book? tutorial? help?

John Verity2 987 views5 posts
  • John Verity

    Hi, I am fairly new to electronic music-making but have always been fascinated with drumming and rhythm and dance music - electronic and otherwise. I just bought Microtonic and am getting to know it; it is very powerful and somewhat intimidating, I have to admit, but I think it will be a fun instrument to learn. I am working with it as a plug-in to/for/within AudioMulch.

    I am wondering if anyone here might suggest any good books or websites or documents about creating good drum tracks and using them in recordings. I am listening carefully to electronic music I like -mostly by a guy named Uwe Schmidt, aka Atom Heart and Atom TM and Sr. Coconut, who is a true master of rhythm - and trying to mimic it, which sometimes can be difficult, but I am also looking for some principles and rules of thumb and lessons - some wisdom, in other words that might help me organize my thoughts and learning and listening. The more I listen, the more I come to believe that it is drum rhythms, whether synthetic or analog, that make the most exciting and moving pop and dance music do what it does.

    Thanks in advance for any input!

    Yours in, for now, 4/4,


  • Jason Anderson

    I'm going to approach this from another angle... I am not being sarcastic at all, I am rather being very serious... I do the same myself.

    Google paired with YouTube or Vimeo... your best friends for this kind of question. It is MUCH talked about in many of the popular well-established populated electronic music forums around the net as well. I think it would take someone much time to explain it all here (although it might be seen as appropriate due to the fact that MicroTonic is a drum machine) Perhaps all the ins and outs will end up here one day ;)

    It is best that you collect articles/videos from the net like I do, into a Music Production favourites articles folder in your browser bookmarks and then make another sub-folder for Drums...Synth programming...Production...etc. Just start browsing and adding stuff because IT TAKES A LOT OF REeeeeeeADING AND even MOREEEE EXPERIMENTING

    Well, one thing I have in my bookmarks is this very helpful article about the subject of drum programming and working with loops and getting ideas onto the grid (my original link was dead but I found it posted anew): http://thewombforums...thread.php?t=80

    It is important to start simple and progress >>>>>>>>.

    It is that way with everything big one wishes to accomplish. Drum programming is no different. So... do not feel limited by starting your experimentation stage using a 4 beat to measure pattern and learning to become proficient with MT with only these simple patterns (at first).

    Also, have you read the manual from cover to cover yet? Please do yourself a favour and do that first. And DO it WHILE you HAVE MT OPEN in front of you. Nothing beats training yourself in a practical manner!! Never read a manual without having the device open to experiment.

    Then play with a basic beat and devise a general workflow using your new MT drum machine. There's lots of cool shortcuts within this drum machine (it's purely digital construction...why not) It won't be long before you will understand how to use it and it will become MUCH less intimidating the MORE you actually take the time to sit and program it and just experiment, experiment, experiment. Your patterns can be very simple in this stage. You WILL run into 'happy (lucky) accidents' along the way if your are spending a lot of time behind the machine, that will remind you of something you've heard before (happens to me often) and then you will suddenly be programming the drum machine yourself and teaching yourself to do things that you heard somewhere else. Although, I think Uwe is not wishing us to continue along this path of norms ;)

    I also recommend that you seach the net for some articles on BASIC RHYTHM programming fundamentals. So that you understand WHY there are 16 steps...What happens when it is only 12 steps..etc. They are out there and easy to locate with simple searches. Much drum programming is based on step sequencing...what do you know about this? Maybe do some research on that as well, although drums do not HAVE to be step-sequenced if going for more loose programming. Also be aware that there are many articles from people using drum machine as a substitute for drummer...It is played very different (more complex)..then there are articles concerning dance music (quite basic) is good to get a basic grasp of what each type of programmer has to say...perhaps combine the styles and then mutate them when you are less afraid to move away from the side of the swimming pool ;) HAVE FUN and congrats on getting you some Tonic

    Edit: I will include a link to a recent Uwe Schmidt interview (i am keen on some of his work as well btw). I think you will hopefully find some great...inspiration..direction within his words. Read carefully!

  • John Verity

    Thanks much, Jason - for the link and for your words of encouragement! I actually have been reading around the Web, and watching some videos. All very helpful. Mostly, of course, it's a matter of listening and mimicking.


  • Markus Herring

    Hi All,

    Ive actually posted a similar request to Winslow17 on this forum.. not responses so far,
    and I can kinda agree with Jason as to trawling the net for information etc as this really seems to be the only solution. But! would it be nice not to have to trawl the whole internet for measley scraps of information on how to use rather than possibly a bit more information from the people that sold you the software?
    Its not that a radical proposition.


  • John Verity

    I have not found any particular books but I have received some advice that makes sense: When you hear a rhythm or piece of drumming that you like, copy it and try to figure out what's going on in it - what the different instruments are doing. This may be difficult, no question, but another tip is to take a piece of this piece, so to speak - perhaps a single measure, or bar - and listen to it over and over. And, if you need to, slow it down and again, listen carefully. And now, try to create your own track that matches the rhythms you hear.

    I have been trying this a learned a good deal. I am still puzzled with some pieces of music, but I have learned some things. It is quite helpful, I find, to be able to visualize rhythms in a wave editing program. You can see peaks in the waveform and by measuring the distances between them - sometimes I do this by taping a piece of paper across the screen and marking it with a pencil, lightly - you can better understand what the music is all about. This is not magic, but it helps.

    Still, I would surely like to hear others' advice or tips, etc. The Internet is full of info, but any recommendations would be welcome.

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