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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section


    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.




    Lets make the drum track more interesting Pt 1.....
    .
    by DCC

    Right, now lets make the drum track more interesting! How many times have you heard this from fellow musicians your working with or even from yourself in the back of youíre mindÖYES itís up to you because YOUíRE the programmer, probably using YOUíRE gear in YOUíRE home so its down to YOU to make the tea for everyone and get shot of that boring drum loop thatís only there temporarily for the timing. In my experience the majority of programmers seem to be keyboard players so most of the time everyone will be happy with the keyboard parts, bass lines etc. but "Iím not a drummer so donít expect to much".

    Easily solved get someone else to do it! just kidding. I suppose Iím a guitarist first and foremost but over the 270 yrs Iíve been playing (well thatís what it feels like anyway) Iíve probably listened to more drummers than I have guitar players especially since I acquired my first drum machine and got heavily into the percussion side of things. Without being a drummer you can still work wonders with your drum tracks by feeling the song rather than just hearing it, and to be honest all the drummers Iíve worked with over the years are not programmers anyway, it goes against all they believe in. I feel that a lot of the time the programmed music Iíve heard leaves it up to the other instruments to give the song its light and shade. Try listening to recordings of good modern jazz, jazz rock, or the many forms of fusion music were you tend to get the top drummers involved, even if you hate these styles intensely try and bare with it by concentrating on the drums and listening to what drum instrument is played, where and how its played in curtain parts of the music to give the song itís different textures, this can be very helpful when you go back and start working on youíre drum tracks, so if youíre clever and youíve managed to send everyone home by frothing up tooth paste in youíre mouth and pretending to faint, (this technique is also useful when faced with a long queue) you will be guaranteed piece and quiet for a good few days to have a go at this simple but very effective experiment on your own without anyone looking over youíre shoulder!

    Single out one of those boring 4 bar copied drum patterns to start with, which donít forget are only there temporarily for the timing as far as the people youíve frightened off were concerned (donít use this excuse too often) and for argument sake say your highest velocity is averaging at 127, take every drum note down equally so your highest is around 100, maybe change the hihat to a ride and donít just hear the difference FEEEEEL it, as Bruce Lee would say. It can make any instrument playing over that newly edited part stand out rather than making that particular instrument (guitar lead whatever) louder to prove its point. This is the tip of the iceberg and obvious to the more experienced programmer, Iím just using this as a starting point for those that are new to all this. The part that drums play in programmed and live music of course is crucial to the overall feel of a song. Look at heavy metal for instance; I guess the defining instrument would arguably be the very heavily distorted guitar. Ask the guitarist to turn all the distortion off, (donít forget to duck just as you get to the word *Off*) and thump away for a while with a clean sound, obviously it wouldnít be the same but passable maybe, ask the drummer to change from his 127 piece rock kit to a 4 piece jazz kit and use brushes then Iíd just run if I were you, Iím sure you understand what Iím getting at, the feel of the whole set up would change dramatically.

    Download this midi file first:Here and look at the different velocities Iíve used, it doesnít sound to good like this because you will not have the sounds I used, this notices more on the snare parts as you will hear. Now listen to the: file and notice the difference, Iíve used the exact arrangement, velocities, note positions etc. I personally think to get a real feel full groove going you must concentrate on the volumes and what drum sounds you use for each note. In the mp3 sample Iíve used six different snare sounds, 2 for the main snares and 4 for the very light grace snares. You can get away with using the brush sounds in general midi for the grace snares but I would suggest editing your own. If this is not possible then there are ways around it, which I will talk about in another issue.

    Every thing I've written in this article is purely my opinion and REMEMBER. If sitting there playing the chord of G for 2 hrs gives you immense pleasure then so be it thatís what musicís all about.

    DC Cornelius.

    Make sure you catch all the great Tips from DC Cornelius
    Tips #1  I  Tips #2  I  Tips #3  I 

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