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MIDI drum tracks

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Howard K, Dec 17, 2002.


  1. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    OK, I'm programming MIDI drum tracks, all the beats are in the 'right' place, but it just doesn't groove nicely?!
    What percentage swing would you add/ shoudl I add to make it groove - as much as is possibel with MIDI drums.
    I've experiemented but I'm not 100% sure what adding swing is doing to the rhythm?

    Help?!
    :)
     
  2. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Adding Swing, would mean that it would swing the 8th notes. So, two even 8th notes would become two swung 8th notes - i.e. the first is twice as long as the second, but they still add up to one quarter note. I suppose the percentage would indicate how 'uneven' it makes the 8th notes. I guess 33% would be what you would call swing, but I'm not entirely sure how the percentage thing works.
     
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Yeah this is it exactly.

    I know that it adds "swing" to each beat/division of the bar, but what that actually means in terms of actual physical feel I don't know?!

    I thought swung 8th notes were basically played as a triplet missing the middle beat.

    1-(2)-3 1-(2)-3 1-(2)-3 1-(2)-3 kinda thing?
     
  4. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I think another important part of making MIDI drums or drum machines more lifelike is adjusting velocities. If a real drummer played your drum track, he/she would naturally accent some hits and on others use a lighter touch.

    I've thrown this out before on several forums and it sounds silly but it's very effective - "air drum" your patterns before programming them. This will help you get a feel to get a feel for how velocity might vary, then you can adjust as necessary (or as long as you patience allows). It's a pretty tedious process, but it does pay off.

    Air drumming will also help ensure that your patterns are something one drummer can play on one drum kit - assuming that's what your'e after. For example, you may not want the ride cymbal continuing on the 8's while you're also doing a fill.
     
  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Swing on drum machines is a rather weird thing. For starters, you need to know whether it 16th note or 8th note swing - my Zoom 234 will only swing 8th notes which, although fine for jazz is not right for funk or hiphop. Consequently I have to program those styles in double-time. Swing seems to be measured as a percentage, varying between completely straight, 0% swing, right through to 100% swing, ie. notes are played on the first and third triplet.

    Accenting is extremely important as well, as is how you on the bass move around the drums, thus making them feel laid back or on top of the beat. It is long-winded getting drum tracks to groove but sometimes seems a lot easier than finding a drummer that really gets it!

    Alex
     
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Thanks loads of the info guys.. the air drumming is a damned good idea! I'll try that next time.

    FYI I'm not using a drum machine per say, I'm using Steinberg LM4 - velocity volume tone etc are all there.
     
  7. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Ahhh so 0% swing is straight, and 100% swing is proper triplet-feel swing. I see.
     
  8. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I have to make sure I do that when my family is either out of the house or all in bed. My wife wet her pants laughing the first time she caught me doing that.

    She still thinks it's hysterical, but she's a musician too and at least she understands why I do it.
     
  9. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Yep, it's so embarassing being caught fully rocking out while you're practicing or listening to music!

    When I'm working on stuff for one of me bands and I'm trying to write a bass line I usually listen to whatever demo I've been given and sing along the bass line... bom, bom, bom etc... I must look like a right idiot singing basslines to myself wearing a walkman!
     
  10. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    None.
    the program FRUITY LOOPS has the most natural SWING i've ever heard.

    f
     
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Hmm, i've tried fruityloops, but didnt get on with it... i'll have to give it another go i guess