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What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

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What do you do if you suck at programming drums?

Lots of interesting drum apps coming up and for the umpteenth time I want to incorporate drums in my music but I totally suck at coming up with interesting patterns.
I always end up with a basic four on the floor beat and that's not of much use when you make ambient music... :)

So, any ideas for learning how to program drums? Any tips on apps that can help?

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Comments

  • I buy samples

  • Coming from desktop DAWs, for me, this is the biggest block to making music on iOS. Tried loads of apps but waiting for something like EZ Drummer for iOS.

  • If you listen to music with drums, try to duplicate the patterns you hear. That will give you a feel for what can be done and how.

  • edited June 7

    Well, considering this project just came up in another thread, there's a drum sequencing utility I made that sort of aims to remedy the issue at hand.
    The sequencer itself has several ways to program it, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. You can 'finger paint' a rhythm using the step sequencer, you can wiggle knobs till a pleasant rhythm is found with the euclidian sequencer, or you can XOX sequence using the main timeline sequencer, and embellish that sequence with dynamic ratcheting or stochastic triggering, which can even transform the tonality of midi drums. The best part about it though is that you can combine all of these methods in a single sequence. So your 'finger painting' meets your ratcheting programmed beat meets your euclidian rhythm.

    If curious you can check out the walkthrough here, with the download link in the description (free of course, but requires Drambo).

  • edited June 7

    @Shabudua said:
    If you listen to music with drums, try to duplicate the patterns you hear. That will give you a feel for what can be done and how.

    This is exactly the advice I would give. I would also practice entering drums in realtime so you get a feel for the groove.

    If all fails, there's a number of sample libraries with ready-made drum loops available.
    My personal favorite are REX drum loops in Stockholm (Korg Gadget) because I can either use each live recorded loop as-is or change/re-arrange individual dum hits.

  • I bought the groovemonkee drum MIDI sample set, not necessarily to use in any of my songs, but rather as an educational tool to learn how a real drummer plays their instrument. The bit where I go through these thousands of MIDI files is still on my to-do list by the way, but Helium at least made it technically possible to do this on my iPad :smile:

  • +1 for the excellent Groove Monkee loops.
    Also, The Loop Loft, The Drum Broker, DrumDrops and Big Fish Audio have some good stuff.
    Some even offer free demo packs to get started.

  • edited June 7

    @Shabudua said:
    If you listen to music with drums, try to duplicate the patterns you hear. That will give you a feel for what can be done and how.

    This.

    And also, if you have a keyboard with drum patterns, just load up a pattern, play the pattern and drum along... you can tweak the tempo, change the type, genre...

    Ghost notes and velocity add a lot of humanization to the performance. Great courses on Udemy.

  • FPCFPC
    edited June 7

    @aleyas said:
    Well, considering this project just came up in another thread, there's a drum sequencing utility I made that sort of aims to remedy the issue at hand.
    The sequencer itself has several ways to program it, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. You can 'finger paint' a rhythm using the step sequencer, you can wiggle knobs till a pleasant rhythm is found with the euclidian sequencer, or you can XOX sequence using the main timeline sequencer, and embellish that sequence with dynamic ratcheting or stochastic triggering, which can even transform the tonality of midi drums. The best part about it though is that you can combine all of these methods in a single sequence. So your 'finger painting' meets your ratcheting programmed beat meets your euclidian rhythm.

    If curious you can check out the walkthrough here, with the download link in the description (free of course, but requires Drambo).

    Gotta big up aleyas's Drambo drum sequencer. Goes beautifully with Klevgrand's Slammer and Ting. Great with Ruismaker too (switch to general midi) and (although I haven't tried yet) I'm sure it'll work with all the Ruismaker series. I can't wait to try it with FAC drumkit...

    I find it easy to come up with good drums for the reasons aleyas stated. It's very inspiring.

    Also, don't tell anyone, I have been known to slightly alter Drum Computer presets and claim them as my own :o

  • I think I’ve solved this problem for me in the past few weekends.
    I’ve never respected drums, the concept of drumming and the purpose of having drums at all in my songs. What, you expect me to understand any of that? So all my songs either had basic plonk blap plonk blap tss tss tss type of basic synth drumming like most early 80s electronic music, or it’d go way over the top in a stupid ‘use everything everywhere at some point’ direction.

    Over the past month I’ve been on a hunt. I’m doing all my music in Logic Pro X now (the iPad remote for it is really superb - vastly improved with the recent iterations).
    I started using Drummer a few years ago when I couldn’t be arsed trying to do my own drums that worked. It was good the first few times, but I now know Drummer is actually very limited, has only a small amount of styles and only a few of those will work with what I’m doing. Worst of all I came to the realisation that Drummer makes it sound like a Japanese keyboard demo tune.

    So I went on the search for drum machines. Decades ago I owned a TR-808, TR-606, TR-505 (my first) and a bunch of other non-Roland ones like Korgs, this dusty Oberheim DMX thing I was glad to get rid of, and others. So I’m not unfamiliar with them.

    What is there on iOS that works? I tried what I had, didn’t buy anything new. Went through a few likely candidates such as Elastic Drums and others, and in the end settled on a really good drum machine:
    Korg Electribe Wave with all the synths switched off. I now think that is about the best drum machine on iOS. Obviously it probably isn’t, I just don’t own a lot of iOS drum machines. But, it is really good and I recommend it. (Yes, I also tried Drambo, nearly settled on it, but the boundary between tweaking and actually using with Drambo is too precarious and I kept on falling off). So, if you want a good usable fun drum machine on iOS - Korg Electribe Wave, with the synths switched off. Really good song mode, too.

    Then I tried my old Novation Circuit, dug it out, put 808/909/606 samples on it (there’s a good github repo with those in for Circuit if you search) and that actually worked well for me, but in the end I got tired with a] not having a song mode (ie, having to live switch the patterns) and b] having to run each pad as a separate recording because no separate outputs.

    So in the end, here’s how I’ve solved my make-my-drumming-not-crap problem. Back to LPX, into the new drum machine stuff in there, into the new step sequencer stuff in there. First, dump all my existing attempts at drum tracks. Then do a Drummer track and tediously try and pick one I like that works well for the song. Then turn that drummer track to midi regions. Then make a new drum machine track and in the step sequencer try and imitate what the drummer track (which is now midi) was doing in each region, don’t try and imitate it exactly, rely on my laziness and inaccuracy in copying, just try and get 80% of what I perceive in the drummer midi. That’s it. Basically, do a Drummer track, and tediously try and imitate it myself. Tadaa!

  • Is there a video tutorial series available anywhere about drums and drumming in terms of 'theory' and how to make awesome sounding patterns? It strikes me that such a thing would be exceptionally useful for many electronic musicians.

  • I think the X0X interface is great for learning drum programming. Set up a 4 or 8 bar pattern and start with just bass drum and snare and just turn steps on and off until you hear something you like. And you can use something like Bram Bos’ X0X (in Rozeta) to trigger any drum app.

  • This thing generates loops for you.
    No need for boring programming.
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/beatly-pro/id1550189157

  • @aleyas said:
    Well, considering this project just came up in another thread, there's a drum sequencing utility I made that sort of aims to remedy the issue at hand.
    The sequencer itself has several ways to program it, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. You can 'finger paint' a rhythm using the step sequencer, you can wiggle knobs till a pleasant rhythm is found with the euclidian sequencer, or you can XOX sequence using the main timeline sequencer, and embellish that sequence with dynamic ratcheting or stochastic triggering, which can even transform the tonality of midi drums. The best part about it though is that you can combine all of these methods in a single sequence. So your 'finger painting' meets your ratcheting programmed beat meets your euclidian rhythm.

    If curious you can check out the walkthrough here, with the download link in the description (free of course, but requires Drambo).

    Interesting, I'll take a look...

  • I have Patterning 1...never really got on with it...also, no AUV3...

  • @jolico said:
    This thing generates loops for you.
    No need for boring programming.
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/beatly-pro/id1550189157

    Interesting app...not my genre though...

  • @Shabudua said:
    If you listen to music with drums, try to duplicate the patterns you hear. That will give you a feel for what can be done and how.

    Yeah, I guess...was hoping for a silver bullet though... :*

  • I always look for Drum Machines with a randomise feature. I’m looking forward to Hammerhead coming out.

  • @lasselu said:

    @Shabudua said:
    If you listen to music with drums, try to duplicate the patterns you hear. That will give you a feel for what can be done and how.

    Yeah, I guess...was hoping for a silver bullet though... :*

    Here’s your silver bullet. No AUv3 though…😜

    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/drum-school/id414417836

  • yugyug
    edited June 7

    For making patterns, I like combining euclidean rhythms with traditional step sequencing. Euclidean sequencers are so fast and easy to program - just tweak the knobs (steps, pulses, shift) until you like what you hear :) And if it's easier to do with a step sequencer (i.e. requires too many layers of euclidean patterns), I use that.
    I wish there was an app or plugin combining both types of sequencing. Other than Drambo :D

  • @aleyas said:
    Well, considering this project just came up in another thread, there's a drum sequencing utility I made that sort of aims to remedy the issue at hand.
    The sequencer itself has several ways to program it, depending on what you feel most comfortable with. You can 'finger paint' a rhythm using the step sequencer, you can wiggle knobs till a pleasant rhythm is found with the euclidian sequencer, or you can XOX sequence using the main timeline sequencer, and embellish that sequence with dynamic ratcheting or stochastic triggering, which can even transform the tonality of midi drums. The best part about it though is that you can combine all of these methods in a single sequence. So your 'finger painting' meets your ratcheting programmed beat meets your euclidian rhythm.

    If curious you can check out the walkthrough here, with the download link in the description (free of course, but requires Drambo).

    Very cool.

  • Another approach would be to use drum pads that generate MIDI, and play the drums live.

  • No way, I suck even worse when it comes to playing live drums... :p

  • What do you guys think about the Drum Sessions app?

  • Oh yes, another thing I learned on my odyssey through drum machines. Most of them assume your song will be 100% that particular drum machine with no other sounds or melodies naughtily stealing attention away.

  • For "canned" beats the drummers in GarageBand can give you a fair amount of variety and I would also recommend Lumbeat apps if you don't mind using IAA apps. Digistix and Playbeat have good randomizers that allow you to randomize for individual kit pieces so you can quickly iterate until you find something that works for you. Lately I've started layering multiple drum machine apps and chipping away at different parts until I find what works best together. Canned parts created by GarageBand or Rock Drum Machine combined with some randomly generated bits from Digistix or Playbeat to create a more complex beat. Of course it's also a good idea to revisit your beat after you've laid down a bass part or melody and listen for areas where the drums can accent what is happening in other parts of your composition. That's what works for me.

  • @lasselu said:

    @jolico said:
    This thing generates loops for you.
    No need for boring programming.
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/beatly-pro/id1550189157

    Interesting app...not my genre though...

    Ask the developer.

  • I find Bram’s Roseta sequencers coupled with his Ruismakers are great for quickly creating interesting rhythms. Then Blocs Wave is a good source of preset patterns to chop and re-arrange in its sample editor for exporting to beef up your own patterns in a DAW. Same with Ampify Groovebox.

    Drum patterns don’t have to be too complex for ambient music, slight variations in volume and very subtle shifting fx like a flanger or an lfo on a filter on hi-hats and rides or something go a long way to keep interest with slight variation and avoid that monotonous robotic ‘machine gun’ feeling. Gently automating some reverb length or depth on snares is quite effective at keeping things interesting too. Gently automating a delay length on certain drum/perc sounds also works well. It’s amazing how those little things can transform even the most simplest straightforward beat into something more dynamic and interesting. Try those little things out on a really simple beat and you’ll be amazed!

    If you’re confident with miRack just try hooking up some drum/perc sounds from a bunch of (Plaits) Macro OSC 2 modules to a couple of the Euclidean sequencers triggering from different lengths to each sound and you get some great shifting beats. Insert a few Bernoulli Gates in the chain for creating probabilities and you get even more variation.

    I think for ambient music especially, the pattern itself is not as important as variation via probability triggering and very subtle filtering or effecting are on some of the actual drum/perc sounds themselves.

    That’s just my take on it. Hope it helps!

  • @Spidericemidas:
    Never really thought about effects to liven up the drum patterns before...gonna have to play around with that...

    Re: miRack; yeah, I've been experimenting there and now and then I've come up with some interesting results...still not anything I wanna use in a track though... :)

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