Creating realistic drum patterns.

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
steved
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Creating realistic drum patterns.

Post by steved » Sat Nov 20, 2004 8:07 am

How do you use Live to create interesting / realistic drum patterns ? I have developed a way that seems to work pretty well -

Use Battery or similar -

Create 7 midi tracks that output to Battery. Label the tracks - kick , snare, hats and then pattern 1, 2 ,3 ,4 Each track has the following plugins - pitch, random, velocity. Controls are assigned to a midi controller including a mute for each track. I guess this method only really works if you use a midi controller.

Create a range of simple short clips for each track - clips consist of rhythmic patterns triggering just one note - but some of the patterns might use 2 or 3 notes. The hats patterns use 2 notes to trigger open and closed.

Start off triggering clips for the kick, snare, hats. The pitch control can be used to select which drums are triggered by which tracks. Use the pitch control to set the outputs from the first three tracks to kick snare and hats. If you have the Battery plugin screen open - you can easily see which drums are being triggered as you tune each clip with the pitch control. It's also easy to mute individual drums in Battery - I find I often end up muting the crash cymbals and things like hand claps etc.

Use the plugins to create a live feel - the kicks are pretty straight, snare has a small degree of randomness and a little random velocity, hats benefit from a little more random velocity. The nice thing is that you can customise the controls of the seven tracks to try and emulate what a real drummer would be doing - and when you create patterns live you can instantly move from a very tight beat to a Keith Moon thrash.

Clips can be triggered in a variety of ways depending on the desired effect and your preferred method of working - but using follow clips on the snare track makes it easy to create fill / variety on the 4th or 8 th bar.

Now the fun begins - experiment with the 4 remaining tracks - especially with pitch tuning and randomness. One track could be tuned to play percusssion, one for the toms, cymbals etc. I played around for several hours and the process became pretty intuitive. Small tweaks to the controls can make all the difference. It's easy to have a basic rhythm and then feed in any degree of variety - from a few toms to a complete jazz drum solo - and I'm telling you - once you get the hang of it it's bloody awsome. - and really easy to do.

Take the example of 16th note pattern. Played straight on the hats it's very robotic - add velocity randomness it sounds a lot better - alter the pitch and the pattern moves round the kit - Spinal Tap toms etc. - then - alter the Random chance and choices and the pattren is sprayed around the kit - either in a very controlled way - say between a snare and a rim shot - or right round the whole kit - just by altering the Random filter choices control. And while this is going on the kick snare and hats are chugging away nicely ( but with their own degree of randomness / human feel ) - otherwise it would be complete anarchy - and we can't have that now can we ....... ?

When things sound good - resample. I found that I could easily create 50 useable 16 bar patterns in half an hour.

If you want to get really clever you can output different drum groups from Battery to separate audio tracks for dedicated eq/ effects. The whole thing obviously sounds better with some compression.

Anyway - I'd be interested to hear peoples views/suggestions. Try and do this in Logic 7 with idrum - I think not. Ok - I'm sure some environment wizz kid will prove me wrong.

Steve.
Nocturn early adopter ....

atomic
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Post by atomic » Sat Nov 20, 2004 8:49 am

Thanks for that post. It has given me a couple of ideas and the burning desire to run out and buy battery 2.0 and a good midi controller. ahhh monies monies and then some more monies and then off to work! will it ever end?

still not regretting buying live for a second though I must say!

Peace

Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Sat Nov 20, 2004 12:56 pm

cool post, steve. I'd start with pounding out the 4ths, 8ths and 16ths on a midi controller for a minute or two. Live unfortunately can't loosen up the quantize or the clips --- yet. A midi delay effect with a random knob would be nice....
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

steved
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thanks ...

Post by steved » Sat Nov 20, 2004 1:31 pm

Good idea machinate - thanks. So is it not possible to turn off quantise when recording midi clips ?- I've just tried recording some patterns - but they are well and truly stuck to the grid. I know you can change the grid resolution down to 1/128 - and move the beats around manually. Is it possible to import quantised midi clips? There seems to be a very limited quantise choice compared with logic.
Nocturn early adopter ....

Machinate
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Re: thanks ...

Post by Machinate » Sat Nov 20, 2004 7:09 pm

steved wrote:Good idea machinate - thanks. So is it not possible to turn off quantise when recording midi clips ?- I've just tried recording some patterns - but they are well and truly stuck to the grid. I know you can change the grid resolution down to 1/128 - and move the beats around manually. Is it possible to import quantised midi clips? There seems to be a very limited quantise choice compared with logic.
it is, it's just hidden away in the edit menu... the problem is that any record q. is *permanent* unlike in logic. I really hope they chenge this, or at least allow it to be set per track...
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

bigbone
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Post by bigbone » Sat Nov 20, 2004 7:23 pm

Get a REAL drummer....he know how,,,,,,
:wink:
Pbook G4 1.5MHz 2GB ram, tiger, live 4.0.1

::mic-minimal::
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Post by ::mic-minimal:: » Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:11 pm

great post steve, anybody else got something useful to add, I love drum tips
for the love of Live

supster
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Post by supster » Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:22 am

Wow ... thanks, not sure what you mean by some things tho:

"pitch control can be used to select which drums are triggered by which tracks"

Lost me there, you're talking about the built in midi pitch right? You are using pitch to somehow change which drum sample in Battery plays?

steved
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Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:13 pm
Location: Lancaster, UK.

pitch control using Live Pitch plugin

Post by steved » Sun Nov 21, 2004 7:26 am

Use the Live Pitch plugin. It will convert incoming midi notes - and as each drum sound is assigned to a particular note, altering the note will trigger different drums. It will not alter the pitch of the drums themselves. So when you create your midi clips it doesnt really matter what notes you use because using the pitch control you can make the pattern trigger any of the cells in Battery.

By the way. I was playing around yesterday using a second Battery plugin loaded with slices created in Recycle. Lots of fun to be had there too - especially creating more complex midi clips - patterns that use 4 or 5 notes - then using the pitch control to audition the effect of triggering different groups of samples. I guess I used to do the same sort of thing in Logic by moving midi patterns up and down the grid - but using a midi controller assigned to the pitch control is so much easier.

Steve
Nocturn early adopter ....

raapie
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..

Post by raapie » Sun Nov 21, 2004 7:40 am

randomness is not what makes something realistc in my opinion. a good drummer is using feel which is totally different from randomness.

it's best to play rhythm patterns by live playing instead of programming in my opinion, because playing with feel is the best sounding. it's cool to focus on a groove. you might try to 'push' the hihats a bit and play them before the beats. it's also very cool to push the snare a bit, for example push the 2 and not the 4. also: play different grooves for different parts of the song. a good drummer might push some parts, but will maybe play a little behind the beat on other parts.

playing grooves is all about tension and release. there's so much good stuff available. I prefer Brazilan rhythm players, drummers, percussionist, guitarplayers etc.

good luck all for swinging, pushing and playing around the beat :D
Marco Raaphorst

music, sound & story maker

https://melodiefabriek.com

hoffman2k
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Post by hoffman2k » Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:22 pm

Thanks for the tips

the scale effect adds even more fun to this. so far i got over 50 scale presets, wich are very usefull when experimenting with random stuff.
It's also a great way to discover new melody's.
maybe assign some knobs to the chord effect to layer up some sounds on the fly.

a good way to discover rythms when your new to drum programming is having a look at some of the many wonderfull midifiles out there.
If you have lots of them, make 16 midi channels send to a drumsampler.
Load up lots of midifiles and start triggering.
some of the files are just named by tracknumber, some others are just various notes in one midi clip. But the good ones have labels like 'clap' 'hitom'...

Cheers

B

mcconaghy
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Post by mcconaghy » Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:42 pm

Another little tip is always vary the velocity levels slightly. A real drummer can't hit at the same velocity every single time.
Also, if you're programming 16ths on the hats, imagine the drummer using both hands on the hi-hats, meaing every time he hits the snare, the hi-hat pattern drops out for 1 16th note.
What I do, since I'm a drummer, is I won't quantize what I've programmed. If it's close enough, and has a feel to it, I'll leave it.

Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Sun Nov 21, 2004 5:47 pm

mcconaghy wrote: if you're programming 16ths on the hats, imagine the drummer using both hands on the hi-hats, meaing every time he hits the snare, the hi-hat pattern drops out for 1 16th note.
the exception would be funky drummer.

mcconaghy
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Post by mcconaghy » Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:47 pm

Machinate wrote:
mcconaghy wrote: if you're programming 16ths on the hats, imagine the drummer using both hands on the hi-hats, meaing every time he hits the snare, the hi-hat pattern drops out for 1 16th note.
the exception would be funky drummer.
The immortal Clyde Stubblefield plays the hihat pattern with one hand on that track, so obviously there wouldn't be a drop-out there. It's primarily a feel thing, in a more driving setting you'd have the drummer using both hands, in a more relaxed, groove-oriented setting the drummer would probably use one hand.

JAMM
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Jamm

Post by JAMM » Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:12 pm

I use the gate effect a lot on my drum clips, expecialy on the hihats.
Experiment with the amount of gating or with the attack/release/hold
you can create a totally different timing of "feeling" with it.
Also experiment to put a compressor or other effects in front of the gate and control the amount of effect with it.
On my live gigs i also use the gate in my master channel end constanly tweak the controls with a midi controller.
Try it... you will be amazed with the results.

Greetinz Jamm :wink:

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