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Unread 09-06-2009, 06:23 PM   #1
Rufus Alexander
 
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Drum Theory Help

I'm not a drummer, and im trying to write my own music. I downloaded a program called Rhythm Rascal, very nice drum machine for 20$. I'm trying to get an idea of how to write drums for my songs. I know how to work the program just dont know how to start writing the beat. Any help would be great.

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

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Unread 09-06-2009, 07:25 PM   #2
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Are you having problems with metric organization (time signatures), or where to put the different drums?



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Unread 09-06-2009, 08:07 PM   #3
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Where to put different drums. How and when to accent the bass drum, or when to use it, how evenly the double bass should be applied. When to use the hi-hat, etc. I read drum tabs and try to get an idea, but when it comes down to it, I'm lost in doing something original for myself. But, I'm sure ill get lost with the time signatures in due time. When I write, I feel lost because I have no foundation or base with the drums and I'm just playing.

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"The Edge....there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are those who have gone over."

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Unread 09-06-2009, 09:35 PM   #4
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I suppose that it depends on the style that you're playing, but snares and cymbals are typically used to accent beats in metal. There are a few models that we use for meter in Western music, and I can explain those pretty easily. The first is the simple meter, which you are probably most familiar with. These are divided into duplets. Here are some examples, say what is written out loud, and clap on every number, and you should have a good feel of the meter:
2 - 1 & 2 &
3 - 1 & 2 & 3 &
4 - 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

What you should remember of each meter is that you accent the first beat the strongest, and every other main beat (the ones with the numbers) a bit weaker. 3 is kind of the exception to this when it is played fast.

The next class of meters has a triplet division. They are called the compound meters. Check it:
6 - 1 & a 2 & a
9 - 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a
12 - 1 & a 2 & a 3 & a 4 & a

Compound meters have a main beat which is divided into three equal notes, rather than two.

The remaining type of meter, odd meter, couples groups of two and three (unless you're talking about divisive meter, but I think the additive style is more intuitive, so that's what I'll show you). The smallest odd meter is 5, which can be represented as 2+3, or 3+2.
5 (2+3) - 1 2 3 4 5
5 (3+2) - 1 2 3 4 5

Accent the groupings according to the bold number.

As you add more groupings, the number of possibilities for accenting patterns open up. 7 can be 2+2+3, 2+3+2, or 3+2+2. I use this song a lot as an example of a meter of 7:



It's not seven throughout, but the part that is in seven is quite prominent. At 2:22, you'll hear a grouping that goes 2+2+3. There's a short measure of 4 thrown in there, but you should be able to pick up the 7 again.

This obviously isn't taking syncopation into account, but we're taking baby steps here.

As for where to put which drum, I can't help much. I'm not a drummer, you see. Maybe TonalArchitect will chime in. However, I remember seeing this video a long time ago, and thought it was pretty insightful:




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Unread 09-06-2009, 09:39 PM   #5
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Well, I am trying to write for metal...and I more than appreciate your help and advice...

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

"The Edge....there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are those who have gone over."

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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:07 PM   #6
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Hmm. Try this:

Starts in 12, the second and fourth main beats are accented with a snare, and the triplet division is played by the ride cymbal. Change to meter of 4 at 0:47, with snare on every main beat for a little while. Strong accents with the cymbal at 1:18, gives accenting over to the snare and kick, with every downbeat accented with cymbal. Changes back to meter of 12 at 3:01, and there's other fun stuff in there. So long as you can count it, you can figure out how to accent it, and with which instruments.



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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:12 PM   #7
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Hmmmmmmm....... I'll work with that...I'm off for the next two days, so I plan on shelling out something...

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

"The Edge....there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are those who have gone over."

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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:26 PM   #8
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Granted, black metal drumming is not the be all and end all of metal drumming styles. Something like this is obviously going to be different:

At 1:08, the china cymbal marks count 1 or a meter of 4, with the ride cymbal on every beat, and the snare on beat 3. At 1:24, the ride cymbal plays 1&2&3&4&. When it picks up at 1:38, the cymbal is playing every beat, with the snare on 2 and 4.

Just listen to stuff and make note of where drummers put things.



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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:30 PM   #9
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So, you think I should lay the drums down afterward or can it be done either way? before or after?

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

"The Edge....there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are those who have gone over."

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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:35 PM   #10
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Whatever works. That Emperor track, to me, sounds like it was done with everything else, then the drums, and the Slayer track sounds to me like the drums were more integral to the composition phase. Some people find that it helps to have a beat going behind them when they come up with something, others can work it in later. And there's nothing to prevent you from going in and fixing the guitar or drum part later.



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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:39 PM   #11
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Yeah, I've just felt lost without some type of beat structure, i mean riffing out for hours is great, but i feel some kind of beat will help me associate with something solid after I play with it over and over. Instead of having these ADD like tactic/antics....

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

"The Edge....there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are those who have gone over."

-HST
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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:44 PM   #12
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If you can hear any sort of drum beat in your head while you play, I'd recommend that you try to recreate it on your drum program so that you have something to work with.



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Unread 09-06-2009, 10:47 PM   #13
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Yeah, alright....

"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

"The Edge....there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are those who have gone over."

-HST
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Unread 09-07-2009, 04:37 PM   #14
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Okay, SchecterWhore covered some metric theory and such, I'll give you some really practical advice and some basic parts and paradigms. Then later I'll give you some more advanced bits of drumming. Don't worry; I'll give examples of each that you can program so that you can hear this. Examples are in bold, for ease of reading and to break up the monotony.


Here's the "Table of Contents"

I. Basic rhythms-- no implied doubling
II. Doubled rhythms-- (don't skip to this section!) Common in metal
III. Blast Beats-- Extreme Metal bludgeoning
IV. Fills
V. Linear Rhythms and Rudiments-- Interesting shit!


Okay, so in metal we have (at least) three big slabs of options:

1.) The drums have their own rhythm and emphasize the pulse (meter).

2.) Part of the drums (nearly always the kick drums) double the rhythm of the guitars while the other instruments in the kit keep basic time. This seems to be the predominant form we hear now

3.) Blast beats and other "specialty" rhythms.

Okay, so let's go in order, yuh?

Section I

The basic rhythm of rock is the backbeat. Which looks like this

(H.H. = hi-hat; Kick= bass drum; and Sn = Snare. Each "-" represents a single 16th note. The spacing might be slightly off, so count the "-"'s if you get confused. A "0" represents a hit on whatever part of the kit the line indicates. Use whatever tempo seems appropriate, but try between 120 and 200 BPM for most examples.)

H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn ----0-------0---
Kick 0-------0-------

This is omnipresent; nearly every rock beat revolves around this. The hi-hat usually plays quarter notes or eighth notes. The kick can also do "four on the floor," or all quarter notes.

H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn ----0-------0---
Kick 0---0---0---0---


What's next? Embellishment of the kick and snare rhythms while keeping the beat clear.

Try this bass drum rhythm with an 8th- or quarter-note hi-hat (or ride cymbal) pulse and snare on beats 2 & 4

H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn ----0-------0---
Kick 0-0---0-00----


or
H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn ----0-------0---
4/4 0--0----00-0---


On this one, the bass drum and snare line up.

Okay, now let's look at snare stuff. What we usually hear on the 2 & 4 are full velocity strokes, meaning that the drummer is laying into them pretty well. Sometimes you want other, subtler rhythms on the snare as well. These are usually softer hits, called ghost notes. The different doesn't have to be huge, just a little-- or a lot, depending on the context.

So here we go!

H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn ---00---00--0---
Kick 0-------0-------


Or (have the non-2 & 4 snare hits fairly quite)

H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn 0-000---00--0--0
Kick 0-------0-------


You can also have sweet hi-hat grooves like this:

H.H. 00000-0000-0-
Sn ----0-------0--0
Kick 0-------0-------


Accent the hi-hat on beats 1 & 3 and use an "open" hi-hat on beats 2 & 4 using a foot splash to "close" it on the next note. All other hi-hat hits are "closed." Try it at 140 BPM.

And, of course, here's 16th-note bass drum rhythm:

H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn ---00---00--0---
Kick 0000000000000000


There are tons of possibilities; these are just to get you thinking. Listen to industrial music for some interesting ghost stuff that keeps the beat at the center of attention.

Section II

All right, so now we get to the style that's so predominant (perhaps somewhat overplayed) in metal right now: doubling.

It's used by quite a few bands, but it's integral to the styles of bands like Fear Factory and Meshuggah. The guitars and bass play a rhythm which is doubled by the kick drums. This is usually a fairly syncopated figure, especially with Meshuggah, so in order to retain sanity, the drummer keeps a simple pulse, usually quarter notes in 4/4, on the cymbal with a snare accent, either a back beat or a hit on the third beat of 4/4 (really just a half time backbeat).

So example time! (remember, each - equals one 16th note)

Guitar rhythm:

4/4 000-0-00-00-0--0


So use rhythm on the kick drum and put a quarter note pulse on the hi-hat cymbal and a snare on the third beat. Repeat this figure two or more times.


Try this with the snare on the 2nd and 3rd beats and try with the hi-hat playing eighth notes. Mix and match.
H.H. 0---0----0---0----|
Sn ---------- 0--------|
Kick 000-0-00-00-0--0|


Other kick rhythms to try
H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn ---00---00--0---
Kick 0--0-00-00-0--0-


This one's in 12/8
H.H. 0-----0-----0-----0-----
Sn ------0-----------0-----
Kick 000-00000---00000-000-00


For this one, remember that the pulses are dotted quarter notes, but you could try it with 'regular' quarters, though it would be (technically) 6/4.

5/4 Hurray!

H.H. 0---0---0---0--0-0
Sn --------0-----------
Kick 00-000-000-000000---


(Do a foot splash to close the hi-hat for the eighth-note at the end.)

You can try the snare on each pulse, on the 2nd and 4th beats, or on the third beat. It'll be a tad staggard, but that's the fun of odd meters.

Okay, I'm sure you get the idea now. Be careful not to use this as a crutch for a lack of rhythmic ideas though. Sections like this will be considerably more crushing if they aren't used all the time.

Section III

Here we are at blast beats-- a very effective piece of percussion if applied properly.

What I find important about typical blast beats (I don't claim to be the expert, though) is a one-two eighth-note-like alternation given by-- often-- the snare.

Here's a fairly typical example in 4/4

H.H. 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Kick 0000000000000000


You can get ones in 12/8, too.

H.H. 0--0--0--0--0--0--
Sn 0--0--0--0--0--0--
Kick 000000000000000000000000


(Pretend it lines up)

You can also have an alteration between bas and snare:

H.H. -0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0
Sn -0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0
Kick 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-


Feel free to use the ride cymbal in place of the hi-hat.

Not a very comprehensive section, I know, but I'm not the master of blasting, and this covers the basics. Do whatever you want, but know that the pummeling sound of the snare (and fast double bass) is-- to me-- indicative of the style.

As a general rule, use blast beats to offset more open sections (such as with a doubling rhythm on the kick) with more closed, chaotic sections (blasts and tremolo-based guitar riffs, perhaps).

Here's an example: (250 BPM)

H.H. 0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0---
Sn --------0-------------0-0-------
Kick 000-0-0---0-0---000-0-0-00-0-0


(As a verse-type thing, then go into)

Ride 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Sn 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-
Kick 0000000000000000



Section IV

Fills and things.

Okay, so we expect some kind of change after every, oh about four bars, at least before going back to either the same or another groove.

Here’s some (Shitty; I'm getting tired) examples

16th-note snare only

H.H. -----------------------
Sn 0000000000000000
Kick -------------------


A double kick fill in 5/4

Sn ----0000-----00-00-0-
Tom--------0000---
Kick 0000---------


Of course, you could just have a measure or two of a different (often busier) groove

Such as

Sn 00-000-000-0--0-
Kick 0000000000000000


Listen to your favorite drummer for some fill ideas; I can't think of many now-- might post some later....

Section V

Linear grooves and other stuff

In most of these examples, there has been at least some times where two or more instruments have been struck at the same time. In linear grooves, instruments are only played alone. Often, in examples of linear grooves, you’ll find that the beat is still outlined.


H.H.--00--00-0----00
Sn 0---0-------0---
Kick-0---0--0-00-0--


(Remember, count the "-"'s

or

H.H. -00--00-0--0-00-
Sn ----0-------0---
Kick 0--0--0-00----0


or

H.H.---0-00-0--0--00
Sn 00--0-------0---
Kick--0----0-00--0--


Now we can learn Rudiments-- basic rhythms which make up a "language" of drumming. Derived from the snare drum.

This is a paradiddle (R= right L = left)

RLRR LRLL

Okay so apply that to the kit, say ghosts on the snare and some hi hat hits.

H.H.-0--0-00
Sn 0-00-0--


Then add a bass drum rhythm

H.H.-0--0-00-0--0-00
Sn 0-00-0--0-00-0--
Kick 0--0----0--0---


It's a groove!

(Make damn sure that the snare hits are ghosts)

Mess around with the other Rudiments--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudiments--applying the sticking to the kit.

Okay, I'm tired now. Try stuff out. This should get you going.

I'll just pull my santa hat down over my eyes and think about Batman fighting a bear. -TomAwesome
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