Writing a good drum beat

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Writing a good drum beat

Most of the rhythms shown below are shown in simple non-filled form and then various ways to fill the rhythm are shown.

Use a fixed width font to view the rhythms if you cut and paste them into another document. Also if you have messed up your browser preferences so that it somehow uses a non-fixed width font for the rhythms on this page, they are going to look messed up.

What difference does a "rest" make anyway? To a drummer, I guess the answer could be "not much". A "rest" in music is a space for a note that is not played. On many other instruments a note can be sustained, and there is a significant difference in playing "a note, a rest, and another note" and "a long note and then another note".

On a drum you don't have much choice about how long the sustain on your "note" is, but the combinations of rests versus sustained notes may give some indications about how the rhythm should be ornamented or filled. Therefore there are a few rhythms that seem very different to melodists but somewhat the same for the drummer.

Where did all of this tradition come from? And don't say I didn't warn you -- he's hard to read -- not because he is a bad writer, but because his books are academic and full of facts and rather complex arguments attempting to reconstruct a lot of Arabic musical history and theory.

The earliest recorded history of music and rhythm we get from ancient Greece. Greek writers on the subject were fairly technical, but it seems that not much about rhythmic structure was formalized.

We do know that they tended to use a system that had two values for time long and short where the "long" was from one and a half to two times longer than the short. Musical phrases were built of patterns of long and short -- sometimes these patterns repeated.

We only know as much as we do about early Greek music because Middle Eastern arabic speaking scholars studied and preserved translated early Greek writings.

writing a good drum beat

Often a simple percussion instrument for instance a stick was used to beat out accents. As the nomadic life was exchanged for urban life new instruments were developed, poetic form matured and scholars studied earlier Greek works, a rhythmic method developed with a basis in long and short syllables durations and accent patterns based on poetic meter.

As poems tended to repeat the notion of a larger repeating rhythmic cycle emerged. As the Arabic speaking empire expanded, matured and moved through the greater Middle East and through North Africa into modern Spain and Portugal, it brought an academic attitude toward music.

Local traditions were integrated and new forms and instruments developed.

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The music traditions of North Africa are still today heavily influenced by Arabic empire roots rather than by the rest of mainland Africa. That is the music is primarily monotonal and of simple rhythm. Polyrhythm and harmony are almost non-existent in Middle Eastern music.

That does not mean by any measure that the music is simple. The "interesting" and unique aspects of each performance come from the "ornamentation" of the tune by each instrument rather than from the "merging" of various tones and times that is formed by harmony and polyrhythm.

The Arabic and Mediterranean music tradition tends to be based on the soloist or small ensemble -- a natural outgrowth of folk groups and a nomadic bard tradition.

An interesting side note: Islamic tradition holds the musical arts in an odd dichotomy. Many Islamic fundamentalists have held that music for pleasure rather than to worship or to declare the glory of Allah is a sinful distraction -- however throughout history Islamic rulers and no doubt the general populace tended to patronize the musical arts.

Khalifates with courts in the Maghreb developed forms of stylized concerts that formalized many new musical as well as rhythmic structures including a complex style of concert called the "nuba".

This presence in Europe, along with the cultural interaction during the crusades, was responsible for many Middle Eastern instruments and musical forms finding their way into Europe.

For instance I've heard people argue that the frame drum extremely popular in North Africa throughout history found it's way into Ireland as the bodhran this way -- this is probably apocryphal I'm not aware of anything but speculation to support the theory.

There are numerous problems for modern students attempting to study early Middle Eastern music: Arabic writers tend to describe such things and music and dance rather poetically in terms of impressions and feelings and effect on audience rather than give much technical detail of form or technique.

Apparently there was no standardized musical notation -- though Middle Eastern scholars were impressed by western notational methods probably "discovered" by the Middle East around the time of the crusadesthese methods did not lend themselves well to representing the more varied in terms of tone and rhythm music of the Middle East.

Studying rhythmic modes is even more difficult -- very little rhythmic notation exists, even for songs that are otherwise quite well documented. Apparently either as in many oral traditions the rhythmic modes were so well known scholars did not bother to document them or they could find no good method for doing so.

Attempts were made by a number of Middle Eastern scholars to document their highly oral musical traditions; unfortunately most of these documents are not available today -- although there are many references to them in historical works.

The Mongul invasions of the 'Abbasid empire and sacking of such academic centers as Baghdad in destroyed most of the relevant academic documents not to mention the scholars! Safi-al-Din, the author of two of the oldest surviving technical texts on music was one of the few who barely escaped the purge and wound up working in the Mongul court."Beat It" is a song written and performed by American recording artist Michael Jackson from his sixth studio album, Thriller ().

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Here is a quick and effective way of creating original and complex drum patterns spontaneously. I am using Logic, but the concept is not DAW specific. First, I am going to start with a standard dance/rock ostinato with a 4 to the floor kick, snare on beats 2 and 4 and a hi-hat running constantly on.

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