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realdeal_55

Rhythm Section Writing

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Hey, everybody! I'm brand new to this whole remixing thing (although I myself prefer the term "re-arranging," but that's not the point), and I need some help doing my first mix.

I'm doing a big-band/swing style mix, and I'm finding that the rhythm section parts, especially the bass and drum parts, are becoming horribly repetitive.

Does anybody have any general tips on how to avoid this problem?

I'd rather not release a WIP of what I've got going, but if you must take a listen, send me a private message and I'll set you up.

Please and thanks,

Brennan Conroy (realdeal_55)

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well with the drums you can just indicate feel and show the drummer where the hits are...and he'll do the rest.

with the bass, give him the chords and slashes with indication where the big hits are.

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dumb question, but get it out of the way... are you arranging/remixing on a computer or are you just making notation for live play?

the easy way= fills. plain and simple. shuffle some of your hits on divisions of 4/8/16/32 etc... often used to add some momentum to a song..

give me an example of your drum line, and i'll show you how to do some simple fills that add + enhance your rhythm section.

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I'm arranging on a computer.

Sorry, I wasn't too clear. What I meant to say earlier is that the program I'm using to arrange is a music notation program, and therefore the mix has musical parts and a score; it could be performed by a live band.

Anyway, here's a link to a MIDI I pulled from my drum track.

The first seven bars is just time, the eighth bar is my first fill, then time for 7 more bars, followed by another fill bar. Then I brought in the trumpet part to show you what I'm doing with my shots, and there's another fill at the end.

Thanks for the help!

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Those fills are awfully robotic and generic. I'd also say that bass drum sounds a bit uncharacteristic of the genre, but then again I don't hear the rest of the piece so I can't say much for sure.

Get more cymbals and snares going, don't be afraid to make your midi drummer go wild once and a while.

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There are quite a few ways to help vary a drum boring drum track. In this case, some snare rolls of sixteenth triplets will work wonders as fills before a transition to a different section (don't overuse this though).

Another obvious no-brainer is changing up the hi-hat rhythm, adding different cymbals, and maybe vary up the snare/bass pattern as well. Generally speaking, a pattern where you have a closed hat hitting on each sixteenth note is great for a sort of build-up section, or a section where you want to convey a sense of speed without actually speeding up (double-time).

On the other end of the spectrum, you can have a 'big' cymbal, like a crash or a china hit on each quarter note, which gives a sense of slowness and heaviness (though I'm not sure if this would work in a shuffly jazzy piece, but you can always try).

Finally, throughout the 'general' sections of your piece, you'll want to have an open hi-hat, a ride, or a splash cymbal playing on each eighth note if you want to convey a 'walking' sense, where the drums drive the piece without going overboard. Of course, things become much more interesting when you start making combinations of the hi-hats and the different cymbals, there's really a million ways to make your piece more interesting by merely experimenting with the hats.

Then, you could try to make the drums place an accent on certain sections where you want them. As an example, have a listen, and pay attention to the section at 0:28, where I've got the piano doing a bar with a few double stops, and have the snare and crash accenting them. You can get by with just using your crash cymbal to place accents on notes where you want the, but if you use your snare as well, you get a sort of pattern break, which might sometimes be necessary (because the snare doesn't continue the same rhythm it played before). This way, you can make the drum track be varied AND you can accent sections you want without having to turn up their volume or something.

Finally, about drum fills; steal 'em. Listen to a similar track that you're aiming for, pay attention to the drums, and try to recreate the drum fills you hear. This is IMO the best way to get a feeling for how drum fills are built-up, and how you can use them effectively in your song

Sorry for the long read by the way, apparently I just like to write about drums a lot =P

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Another way to jazz it up is to hit on the end of two and four. For example 1 2 3 4 1 2 and(crash) 3 4 and so forth, if that makes sense. Listen to jazz standards and get an idea of the patterns the drummers do.

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