#1
if i have wrote a riff/everything but the drums in a song and want a drum beat to go with it, without a drummer nearby,how do i write something to go along with it? is there any theory stuff to say how to harmonize drums with my rhythm/bass lines? im annoying confused, whenever i try it ends up a string of 16th notes with a cymbal on every strong beat in guitar pro. surprisingly, it doesn't sound good

any tips?

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#2
Find where the emphasised beats are in your riff (for example the 1st and 3rd beats), and make a bass/snare pattern around that. Keep your cymbals regular, every crotchet or quaver (depending on the speed/feel of the riff). With a basic cymbal going and a basic bass/snare pattern, you can start to add in little things like rolls and fills, which can only really be written by ear and what you're imagining will work.
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#3
Most western music has the emphasis on 2 and 4—almost all the music you listen to likely has snare on those beats.

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#4
I use a program called TapTempo to figure out the tempo.

Once i got that i would go into my drum software and use the closed high hats or snare on every other beat. From there you gotta get creative and add or remove sounds.

Go into youtube and look at your favorite band's drummer to get ideas for beats

For example, don't play the snare, crash, and ride at the same time, unless you know a drummer with 3 arms.
*reported*... twice in one reply!


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#5
Quote by ChurchNSkate
Most western music has the emphasis on 2 and 4—almost all the music you listen to likely has snare on those beats.


...

You mean 1 and 3?

There is no rules to writing drums, listen to what drummers do, and look at the drum music for drum parts that you like. You will eventually get a feel for what they are doing and learn to visualise stuff in your head then write it.
#6
you dont need to write for a good drummer

he will do his own thing
Here lies a problem that most guitar players face in this day of internet tab and short attention spans — they don't know how to express themselves.

-Nick Layton
#7
He isn't writing for a drummer...

And also, sometimes you might have a better drum part in mind than the drummer has. Just because you don't play an instrument doesn't mean your ideas for it won't be better.
#8
For me, I can write drum parts. The whole thing is having enough knowledge of how to play drums yourself so that you can write something that a drummer would play. Imagine a piano player writing something for guitar who has no idea how to play guitar!! It would, at best, be idiomatically awkward to play, and at worst, be impossible to play. Just because the instrument is capable of playing the notes doesn't mean it is possible to play. For instance, try playing low F (first fret) and the high A at the 17th fret on the top string. Same thing with a non-drummer writing for drums. Sure, it might sound fantastic keeping a funky groove on the hats while playing a roll, but only a non-drummer would even consider that. Buddy.... I only have two hands!!

Secondly... I always make sure to keep my ego in check with this sort of thing. If they, as a drummer, can't come up with a better drum part than you, a non-drummer, what the heck did you hire him for? My take is always "we chose you to play drums because you are a better drummer than any of us and have more knowledge of the instrument than any of us. We can suggest things with the assumption that those ideas will be given consideration, but in the end, you are the drummer and you know best. That's why you're the drummer and I'm not." If they can't come up with something better than you, and are unwilling to play the better part you came up with.... you got the wrong drummer.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
axemanchris, id love to do that second part, but i want to be able to write music and just have session drummers/ a drum machine and play gigs with a band playing instead of waiting for the only drummer in town who's to lazy to write things himself. i might try write more in 4/4 as it sounds easier for the drums by the responses in this thread than 2 bars of 6/8 3 of 9/8 and 1 bar of 5/8 for a single riff I'm guessing?

thanks so far everyone

"The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
#10
Quote by Regression
You mean 1 and 3?
He was right. Listen to any 4/4 rock song other than Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love," and you will almost assuredly hear the snare on 2 and 4.
#11
Quote by metallicafan616
if i have wrote a riff/everything but the drums in a song and want a drum beat to go with it, without a drummer nearby,how do i write something to go along with it? is there any theory stuff to say how to harmonize drums with my rhythm/bass lines? im annoying confused, whenever i try it ends up a string of 16th notes with a cymbal on every strong beat in guitar pro. surprisingly, it doesn't sound good

any tips?

Start simple. Begin with high hat on 16th notes.
Add a bass and drum pattern that outlines the simplest form of the rhythm you're playing in the riff. This should be as simple as possible but a consistent beat you can easily follow in your head. Then slowly add more decorative ideas but don't overdo it. Rests are important too.

Another idea might be to record a beat by tapping it out with your hands, beat boxing, or playing your guitar in a percussive manner just to capture the basic idea. Then turn it into drums.

Also remember some drum hits are purposefully hard or soft so if you can remember that and incorporate that into your drum patterns it will help.

Alternatively, find where drummers hang out online and ask them for some advice. If you show them your riff they may even help you by writing a simple beat for it.

I have a bank of patterns and fills that I have created on my own by talking to drummers and trying to understand the way they think. And wow, my head still hurts from that experience.
Si
#12
Quote by ChurchNSkate
Most western music has the emphasis on 2 and 4—almost all the music you listen to likely has snare on those beats.


Most western music has the emphasis on the 1st and 3rd beat.

Almost all western music has the emphasis on the 1st and 4rd beat.

Ska/reggae are exceptions, but that generally applies to guitar, not drums.
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#13
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Most western music has the emphasis on the 1st and 3rd beat.

Almost all western music has the emphasis on the 1st and 4rd beat.

Ska/reggae are exceptions, but that generally applies to guitar, not drums.

Not sure about Ska/Reggae but exceptions to what you're claiming include rock'n'roll, lots of blues, and most popular music since the 50's and 60's when guys like Elvis, The Beatles, and a few more similarly obscure artists popularised the backbeat. (Backbeat = 2 4 as opposed to the Downbeat = 1 3).

How do the lyrics to that old song go:
Just let me hear some of that rock'n'roll music
Any old way you choose it
It's got a backbeat, you can't lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be rock - roll music
If you wanna dance with me

Ska/Reggae is more like when the guitar chord is played using a sharp staccato kind of "chop" to create an accent. Often the drum and guitar accents will stay out of each others way and offer a cool contrast. Contrary to what DaddyTwoFoot suggests it is not uncommon in reggae for the drums to accent the down beats 1 and 3 while leaving the backbeat entirely to the rhythm guitarist. Sometimes the drums will play all the strong beats 1 2 3 4 while the rhythm chops away at the off beats (the eight notes between the beats - the "ands" if you will)

Having said that there are endless ways in which you can mix things up accenting any kind of patterns of beats you want. There's no rules.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Oct 22, 2008,
#14
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Most western music has the emphasis on the 1st and 3rd beat.

Almost all western music has the emphasis on the 1st and 4rd beat.

Ska/reggae are exceptions, but that generally applies to guitar, not drums.


Aren't these statements mutually exclusive?
#15
Quote by bangoodcharlote
He was right. Listen to any 4/4 rock song other than Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love," and you will almost assuredly hear the snare on 2 and 4.


But. The standard rock beat...

h h h h
b   s


h: hi-hat
b: bass drum
s: snare

(self explanatory, but yeah, isn't that the standard rock beat?)
#16
Quote by Regression
But. The standard rock beat...

h h h h
b s


h: hi-hat
b: bass drum
s: snare

(self explanatory, but yeah, isn't that the standard rock beat?)


You and daddy are right in that most western music in 4/4 has emphasis on 1 & 3.
(some posters seem to ignore anything written before 1900 and anything involving so-called classical instruments.)
However it's probably also true that majority of rock, jazz etc, in fact any 20th century western music that includes a drum kit has greatest emphasis on 2 and 4, as Tigers explains, "the back beat". The snare usually on 2 (&4)
Last edited by R.Christie at Oct 23, 2008,
#17
Quote by Regression
But. The standard rock beat...

h h h h
b s


h: hi-hat
b: bass drum
s: snare

(self explanatory, but yeah, isn't that the standard rock beat?)
Sort of. I'd rather:
hhhhhhh
b s b s
Just a subtle difference, this way the emphasis is on the 1'st and 2nd beat and the snare hits are on 2 and 3. You might not even need the high hat (or just have the high hat hit at the start of bars). Pretty much the drum beat for jazz, rock, electronic (all genres), reggae (?), possibly blues and possibly folk. You might need to add a few notes though.
Last edited by demonofthenight at Oct 23, 2008,
#18
It is a curious effect... even though the snare happen on 2 and 4, when you're listening to music, tap your foot.... it is easy to pick out a very natural, and very strong ONE beat. Yes, the 2nd and 4th beats are made louder by the snare, but the emphasis, as you tap your foot, is still on one and three.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#19
Quote by axemanchris
It is a curious effect... even though the snare happen on 2 and 4, when you're listening to music, tap your foot.... it is easy to pick out a very natural, and very strong ONE beat. Yes, the 2nd and 4th beats are made louder by the snare, but the emphasis, as you tap your foot, is still on one and three.

CT
First off, the melody and the lyrics still put emphasis on the first and (to a lesser extent) the third beat.

Second off, the bass has more of an effect than the snare

Thirdly, the first and third beats naturally have an emphasising effect in our head, as musicians we just exploit this fact.
#20
Quote by demonofthenight
First off, the melody and the lyrics still put emphasis on the first and (to a lesser extent) the third beat.
I disagree but I don't think we can prove it without analysing all the songs of the last fifty years or something so will leave it at just acknowledging a disagreement
Quote by demonofthenight
Thirdly, the first and third beats naturally have an emphasising effect in our head, as musicians we just exploit this fact.
I agree completely. The downbeat is naturally strong. That's part of what makes accenting the backbeat so appealing. It kind of adds more "jump" to the rhythm.
Si
#21
Quote by 20Tigers
I disagree but I don't think we can prove it without analysing all the songs of the last fifty years or something so will leave it at just acknowledging a disagreement
It's a common device especially common in classical music and sort of jazz music, I've only really analysed classical and jazz music. You should notice that you're more likely to find a consonant note on the first and third beat, except in jazz which syncopates alot. This can be effective because, as you said, it supplies a rhthymic twist, but if its done too much the melody will be hard to sing and therefore not as catchy. But regardless, most climaxing notes (prominent notes) and phrase ends are on downbeats or on the third quarter (it's actually best if a melody starts on a weak beat for some strange reason)

About the lyrics thing, the english language sort of does that automatically. You'll notice that most poetic phrases and lines will end on a verb, noun, adverb, negative auxillary or adjective (it's sort of hard not to finish like that). This is because melodies like to resolve on strong beats instead of weak beats and these types of words imply a stressed beat (as these words contain sentence stress), but keep in mind melodies can also end on the third beat (and will end on an unstressed sylable). You may also notice (even in that really bad garage indie music) that stressed words will be said on the downbeats of music. This I have analysed in all types of music.

So melodys (especially in classical music) and lyrics put emphasis on the downbeats. After I finish my exams I'll post my epic post on writing melodies.
#22
Quote by demonofthenight
It's a common device especially common in classical music and sort of jazz music, I've only really analysed classical and jazz music. You should notice that you're more likely to find a consonant note on the first and third beat, except in jazz which syncopates alot. This can be effective because, as you said, it supplies a rhthymic twist, but if its done too much the melody will be hard to sing and therefore not as catchy. But regardless, most climaxing notes (prominent notes) and phrase ends are on downbeats or on the third quarter (it's actually best if a melody starts on a weak beat for some strange reason)

About the lyrics thing, the english language sort of does that automatically. You'll notice that most poetic phrases and lines will end on a verb, noun, adverb, negative auxillary or adjective (it's sort of hard not to finish like that). This is because melodies like to resolve on strong beats instead of weak beats and these types of words imply a stressed beat (as these words contain sentence stress), but keep in mind melodies can also end on the third beat (and will end on an unstressed sylable). You may also notice (even in that really bad garage indie music) that stressed words will be said on the downbeats of music. This I have analysed in all types of music.

So melodys (especially in classical music) and lyrics put emphasis on the downbeats. After I finish my exams I'll post my epic post on writing melodies.


These are interesting points.

I have quite a differing take on your claim about consonance, classical music and emphasis on 1&3. I would argue that dissonance adds musical emphasis (accent) not consonance (which implies resolution of tension). If this is accepted then your point classical music having mainly consonance on 1&3 (and also emphasis) falls over. I am even unsure of your observation (maybe you have done the analysis - I don't know) that classical has mostly consonance on these beats. Certainly so for most cadences but in general the history of western music includes increasing use of dissonance (pop music excluded) and various periods differ considerably.

Getting back to Rock music someone a couple of posts back said that despite snare on 2 and 4 the general emphasis remains on 1 & 3. Harmonic rhythm probably is most responsible for this effect but I would question if it can be described as accent.
#23
Quote by demonofthenight
About the lyrics thing, the english language sort of does that automatically. You'll notice that most poetic phrases and lines will end on a verb, noun, adverb, negative auxillary or adjective (it's sort of hard not to finish like that).

Interesting argument but I completely disagree. It is a widely accepted fact that the most common poetic meter is the Iambic meter. The Iambic meter starts with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable and repeats this pattern a certain number of times per line. Repeating this pattern five times per line gives us Iambic Pentameter - Shakespeare's favourite. The stress or accents are put on the even syllables 2 4 6 etc the equivalent of the downbeat in musical rhythm. The reason Iambic meter is so popular is that it is the most natural to the English Language. It's irrelevant what kind of word a poetic line ends with, what matters is the meter of the entire line. The most common is Iambic.
Si
#24
Quote by R.Christie
These are interesting points.

I have quite a differing take on your claim about consonance, classical music and emphasis on 1&3. I would argue that dissonance adds musical emphasis (accent) not consonance (which implies resolution of tension). If this is accepted then your point classical music having mainly consonance on 1&3 (and also emphasis) falls over. I am even unsure of your observation (maybe you have done the analysis - I don't know) that classical has mostly consonance on these beats. Certainly so for most cadences but in general the history of western music includes increasing use of dissonance (pop music excluded) and various periods differ considerably.
By your definition of consonance, you're right. But consonance is more than just resolution.

The consonance I'm talking about is chord tones and degree-wise movement. You should notice that (especially in classical music) on the first beat the note will almost invariably be a chord-tone and, if the songs written with a countermelody, will always be either a harmonic third, sixths, fifth or sometimes octave. The third beat usually has a chord tone but the harmonic interval can be a tritone, seventh (when used properly) and the fourth; but the third beat is still more consonant than the second and fourth beat.

About the lyrical thing, I think you might have misunderstood me. Music usually resolves on a strong beat (which means a stressed sylable) and usually starts on a weak beat (which is called anacrusis). It can resolve on the third beat (for whats called a "feminine ending") and will use an unstressed sylable for this beat, and it can start on a strong beat, but wont sound as effective.

Iambic actually doesnt mean it's going to end feminine or masculine (meaning ending on a strong beat). Iambic just means a pattern of stressed than unstressed sylables, which could start on stressed or unstressed sylables. This is usually more effective for poetry than music, but when an iambic poem is put to a melody, the stressed sylables are always placed on stressed beats (unless the songs some kind of fruity jazz song thats syncopating).
#25
Quote by demonofthenight
By your definition of consonance, you're right. But consonance is more than just resolution.

The consonance I'm talking about is chord tones and degree-wise movement. You should notice that (especially in classical music) on the first beat the note will almost invariably be a chord-tone and, if the songs written with a countermelody, will always be either a harmonic third, sixths, fifth or sometimes octave. The third beat usually has a chord tone but the harmonic interval can be a tritone, seventh (when used properly) and the fourth; but the third beat is still more consonant than the second and fourth beat.



I can go along with some of that but " the first beat the note will almost invariably be a chord-tone " might be an overstatement, true for bass and the inner voices of homogenous textures but much less so for melody.

Anyway, consider the following, (or try it): Play a dissonant interval followed by a consonant one keeping one tone common, repeat at same dynamic ad infinitum.

Where do you hear the accent?
[Funnily enough, as humans we add accent even where none exists, the tick-tock-tick-tock of a watch or clock we commonly perceive when in reality is is tick-tick- tick]
If you, like me, in the experiment, hear the accent on the dissonant note how does that square with your contention that consonant harmonies on 1 and 3 result in those beats being stressed? [given I understand your contention correctly]

I'm arguing from a bit of a devil's advocate point of view here.
Last edited by R.Christie at Oct 24, 2008,
#26
In conventional harmony, a suspension is typically introduced on a strong beat (ie. 1 or 3) and then resolved on a weak one (2 or 4).

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#27
Quote by demonofthenight
Iambic actually doesnt mean it's going to end feminine or masculine (meaning ending on a strong beat). Iambic just means a pattern of stressed than unstressed sylables, which could start on stressed or unstressed sylables. This is usually more effective for poetry than music, but when an iambic poem is put to a melody, the stressed sylables are always placed on stressed beats (unless the songs some kind of fruity jazz song thats syncopating).

Iambic always means unstressed then stressed
da DUM

Trochaic is stressed then unstressed (the inversion of Iambic meter)
DUM da

Many song lyrics are written in Iambic meter. However there are all sorts of metric devices in poetry that create unique variations on these two simplest of meters before we even begin on meters with more than two syllables (Dactyl = three syllables DUM da da think the verse for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds).

And as you say often the lyrics will be put to music (or vice versa) in a way that places the stressed beat on an accented beat. Sometimes by placing the first word before the start of the measure.

I've lost track of why we were talking about this all anyway. I do look forward to your article though Demon

Um Good Luck with the drums TS.
Si
#29
Quote by 20Tigers
I do look forward to your article though Demon.
Just me putting some notes into words (more for my benefit). I dont actually own any music books, I borrow them from friends and the library, so if I find something usefull, I type it out in notebook.