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Mononym
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#1
23rd October 2012
Old 23rd October 2012
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Percussion instruments...

For the life of me I cannot figure out how to program percussion instruments to build a groove.

I use Ableton 8, and have an Axiom 25 MIDI controller (it has 8 "drum pads" as well).

I just dont know how many different percs to use, where to place them (i know how to process to my liking).

I have never dealt with percussion before because I played Violin for years..no percussion needed.

So maybe this is a workflow thing? Do you build your percussion stuff before bassline/lead? Or do you add percs to complement the bass/lead? Do you think a track should have a complete groove before you even add the bass line/lead? build a groove before you even add a kick?

any pointers or references or whatever you can offer would help. sample packs I should check out?


example of percussion I am talking about....how many different instruments do you hear? Are they all off the grid or do they sound on the grid to you?



Is there even a lead in this track?

and I dont even want to ask about the sound at 1:34(ideas)?
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#2
23rd October 2012
Old 23rd October 2012
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Hi,

I am a drummer, so percussion is often the first thing I think about. If you don't play drums I might suggest using a drum grid (sequencer) to program beats rather than pads or a keyboard. Also there's no shame in using samples! Well seasoned drumloops are better than crappy programmed beats IMHO.

Another thing is if you can get some MIDI files to examine, it will help you to deconstruct them and see how some beats are put together.

In the video you posted I hear a kick/snare where the snare hits are varying in pitch and length. I hear some heavily reverb'd hi-hats, claps, and some perc hits going through some kind of delay being tweaked. I think there's some rimshots popping up here and there, too.
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23rd October 2012
Old 23rd October 2012
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This is one of those "it depends" type questions.

Usually I do the beat after doing a lead/bass/pad (depending on the music). I find it helps to drum along in real time to figure out what fits in the context of the music. You have drum pads, so maybe try that. Set up a bass line, then practice drumming along with a kick & snare.

The other option is to create a looped drum pattern, then add additional melodies/chords/etc on top of that. You can probably just start with a standard beat (kick, snare, kick, snare), add some hihats on top, then start messing around and see how changing timing of the kick, snare, etc, changes the beat.

Some times I'll put it stuff in almost at random (usually if layering additional percussion) just to see what sort of weird stuff I can come up with. That technique is usually more miss than hit, though. :P
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23rd October 2012
Old 23rd October 2012
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Percussion wasn't anything I really bothered with until I bought NI Maschine Mikro. I found that some sense of groove is vital to get those perc sounds moving and creating interest. Your drum pads on the midi controller will be fine for this, just experiment. I know that's the half assed answer, but some people can play full perc sections at once, where as I prefer to add each individual element at a time - it's a little tighter and sometimes gives unexpected results. Before that, I was almost exclusively working with other peoples loops that came in DVDs with Furture Music/Computer Music. I know you can get sample packs of just tops loops though, might be worth a look.

You could also grab so cheap hand percussion and do it yourself? I have a few shakers, market ethnic instruments and even things such as lighters and glass bottles in my collection to take sounds from.
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23rd October 2012
Old 23rd October 2012
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i suggest to spend some time with theese .. that might give you an idea

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23rd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioconsult View Post
i suggest to spend some time with theese .. that might give you an idea
There's one thing I haven't tried. The closest I've got is a weird, drum 'skinned' tube filled with dried beans. My general rhythm isn't good enough for something like that unfortunately
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23rd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber_tron View Post
There's one thing I haven't tried. The closest I've got is a weird, drum 'skinned' tube filled with dried beans. My general rhythm isn't good enough for something like that unfortunately
bullshit... you play these things to improove that.. you dont have to go on stage with it..
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23rd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioconsult View Post
bullshit... you play these things to improove that.. you dont have to go on stage with it..
A fair point, I probably would if it was further up on the list of things to do.
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23rd October 2012
Old 23rd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mononym View Post
...
I just dont know how many different percs to use, where to place them (i know how to process to my liking).
...
Is there some checklist somewhere that you're trying to go through?

You don't know what/how to play - do you know how you want it to sound?

Maybe you don't really need/want percussion in you your song?
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23rd October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mononym View Post
and I dont even want to ask about the sound at 1:34(ideas)?
The sound at that point sounds like someone farting into a microphone TBH.
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23rd October 2012
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Yeah I don't really get this question either. I do it in layers. Meaning start with a 4/4 kick, then start adding snare, hats, bass, toms, calves, other perc and fx etc.

try working with loops, cut them up, mix them about, play over them, etc. you might not even need them in the end and can delete them.



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23rd October 2012
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What works for me, when building drum loops, is to use a small section first, then expand it out. So, for example, i build most of my beats within 16 steps. It's easier to get a groove, within a shorter length. Then duplicate that out, adding variations or other hits, where needed.
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23rd October 2012
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some good info/ideas here. Thanx a lot slutz!!
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24th October 2012
Old 24th October 2012
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well got some good things sorted with this perc stuff....but also had another "breakthrough" on treating bass/kick.

weird how this stuff works, try to do one thing and figure out something else...

Here is what I started and I can already hear in my head where I want add more percs but im done with the "studio" today. Got a good start I think...


http://soundcloud.com/dj-dimi-h/october232012

no loops either....but did start with a small loop then expanded to where I didnt need it....good idea on that.
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24th October 2012
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Drum programming it ridiculously tedious but very rewarding when done proper.
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24th October 2012
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Just start out with wav loops and chop them up. Or buy a real drum machine. You'd be better off in Garage Band than Ableton right now. No sequencer will play like a human. Would I want to hear dance music from someone who can't play by hand or imagine a beat? Probably not. It takes real drumming practice or at the very least using pre-programmed stuff.
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24th October 2012
Old 24th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioconsult View Post
bullshit... you play these things to improove that.. you dont have to go on stage with it..
I agree.

A microphone, and things to hit will go a million miles toward livening your tracks up, and they won't sound like every other person using the same percussion samples.
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24th October 2012
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24th October 2012
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Quote:
So maybe this is a workflow thing? Do you build your percussion stuff before bassline/lead? Or do you add percs to complement the bass/lead? Do you think a track should have a complete groove before you even add the bass line/lead? build a groove before you even add a kick
for making drums with one shots i make sampler patches so i don't have to load in new sounds each time. just load up a kit.

i usually start tracks with at least a basic drum groove layed down.

Quote:
any pointers or references or whatever you can offer would help. sample packs I should check out?
sample pack makers are generally stupid. they process the sounds so that when people demo them they sound loud and ready to use in a track. but then u can't compress them yourself because they've already too hot. there's a great free pack of lots of very clean drum machine samples out there. they don't sound ready, but are dry enough for you to add you're own compression effects etc

Quote:
example of percussion I am talking about....how many different instruments do you hear? Are they all off the grid or do they sound on the grid to you?
5 hats. 1 kick. 1 clap. its sounds like it might have slight 16 note swing on it. most DAWs do that.



Is there even a lead in this track?

and I dont even want to ask about the sound at 1:34(ideas)?[/QUOTE]

not a lead just a few spooky synths. at 1.34 he distorted it.
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24th October 2012
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Mononym
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24th October 2012
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24th October 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mononym View Post
***
um ta ta ta ta.. hey ho..here comes the happy farmer.. um ta um ta um ta ta

i know.. not nice.. but.. percussion wont help when you dont use them to get rid of the um ta ta feel
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31st October 2012
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spent some time working on percs....

here is where im at now. 0 loops. (except the atmos loop at the beginning just to fill it in)


http://soundcloud.com/dj-dimi-h/october302012


I never looked at the Ableton Groove stuff before....


and drum pads are fun.

edit: ive been self teaching ableton for about 2 years now.
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