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Do You See Drum Loops as Cheating?


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I don't use them personally, not anymore anyway, because i did feel like i was cheating. I get a similar feeling from using synth presets, so i try to change them even if it's only slightly. I don't know if i should feel guilty about using synth presets though, after all it's technically no different to playing any other instrument.

Drum loops however are small compositions themselves, so the work is taken out of it. I was just watching a demonstration of Spectrasonics Stylus RMX, and it made me think how easy it would be to just take one of these incredible loops and pass it off as your own (not commercially of course). I mean how long will it be before computers will be able to compose EVERYTHING for you? Maybe they could even mix and master your track at the press of a button O_o It's a scary thought that makes me worry about the future of music.

What do you think? Are drum loops a bad thing? Is composition becoming too easy?

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I don't personally use a lot of loops but there's a ton of creative stuff that you can do with them. Just throwing them in a song and using the as they are is kind of lazy, though. They're just another tool and can be used for good or evil.

I don't feel presets are a bad thing either but I tend not to rely on the 100%. It's just a matter of using these sort of things creatively. It helps to do a bit more with them than just sitting in some MIDI notes.

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Drum loops are great. So are recorded instrument loops and phrases. Use anything and everything in order to properly recreate the music in your mind. Don't get hung up on silly principles like "Oh I didn't program this loop myself" because most people listening to your song wont care.

The less of the "process" that is evident in a song, the better received that song generally is, so if your song sounds more natural and flowing with a drum loop, keep the drum loop.

Stylus and all other loop libraries exist so you can pass them off as your own. Once you buy a loop library you're entitled to use it and even make money with it.

So yeah, if it's legal and it sounds good, get over your misguided principles and fucking use it.

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Silly moral distinction to draw. Most people don't make whole tracks out of loops because it really isn't that enjoyable. so use them where they work for you.

Also your fears of computers doing everything is unfounded. isn't the primary purpose of making music for expression? what joy would be gained if you had a computer do everything for you?

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Drum loops are great. So are recorded instrument loops and phrases. Use anything and everything in order to properly recreate the music in your mind. Don't get hung up on silly principles like "Oh I didn't program this loop myself" because most people listening to your song wont care.

The less of the "process" that is evident in a song, the better received that song generally is, so if your song sounds more natural and flowing with a drum loop, keep the drum loop.

Stylus and all other loop libraries exist so you can pass them off as your own. Once you buy a loop library you're entitled to use it and even make money with it.

So yeah, if it's legal and it sounds good, get over your misguided principles and fucking use it.

Basically everything here. I used to program my own drums from complete scratch, and I wasted a lot of time doing it. With all the loop libraries I now own, I can get on to the business of actually creating a genuinely great SONG, rather than nitpicking over the insignificant details.

Plus, sometimes loops are the single best inspiration point there is. For me, it's hearing someone else's idea, and then going, "well, if THAT happened, then I should add THIS thing as well!" I've got a bunch of songs that have started life as a loop that I riffed off of.

Also, some of the loop libraries out there enable me to use sounds at a quality level that I'd never have been able to achieve otherwise. Some of my taiko drum and tom libraries, for instance, or maybe some really good guitar or ethnic or texture packs. I can program some of it, but it's not going to be as good as the live person who sat down and recorded it for me.

Finally, loops save time when I'm in a hurry. I compose music professionally at times, and I rely heavily on loops when doing those projects. I can create a product that sounds every bit as polished as anything I've ever done, and I can do it quickly, thereby allowing me to go out and write even more music after that's done.

tl;dr Not cheating. I paid for 'em (or downloaded 'em legally), and the license explicitly states that I have a right to use for whatever I want. My music doesn't sound too similar to anyone else to be a problem. I win. :-D

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pixietricks uses an old garageband loop in her "dreaming still" remix, and they work amazingly. I feel like loops are cheating only if you use them as a crutch, and only because youre cheating yourself out of learning how to make good drum grooves or something. This sentiment holds true to synth patches too, sooner or later you have to learn to program a synth.

that said theyre tools just as any other tool a musician uses. sometimes they provide good inspiration or just as a way to thicken up something.

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Viewing using drum loops as cheating is hilarious because half the time it's just a back beat or four on the floor kick loop anyway. If that's the kind of drum beat your song was going to have anyway, you'd actually be crazy not to use a loop; you're just wasting time otherwise.

yeah that sums it up perfectly.

"I'm going to write a breakbeat electronic song. I can't use this loop but if I write the same rhythm with my own drum samples, that means I'm a composer with integrity LOLOLOL"

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nope, I don't

and yes, I do

the reason I don't think its cheating is when you're using it for hip-hop (and mind you, "real" hip-hop, none of that new crap that they call hip-hop), or some other more electronic sound that gives it a cool sound. I'll even try and make it obvious by doing numerous things to it and editing it in a specific fashion so that it sounds like it's obviously being looped to add flavor.

drum loops are crap, though, when you're doing a more rock-type track or something that requires something more natural. drum looping is sorta cheating there and I like to either play or program them myself. finding loop libraries and throwing them in there is something I'm not really for.

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I'll use anything, but I don't like to leave it as-is. Slice it up, put it through effects, layer it with other drums, use it to construct a beat in a different time signature..

edit: I also find making beats very enjoyable, so if I put a loop in place and call it a day I feel I'm missing a lot of the fun. (:

--Eino

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I use drum loops for DnB stuff. I do process them in certain ways, but they're still loops. Basically I have them, plus some sort of effect, then I layer on selected drum samples timing-wise if I want to, and glitch it up sometimes. It's not necessarily a shortcut either, 'cause you may just not have those drum tones. It's not cheating. It's using your resources. :nicework:

It's not a bad thing to use synth presets either if you just happen to like those sounds. However, if you want to be more original and sound distinct from others, you might as well start making your own, and someday you'll figure out a good palette of sounds.

Edited by timaeus222
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Drum loops are great. So are recorded instrument loops and phrases. Use anything and everything in order to properly recreate the music in your mind. Don't get hung up on silly principles like "Oh I didn't program this loop myself" because most people listening to your song wont care.

The less of the "process" that is evident in a song, the better received that song generally is, so if your song sounds more natural and flowing with a drum loop, keep the drum loop.

Stylus and all other loop libraries exist so you can pass them off as your own. Once you buy a loop library you're entitled to use it and even make money with it.

So yeah, if it's legal and it sounds good, get over your misguided principles and fucking use it.

SnappleMan speaks the truth once again.

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I use loops from time to time, and always want to do something to make them my own. My Eye of the Storm mix uses some of Logic's own loops. The problem with loops is that other music people might recognize the loop and judge you for it. And even if they never do, you're doing it for them jsut by thinking they might.

So mangle the loops if you're worried about having elements that sound like something someone else has used, or if it sounds lazy, or for whatever reason. The aforementioned EOTS has the lows completely filtered out of the drum loops I used, and I create more motion in the loop by automating some other filter things.

If you want to use loops but are concerned about sounding like someone else, just mangle your loops if they're too recognizable.

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I typically program my own drums and make the the main drumming focus. But I ALWAYS throw extra loops in there for interest. Usually the loops are just high end percussion stuff (little hat patterns etc.), but they always add interest to an already groovy drum pattern. If I'm going to use the drum loop outright, I'll throw it into Slicex and have my way with it first.

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the reason I don't think its cheating is when you're using it for hip-hop

Spot on!

I think a big part of pad controllerism revolves around sampling loops and phrases and using them in a composition. Pad controllerism is in some part, integral to the workflow of a number of hip hop musicians. when you combine swing with a sampled phrase, sometimes you can get a nice groove that would be harder to do in a daw.

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Thanks for the great opinions guys. Mixed opinions but i'd say about 90% are in favour of loops.

The problem with loops is that other music people might recognize the loop and judge you for it.

Yeah that's pretty much the problem that was in my head, but you're totally right about slicing beats. It's something i've never tried, i've been creating my drums from scratch. I'll start cutting up loops and messing with them.

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While I don't see them as "cheating" persay, I think using them verbatim is lazy.

On one hand, people like Amon Tobin have made incredible music based around the idea of sampling Jazz drums and turning them into hip-hop or DnB.

But on the other, using a preset drumloop and tossing some premade synths over it lacks a lot of creativity. I know it seems like a lot of people in here don't mind it, but I believe that if you're not trying even a little to push the bounds of your music, then why are you making it?

Just one guy's opinion, but I guess to sum up, as long as you do something unique with the loop/sample/patch, then you shouldn't feel guilty.

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While I don't see them as "cheating" persay, I think using them verbatim is lazy.

On one hand, people like Amon Tobin have made incredible music based around the idea of sampling Jazz drums and turning them into hip-hop or DnB.

But on the other, using a preset drumloop and tossing some premade synths over it lacks a lot of creativity. I know it seems like a lot of people in here don't mind it, but I believe that if you're not trying even a little to push the bounds of your music, then why are you making it?

The fact of the matter is that music can be judged in a wide variety of ways. While someone taking a drum loop and throwing pre-made instrumental loops on top of that may not show a great amount of composing skill, the person in question may have great mixing, mastering and other audio manipulation skill.

It's much like the people who bash these talented singers for not writing their own music. It doesn't fucking matter whether Christina Aguilera can perch herself behind the Casio Hans Zimmer style and compose on her own; she's a great singer. That's what she does.

I think that a lot of this attitude comes from the fact that in this millennium, most people are participating in the creation of music in an environment that allows for one person to do every step of the music making process. A DAW, for those you out there who aren't picking up what I'm puttin' down. The problem is that just because the DAW enables you to do all steps of the process doesn't mean you are actually equipped in terms of experience or know-how to pull it off. I can't mix worth shit, I know I can't - but my music will inevitably be judged in that area as well. This is why I prefer to collaborate with others; we can each focus on our strengths and the end result is of a higher quality.

With music, I think you should do what you're best at. If that's every piece of the puzzle, great. If it's just one piece of the puzzle, like mixing, mastering or otherwise "engineering" pre-made stems, there are other kinds of musicians out there who will call upon you to use that skill.

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw
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If you're trying to express your creativity through music and a loop accurately reflects the music in your head, then go for it. You're not cheating yourself or anyone else out of anything at all.

The only time using a loop is "cheating" is when you're specifically trying to make a loop on your own.

If you bring a store bought/made cake to a party, is that cheating? Nope.

If you're trying to learn to bake a cake and go buy a cake from a store instead, is that cheating? Yeah.

So bottom line, if you're just wanting to make music then don't worry about it, they're tools that are available to you to make your ideas come to life. If you're trying to learn and create your own loops, then work at it and start making your own.

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I see where you guys are coming from, I suppose my view is a little limited by my own tastes of music. I take a lot of enjoyment from hearing new sounds and good custom "engineering" so to speak, but that's not all there is to it, of course!

Darangen pretty much summed it up I suppose!

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