Want to improve my beat programming...

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
esky
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Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by esky » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:59 am

Hello there,

even though i'm in the music programming business for quite a while, i always think my beat programming could be better. So i want to take some time and improve my rhythm programming skills. Do you guys have some ideas, some tatics, any kind of tips? How do you start you beat programming...? Have to say i'm mostly up to slower beats, 4to the floor isn't my cup of tea. And i'm tired of using loops and natural sounding stuff...

Guff Tong
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by Guff Tong » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:23 am

I sometime record myslef tapping a rhythm on desk/bongos etc.. then extract the groove and apply to my written beats. Gives a nice real-feel ...

necho
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by necho » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:17 am

If you have Live 8, use the groove function, Turn off the grid in the MIDI clip view and drag notes around until they feel right. Spend time getting the amp envelopes for each hit as perfect as you can...

I rely on a lot of controlled randomness to get my beats going. I make simple patterns or sample old loops off vinyl, then mangle and glitch them up with supatrigga, beat repeat, modulated filters etc, use the groove engine, apply FX controlled with dummy clips, play with pitch and speed, then bounce down the resulting mess. Then I chop out the bits I like and make composite beats. Then I usually slice these loops to MIDI and layer some hits with individual samples to beef them up. Then I use bussing and compression to really lock the groove down.

This way, its easier to break out of the grid and come up with cool unexpected stuff... in terms of the rhythm and the sounds

*vinyl kick* - *crackle* - *glitch* - *reversed 808 kick* - *bitcrushed snare* - *random noise*

is much more exciting than *kick* - *snare* - *k-kick kick* - *snare* :)
_________
sigs suck.

triss
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by triss » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:42 am

have a look at claves and see if you can find infomration about breaking bars down in to three or five using pattrens like 3+3+2 or 3+3+3+4.

think that wikipedia covers most of these things in the rhythm section.


magestro
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by magestro » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:07 pm

My 2 cents, though i know there are way more experienced guys on this forum that might teach some knowledge.

Let timing loose, drum/clap etc. more than a 2 bar Loop, ait best all through the whole song and do only correct those obvious bad hits.

Extract Grooves from your old vinyl faves etc. and analyze those. Try (re)build them with you own sounds.

generally try to change patterns and move those midi slighty away from the grid, just slighty to keep it human! work with midi velocity to keep gain changes happening and use more than one Sample on those different types of hit.

to give it a more natural touch i started buying percussion stuff, one in a time for the last four years. Adding this in tracks keeps interest for the listener and its not expensive at all. You might even build your own Shaker etc.

read about all those drum stuff i did not care about for years like ghost notes, paradiddles etc.


BTW:
http://warp.net/records/flying-lotus/la ... itum-video

Download the free track from FlyL0 - aunties lock with lifeforce, it should show that you can do 4tothefloor and stay slow and funky, but just my oppinion :)

Angstrom
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by Angstrom » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:14 pm

get an old break and slow it down then put an EQ8 after it, create a narrow pass band so you can (pretty much) single out each kick drum/snare/hat strike if you sweep that band up and down the spectrum.
using this audio microscope will help you to hear what these excellent drummers are actually doing with each drum and when.

In addition to that, extracting the timing info to midi will show you how their grooves work by dragging and pushing the beat.

There's a lot which a pro drummer can do 'naturally' that is hard to hear when it flies by in real time with all the drums overlaying each others frequencies.

scientist
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by scientist » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:19 pm

buy a nanopad and 'practice' playing live along with music you think is rhythmically interesting. pretty much anything with creative drumming will do... james brown, led zeppelin, lee perry. even if the goal isn't to be a proficient pad drummer you'll still learn a lot about how drum parts work.

q.musgrove
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by q.musgrove » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:23 am

don't know if you mean production wise only? I could say as far as the compositional aspects of the programing/

think of each drum sound as it's independent instrument (especially when it comes time to write fills or color if you will) and give them each a stand alone rhythm outside/on top of/in lieu of the beef of the rythm track as a whole. Like rhythmic counterpoint.

Create some subtle variation's of each of the core drum sounds to use as spice.

Use velocity for sure to deepen that pocket.

Do you have any beats you are currently working on? I'd love to hear if there's anything I can actually offer yah!

Illiac
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by Illiac » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:37 am

scientist wrote:buy a nanopad and 'practice' playing live along with music you think is rhythmically interesting. pretty much anything with creative drumming will do... james brown, led zeppelin, lee perry. even if the goal isn't to be a proficient pad drummer you'll still learn a lot about how drum parts work.
+1

Being a good pad drummer isn't a bad route either. The amount of time it would take me to program a rhythm in a piano roll verses banging it out i realtime on pads and tweaking that is several times more.

jasefos
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by jasefos » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:42 am

Guff Tong wrote:I sometime record myslef tapping a rhythm on desk/bongos etc.. then extract the groove and apply to my written beats. Gives a nice real-feel ...
Absolutely! This works a treat.
Groove quantising is the key.

Live suddenly became as attractive for me as Cubase once facility was added for Groove Quantising.

Maschine has made a *big* difference to my beat programming as well. It has stopped me thinking about making blobs on a screen all line up nicely on grids and instead focus on performing my own beats with some funk away from the computer - using a big long USB cable I program beats on the coffee table (or with Maschine sitting on top of the laptop with the lid closed at a coffee shop).

Cheers!
JaseFOS

-Live10.1 |Push2|Maschinemk2|KeyLab61|LaunchPad|MCUpro|MCExt|MCExt|iPad2|TouchABLE2
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emef
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by emef » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:54 am

drums?

not rocket science is it

The Carpet Cleaner
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by The Carpet Cleaner » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:27 am

It's all too hard if you are not a drummer.

Just listen to drum loops, from different sources : CD samples, refill/REX files, etc...
Import a sample that you find particularly groovy.
Apply high pass filter to remove bass drum, but keep the attack though.
Add an electronic kick drum 4 on the floor with a fixed velocity.
Apply parrallel compression.
Dont forget to sidechain the rest of the tracks (but not the drum stem) with the elecronic kick drum.

Your song is almost done :lol:

nuxnamon
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by nuxnamon » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:48 am

for me, NI Maschine was a big difference.. everyone has stated valid points but one that hasn't been mentioned yet is workflow and that's where Maschine shines..

Slightlydelic
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Re: Want to improve my beat programming...

Post by Slightlydelic » Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:05 am

esky wrote:Hello there,

even though i'm in the music programming business for quite a while, i always think my beat programming could be better. So i want to take some time and improve my rhythm programming skills. Do you guys have some ideas, some tatics, any kind of tips? How do you start you beat programming...? Have to say i'm mostly up to slower beats, 4to the floor isn't my cup of tea. And i'm tired of using loops and natural sounding stuff...

if you want to move away from samples and natural sounds, have a look at operator drumatic and drumtonic.

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