Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One Key Drum Programming Tips


Ever had trouble timing drums on a keyboard? Use this tip to consolidate your drums onto one key to reduce errors.

How it works: Accents trigger fast snare and bass drum (high velocity), and normal strikes (low to high velocity) just play bass drum and optionally a soft/quiet/blended snare. This allows you to naturally play rock rhythms on the same key and frees up other fingers.

For this to work you'll need a sampler that supports custom velocity sensitivity and at least two samples per key. I used the V-Synth. I'm sure this will work in Reason or anything remotely modern.

1. Find your drum samples. Bass, Snare etc. Setup zones or make keymappings for drums.

2. Place a Bass Kick - 0-127 Linear Velocity (straight upward graph) on Middle C. This is OSC1 on the V-synth

3. Place a Fast Snare - 100-127 High Velocity (highly peaked graph) also on Middle C. This is OSC2 on the V-synth

Thats it. Now its slightly easier to play rhymthms on a keyboard using a single key.

BONUS TIP: Make a bass drum sound slightly more real! Using a variation of above you can blend a bass drum sample and a soft snare. Why would you want to do this? In real life when you press the bass pedal your resonating the surrounding drums (the snare's springs). In studios where samples are recorded their goal is to isolate sounds and make sure this doesn't happen. If your using samples from entirely different kits or electronic drums this method will blend them. If we add a soft snare sample to our kick drum at much lower volume you can blend them like its coming from one drumset. Make sure you use appropriate velocities for this. You don't want the snare to actually sound like an accent or compete with the real snare.

I hope this helps people make more natural sounding drum rhythyms or inspires someone to do something new with sample layers.

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