. We humans look for patterns, so having recognizable patterns (that we know/understand) makes us feel smart. That's always a good thing, as the brain releases dopamine. But we also want variation, so you have to add (or remove) things in order to keep interest.
    Syncopations can be used as "stress-points", just as in LANGUAGE where some WORDS are accentuated in order to stick OUT to mark IMPORTANCE.

    Groove is another aspect. It's usually the minute push and pull between different instruments. The milliseconds of differences is heard and felt, just like it's visually seen in a dance between two people. They both follow the rhythm, but most of the time only one of them is the leader and the other is a follower (and the dynamic interaction/variations between the two).
    I'm rambling on. I'm tired after having worked many hours as an extra in healthcare (Fuck you Corona!).

    Edit: If you want to add "interesting variations", check out various Euclidean Rhythms software/apps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  4. Denstrow

    Denstrow Member

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    Indian music gives you plenty of material to work with - more than western music. If you're working on "western" genres (dance, rock, etc), you can apply some of that and not alienate the audience. Keep a tisra or chatusra gathi and change the jathi to see what riffs you can come up for different elements (or do anulomas and pratilomas if you feel adventurous). Lastly, on carnatic music and how it can be applied to western music, I highly recommend the book by Rafael Reina (I studied his course for some years - Conservatorium van Amsterdam has an online course on advanced rhythm, i.e. the intro to the course). Another favourite of mine is beat displacement. It also depends on what genre you're making, which you don't mention. And of course there are many tutorials around the interwebs, just start searching for rhythm tutorials broadly and see where it takes you.
    And since I have no shame, here's a track I did largely based on carnatic music, but psytrance style, to give you some inspiration:
     
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  5. OrchFan

    OrchFan Member

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    Thanks for your guidance on using syncopations with stress points.I'll definitely check out sum rhythms and grooves.I am aware of Euclidean Rhythms but I don't think it could help develop an inner sense.I think rhythms should be more of a humans interpretation than algorithm generated.
     
  6. OrchFan

    OrchFan Member

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    Thanks for your response dear.Could you please provide me with the link if the course could be taken online.I am looking forward to be able to work in pop,rock and orchestral genres.Your music sounds great btw
     
  7. Denstrow

    Denstrow Member

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  8. OrchFan

    OrchFan Member

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    Thanks a lot dear.Though a bit pricey I hope to take a course after saving some money.This forum never disappoints me
     
  9. SpyFx ✪

    SpyFx ✪ Platinum Record

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  10. OrchFan

    OrchFan Member

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    Thanks a lot dear.Very interesting stuff
     
  11. Denstrow

    Denstrow Member

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    If you don't want to spend the money on the CvA course, get the Reina book, which covers far more ground.
     
  12. OrchFan

    OrchFan Member

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  13. Batteruno

    Batteruno Noisemaker

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    The Reina's book seems very interesting indeed, just bought it, thank you Denstrow for the sharing!

    Your track is cool too but i felt you could have been further in the karnatic vibes like going out of the 4/4 of the kick/snare changing the pulsation on a bridge/second part making an equivalence (pulse divided in 5 instead of 4 for example but with the same debit=changing of pulsation), or keeping the same pulse but changing the subdivisions on B parts/fills..
    I understand you wanted to stick a bit to the standards of the style but it's not as interesting as it could have been if you were really gone in other dimensions instead of grouping in 44 in my opinion...

    But it's a good example for you OrchFan if you wanna stay in a pop/rock style with a "basic" 2 and 4 snare and adding rhythmic plays in the back turning around it, this can be subtle and keep the "pop spirit" of your song while adding interesting and originals rhythmic effects..

    Also to have a percussion-like sound : playing breaks in other subdivision while others parts stay in 4/4 is a common percussionist-like feeling, like playing breaks on the snare/toms in triolet keeping all instruments and bass drum in sixteenth notes, quintuplets too like the figures you can find on this Reina's book : just play one or two beats in quintuplets on the snare using those rhythmic figures to have some good feeling fills..

    I have worked a lot in adapting percussions on my drumset over the last ten years (actually it has became my main style, i can't play a basic rhythm anymore lol) and i can tell you that it is not easy, specially when you are not writing them on your daw but playing the independences..
    One thing is that the role the bass drum plays with the bass is not easy to change so you have to have a bassist/bass really comitting into this kind of rhythms OR you play some kind of ostinatos on bass drum with the bass (like in salsa/samba/"calypso clave") and with your hands you play the percussions style on hihat/snare/toms/bells, but you have to find a minimalistic part for each member evocating the original rhythm to be able to play the independences, and then you play the fills more like percu..

    And don't forget that drummers can play claves with their left foot too if you are atempting to compose drums-like rhythms (using cowbell phrases instead of hihat is an easy effect too, very efficient).

    But if you are composing exclusively on your daw maybe you should also feel free to change the role of each parts and not stick to the physical considerations the drummer has to respect (like being more inspired by polyrhythms like west-african dums/djembe ones or samba grooves, etc..), why not?
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  14. WizzDome71

    WizzDome71 Kapellmeister

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    Another technique consists on allowing only one drum to hit at a given time (you can never have two drums hit at the same time). It makes awesome airy and groovy beats. Don't know the exact name of this technique, sorry
     
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