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EC2151

How important is it to mix up drum patterns?

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A lot of times when making a piece I usually make an 8-bar drum pattern and sort of use it for half the song, and then one or two other 4-bar patterns as needed for different sections.

A lot of times, when I listen to some game soundtracks, say by Nazo2 Suzuki or Hitoshi Sakimoto, or some older 80s sci-fi anime soundtracks, sometimes you get a piece where it's the same pattern repeated throughout the entire track, though there's usually a transition/bridge bar in there every 16 bars or so with some cymbal crash involved.

Now, I don't try to make songs like some heavy-drummin' rock concert, but I always worry in the back of my mind if I don't mix up the patterns enough, it will get "boring" or (if I ever finish my mix projects ha) the panel judges will think likewise. So do you just try to put it in the background (if it's not the main focus of the track)? Or do you try to write at least 4 or so patterns per song with appropriate bridges?

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It's really better to variate, otherwise it becomes an achilles heel to your composition. Varying drums is extremely important to changing up songs and keep them sounding good. Repetition can only go so far.

Go to vgmusic.com and study the old Motoi Sakuraba - Tales of, Valkyrie Profile, Star Ocean, Golden Sun. His PS1-PS2 era work is INSANE with varying drum patterns and the best source to learn from.

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No one is a machine.

No drummer plays the same note twice the same way.

Also, respect your drummer as a creative professional--even if they're virtual drummers--and ensure that their virtual performance is creative and human.

Don't make your virtual drummer drum the same pattern over and over again without human variation or creative flourish.

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Yup, pretty important. I try to have patterns go v1, v2, v1, v3, v1, v2, v4, v5 for one section, where v4 is similar to v1 somewhat. Variation is key in reducing repetition.

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Yup, pretty important. I try to have patterns go v1, v2, v1, v3, v1, v2, v4, v5 for one section, where v4 is similar to v1 somewhat. Variation is key in reducing repetition.

Yup and different styles of drum sounds at different parts during the song, as well as different writing. (i.e. hardstyle drums for a section, soft rock drums during the breakdown, etc.) T is quite good at that.

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I have nothing to add but "it's important." :-)

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Kristina is on the money as well. It helps quite a bit to switch to another genre if your mind naturally shifts that way. Eventually you'll have that type of intuition.

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Honestly I just make session dedicated to drum sequencing and make them into midi loops for rock, jazz, metal, and other stuff lol so when I compose, I just add little things like extra kicks or snares or create short breaks when I need to use them :tomatoface:

Heck I youtube some other music to see how the drums we're made and cover them sometimes from the beat to the velocity of each hit hehe

just my random 2cent

Edited by SonicThHedgog

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Blast beats

everything needs more

.

This.

Seriously though, the production on your drums is, oddly enough, not an easy thing for people to do, so at times they kinda skimp on the variation after they hear their drums sounding good.

Edited by timaeus222

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Considering music nowadays and how boring it's gotten, for the love of God, changing around the drum pattern in certain parts of the song is freaking ridiculously important and it makes the song that much better. That is, unless you have the most genius groove in the world.

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Think less about drums and more about rhythm.

Study this song and you'll get it:

Sometimes you can get away with not changing up your drums that much if everything else changes well enough and often enough, but it still remains important to at least not use an unchanged, untouched drum loop.

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you have to feel it. introducing variety for its own sake, whether an every-four-bars thing, or some large scale hyper-rhythm, isnt going to make your music feel anymore alive if the "variations" themselves become mechanical. its all about context. part of the reason why the circularity of billie jean works is because every instrument and voice is essentially rhythm section. on the other hand if youre gonna try to sequence jazz or something, you've gotta think about the ways that the kit is really a piano.

these days i try to do as little work in the sequencer as possible, performing whatever i can, both acoustic and midi.

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About the only time you want a hard repetitive drum line through an entire song is if you are trying to give the feeling of a machine. Otherwise there is always variation

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you have to feel it. introducing variety for its own sake, whether an every-four-bars thing, or some large scale hyper-rhythm, isnt going to make your music feel anymore alive if the "variations" themselves become mechanical. its all about context

This, as well. Some new guys try adding variations that really don't contribute to flow, and that's not how it goes. Get a feel for how a real drummer would do it, and emulate that rhythmically, whether it's with an electronic or acoustic kit. Also, replacing drum sounds and using the same rhythm for those new sounds isn't automatically considered "mixing up drum patterns". You do still need new rhythm.

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Depends on the song and the style. My music usually has a minimum of 4 or 5 main drumlines with fills and variations throughout. My last song had one main drumline because it's what the song needed.

If you're trying to emulate a real drummer, figure out your groove and play along to the entire song "live" (even if it's just tapping out the kick and snare on your computer's keyboard), then go modify it afterwards with fills and quantization if you need it.

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First off, thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. I don't think I can respond adequately to everyone who has posted in this topic, but I do appreciate everyone commenting and helping me reflect on the question at hand. A few main points:

@dannthr specifically, I think you are right that there should be at least some bridges or creative flourishes even if your 'drummer' is in fact virtual. Especially in the business of producing remixes (which I swear I'll do one day!), but even in trying to produce 'professional' music (at least from your end of things), it's a good way to show a little bit of extra finesse in terms of production and composition.

@SnappleMan - thank you for posting Billie Jean, because that was one of the examples I was thinking about when I was coming up with the question for the topic. Some songs seem to work perfectly fine with 1 or 2 drum patterns for the whole song. I guess it is a question of rhythm vs. just-drum-beats, something to consider how it fits into the overall sonic picture of the song you are trying to make.

@Radiowar: the problem of putting everything in by mouse is that there is a tendency to sound mechanical, esp on FL piano roll sequencer. Another weakness is not knowing what people mean when they say fills and quantization (sorry Legion*)! The strength though is a good deal of control over the nature of the beat, allowing for repetition or variation as need be. It is good though to think in terms less of 'drums - strings - brass - etc' and 'rhythm section - lead section - backup section - etc' from time to time.

*though I tend to listen to drum patterns over and over again to get a feel for their 'authenticity' even in mechanical settings.

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