Programming percussions and drums

Discussion in 'Film / Video Game Scoring' started by Backtired, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Backtired

    Backtired Rock Star

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    Hi everybody good people
    I'll try to be as short as possible.

    Does anyone have real and good tips on how to come up with your own percussions patterns?
    I wanted to make something arabic, some "desert fantasy music" next, but I know pretty well my limitations. I can't program my own drums. And for program I mean the pattern, the rhythm. Somebody will say "there are infinite number of loops out there!" Yeah. Sure. Loops are fine and all, I'm not one of those "Make ur own samplez m8!!" but, you know, understanding and going behind the scenes make things much better and manageable.

    I do have some libraries (little note: why in the holy mother of ass most of the ethnic libraries come with "construction kits", I want to make my own melodies using these instruments, I don't wanna usa premade phrases e drums...) but I'm literally at a lost. Listening to some exotic loops (doesn't really matter what part of the world they come from), you can hear they are full energy, groove, they glue perfectly together and are in general just damn good. And I'm not talking about weird time signatures or anything (although they help and can give different feelings), plain 4/4 or 2/4 is fine here.

    Making my owns? Welp, they sound "bad", not as full, and just really poor thought, even though I spent lots of time on them. I usually learn stuff pretty fast, but I still need to unlock the "percussion skills". I'm well aware of the fact that recorded instruments are much better, but I'm also well aware of a lot of composers using patches just as well. The end result is what matters, of course, not how you achieve it.

    Sorry for the long post I tried to keep it as short as possible, but to put it in a few lines of text: need tips on how to program my own loops, using exotic instruments such as tablas, shakers, ouds, war drums, etc.

    (I hope that some of these tips can be translated to general "dance" programming, since I think I'm lacking a bit there as well, although I listen to much more dance than classic/cinematic/game, so I know a bit more.)

    ~ Back
     
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  3. Bdubs

    Bdubs Noisemaker

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    Hi there, if you use something like nerve or geist it should be quite easy to create some interesting drum parts. Definitely check out the fxpansion tutorials on YouTube. Use a simple 4 on the floor kick pattern and add different rhythmic elements when you want to spice things up a bit. Changing velocities and the swing amount, can also make things sound more natural. As far as Arabic vibes go you might wanna check out the drum plugin that spectrasonics makes. Either way everything you are interested in getting better at is not always that difficult. It will just take time and eventually things will click.
    Good luck and happy music making.
    Bdubs
     
  4. Backtired

    Backtired Rock Star

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    So true, amen to that.

    The problem is not the VST, the DAW, the sample libraries, etc. The problem is, like, putting the notes down, playing them on my MIDI keyboard; the problem is "the real deal", when you actually have to produce patterns and make them interesting enough. I'll check these names you gave to me, but I don't know what Spectrasonics plugin you meant (maybe Stylus? I'm not that familiar with plugins and stuff honestly).
     
  5. beatroot

    beatroot Producer

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    Lots of tutorials on You tube to achieve what you want.What I gather from your post is that you would like to program authentic patterns and you don't want to use loops and you still imply that using loops would also not be so bad.Anyway here goes.Construction kits help you to understand how that particular piece should be played.

    If you are on PC I would recommend Darbuka and Latigo from Wizoo.Amazing libraries that are sadly not available for mac.Swarplug is great for Indian ,Future Loops has the large library of Indian stuff..The rest you can learn from a number of tutorials on the net.Another way to learn all this is to take a few classes on an actual percussion instrument like a Darabuka,Djembe,Tabla ,Khanjira/Ganjira or Mridangam etc.This will give you an in depth knowledge of how an Arabic /Indian percussion ensemble should sound and authentically played.Cheers.Hope you achieve your skills in percussion programming.
     
  6. SyNtH.

    SyNtH. Platinum Record

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    Use parallel compression and use a send for reverb on your hits with a proq 2 using mid side mode to clear up the stereo lows. Listen to the loops you may have or even the sample material you are trying to create (From a film or song or whatever) and try and set it to the same bpm so your DAW project and sample line up. Then listen to each hit individually and decipher which sound from your sample pack sounds is closest to it. Obviously there are a lot of variations in the types of hits you will get, but the main thing you are trying to create initially is the vibe and a close representation of the frequency response. Then keep trying to find the rest of the sounds required for a loop. Then start mixing using parallel comp and reverb in small amounts till it glues together. Then use variations to spice up the loop you have made using differently accented hits. There will be a lot of swing or patterns that dont follow traditional 4/4 so if you need to learn about different time signatures then that might help your understanding. I know this because i play tablas :P
     
  7. Funk U

    Funk U Producer

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    Well if this true, than your problem is simply you don't understand rhythm, specifically. As opposed melody and harmony. I hate to quote James Brown, but "all instruments are drums." Meaning, when i was at music school for guitar, part of my personal exercises outside of class was going through a rhythm book for drummers called "Modern Reading Text in 4/4" by Louis Bellson. Basically i went through each line of rhythm using only 1 note gradually speeding up the metronome until i finished the book. As a result of that study i can sequence complex rhythms just as a quickly as i can think of them. Alternatively, learn to play the damn drums, which i also have.

    Simply put, if you can't describe in words the rhythm your trying to create you won't be able to able to it musically. For example, in a bar of 4/4 if you can't hear what beat the kick drum falls on how are you going to be able to program it?

    Is it on the 1, the and of 1, how about beat 2, the E of 2, perhaps it's on the uh of beat 3. And heaven forbid we throw triplets in the mix or poly-rhythmic parts. If you can't picture that last sentence in your head therein lies your problem.
     
  8. Backtired

    Backtired Rock Star

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    To be honest I never paid much attention to the rhythm parts of the tracks, and only now I realize how much have I missed and how much I could have done... I always thought "eh, it's just a kick on every beat, some open hats, a closed hat, snares, etc." or "just put a damn loop under it and pray it sounds fine".

    I think it's time to start reading something about rhythm more seriously, lol.
    If you have some beginner noob stuff on You Tube, go ahead and link. I know the "backbones" of the beats and stuff, but as I said I never went over that. Poly rhythmic sounds complex as hell if it's what I think. Of course all of this stuff gets even more complex when we talk about ethnic and exotic percussions...

    Thanks for answers
     
  9. Von_Steyr

    Von_Steyr Guest

    Many people have problems with it for a simple reason,its not easy.
    Drums are my 1st instruments and i know all about the dynamics,behaviour and coloring a song with drums and percussion yet when you do work ITB you have to get your shit together.
    Patience is nr1.
    Nr.2 is little things especially cymbals make or break a song,not only the sound but also the way cymbals compliment the drum kit or percussion.
    I advise you to study drummers and analyse rhythm,drums,percussion,cymbals in songs.
    Its ok to copy something and apply to your own song,you will learn the fastest that way.
    Though you do have to accept that rhythm,drums,percussion need special care and time,dont do short cuts,respect it and devote its time to it when you record your song,if you`ll do that you will have great results.
    Either you do it well or you dont do it at all.
    Be patient my friend and work on it and you will achieve great results.

    And get a pad controller.
     
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  10. fraifikmushi

    fraifikmushi Audiosexual

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    Respect the human factor, that's what I learned from a jazz drummer. That is vaild for dynamics, timing, but also the programming itself: there are only a few sounds a human at a drum kit can make simultaneously, so don't programm ride, crash, toms, snare and hihat on the same note. Unless you're octodrummer, of course :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Funk U

    Funk U Producer

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    Exactly right. This is usually the biggest indicator that a drum part was programmed by someone who doesn't play drums. Like when i hear a half-bar fill across the toms while there is still hi-hats and the backbeat going. Not to say I haven't do that for an effect, but I'm aware of what I'm doing and am making a creative choice. Being conscious of rhythm extends to every instrument not just drums. My first thought when i write funk guitar parts is the rhythm i'm going to play not the notes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  12. artwerkski

    artwerkski Rock Star

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    Randomize. :winker:
     
  13. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    You have four limbs, filled with (more or less) rhythm. Use them.

    Listen to eastern music and imitate. Play along. Imrovise. Make mistakes. Get real tablas or real darbuka. Set up one or two mics. It'll be fun and educational.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
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  14. superliquidsunshine

    superliquidsunshine Audiosexual

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    Jackie McLean said, "If you can sing it, you can play it". This makes it a whole lot easier to actualize your ideas, what you hear in your head translated through your fingers and tapped onto your keyboard, really! Try it, and if you are not completely satisfied, we have a 30 day money back guarantee. What are you waiting for?
     
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  15. Bdubs

    Bdubs Noisemaker

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    Yes stylus, that is a great plugin for working out great sounding rhythm parts. Just keep making yourself finish compositions. That is the number one best piece of advice I can offer anyone. Without drive and the ability to finish tracks it is way harder to get good, let alone amazing results.
     
  16. Backtired

    Backtired Rock Star

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    Thanks everyone, lots of useful information
     
  17. Backtired

    Backtired Rock Star

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    Reupping this thread
    So I'm practicing myself with writing things like classical stuff, mostly strings, woodwinds and pianos.
    And I tell you. Every time, every single time, I try to add a percussion line (of every kind), I make it in 4/4 and it doesn't fit in the 3/4 tempo I'm using. Yes I'm using 3/4 so I learn something more other than the usual 4/4, but damn.

    Add a tambourrine? Wops, it's in 4/4
    Add cymbals? Wops, they're in 4/4
    Add anything else? Wops, they're in 4/4

    The only thing I can do is add something on the main beats and call it a day, but I'd like to make something a little bit more complicated than that.
    Any tips? What's happening here? (Other than me being ignorant and uneducated ofcourse)
     
  18. The Teknomage

    The Teknomage Rock Star

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  19. Backtired

    Backtired Rock Star

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    I remember when reading my first book: "oh what's this? triplets? oh who needs them, I'm gonna put a kick every four beat and I'll be fine" :(
    Thanks for the link, let's see if it can clear my ideas a little bit
     
  20. reliefsan

    reliefsan Rock Star

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    what you need is "hands on"

    you want to feel the rythm comming thru you.

    either analouge with a pencil/table/cup or invest in a cheap midi controller with drumpads and get busy.

    You could read up on some theory and put that into practice right away.

    practice untill you can not do it wrong.

    screw practicing for "perfect" -
    since each day is totaly different from the day before. You feel different each day. So that that idea of "perfect" is FOREVER changing everyday. Its almost like a dog chacing its owne tail:mates:
     
  21. Futurewine

    Futurewine Rock Star

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    I just came across this thread. I happened to know a site about traditional Arabic music and its theory. In case you missed out, maybe take a look at it here: http://www.maqamworld.com/rhythms.html

    Also note the links on the bottom of the page. More sections there.
     
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