Drum Programming Basics (Module 1) - Drum Programming Theory | Joseph Evans | Skillshare

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Drum Programming Basics (Module 1) - Drum Programming Theory

teacher avatar Joseph Evans, Make Better Music Now: Follow Me

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to Drum Programming Theory


    • 2.

      Note Lengths


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Counting and Time


    • 5.



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About This Class

Would like to learn how to 

  • Make better beats in 2017? 
  • Create drum patterns and loops like a pro?
  • Develop your own unique drum patterns and sound?

Then enroll in this course!

Module 1: http://skl.sh/2kBqVEy

Module 2: http://skl.sh/2lb6v1W

Module 3: http://skl.sh/2kBBwj5

This first module covers Drum Programming Theory

After completion you will understand

  • Note Lengths - which will help you create more sophisticated drum patterns and loops
  • Quantization - which will help keep your patterns on beat
  • Counting and Time - which will help you better understand how to make more complex drum patterns
  • Triplets - which is the foundation to developing the crazy high hat, snare, and kick drum combos you hear on the radio!

So enroll now and I'll see you on the other side!


P.S Make sure to enroll in all 3 modules to get the complete training in this series, ok! ;)

Meet Your Teacher

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Joseph Evans

Make Better Music Now: Follow Me



Hey what's up!

Welcome to my SkillShare course page.

If you are new to Music Production... then this is the perfect place to start!!


I have taught over 20,000 producers and hobbyist around the world in over 100 countries how to: 

Get started making beats Produce music in Logic Pro X and GarageBand Understand Music Theory & Drum Programming Copyright and license your music And more....

All of my courses are designed to help BEGINNERS quickly and effectively learn music production.

Students say:


Image what you will now be able to do after improving your music production skills and learning how to operate and make beats in GarageBand and Logic Pro X!!

- Produce P... See full profile

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1. Intro to Drum Programming Theory: be making basis. Welcome to this section on drum programming theory. I got a preference this for you. Now, everything in here is not going to be something that you don't know, But it's necessary to go over the basics and go over the fundamentals. Because once we go over those, you're going to thoroughly understand what I'm teach you in the next section. So when we covering for instance, note left is very important to understand that because if you have longer short knows, you need to understand that it's gonna create, um, or basic pattern or, um, or advanced pattern. Okay, we're covering quantity ization, because if you're beast off, you're gonna learn exactly what type of metric to use to make sure your beats are Arm point . Okay, we're talking about, you know, triplets, because that that is one of the key elements of what you know how to create today's drum patterns. Okay, he had even understand the different types of time like they have halftime regular time, double time, and all of these days together is going to give you a thorough understanding of how to create today's loops and patterns. So that's why I put all of these lectures in here. Make sure you watch all of them to the end. And if you have any questions along the way, please hit me up, man. You email me or you can post right there in the course. I have no problem answering anything for you. If anything is unclear also, you know, leave a review of you. If you feel like the course. Information is good, you know. Let me know. If you feel like it's bad, let me know. I would love to know and have always updating discourse information to make it better and better and better. So without further ado, let's go ahead and jump right in. 2. Note Lengths: be making basis. All right, so in this lecture, what we're gonna do is cover note lifts, All right, It's important to understand what limps the notes are because you, when you got it, comes to making mawr complex patterns. You're gonna need smaller notes. You need to understand which type of smaller note you need in order to do certain things. You know what? Your drums. Okay, Vice versa. For more basic pattern, you need to understand that as well. Now, before we go into it, let's just do a brief overview here. When you're creating music, you usually using a four bar loop or an eight bar loop. Sometimes you use 16 if you're more advanced. But for our purposes, we're gonna use a four bar loops. All right, so there's four measures in each loop, okay? And then within that measure, there's basically four parts there is. Well, 1234 All right, let me zoom into that one. Measure my bed. Here we go. But, you know, saying look, one to three fours, four sections. Everything is done in fours the majority of the time. Okay, but let's just take a look and zoom into one measure here. All right, so with one measure the length of a full measure, say, if we play the kick drum, that would be Ah, whole note. All right. If we were to play that kick drum, only half of that measure it will be 1/2 a note. All right, if you only play ah four feel be 1/4 note. Eighth note, 16th note, and then it keeps on going down from there. So you go from 16th note to half of that, which would be a 30 seconds or Sartori. Second note and 1/2 of that, which would be a 64 for note. 1/64. Half of that well, should be won over 28 or 1/96 there. And 1/28. And it keeps on going down. Okay, Now I'm teaching you this for a reason, OK? Bear with me. I know this might be really basic, but you gotta gotta understand where I got to teach you the basics first, before we go into the more detailed stuff. Okay, so in the next lecture, we're gonna talk about quantity. Ization is all I'm telling you, all ties in together 3. Quantization: be making basis. All right, so in this lecture, we're gonna talk about quantity ization. All right, now I want to keep things in my here. Now, we're producers and beat makers were not drummers. OK, but if we were to play a live drum pattern right, a lot of times, sometimes you play things off off of the beat. Okay? Now, in our drum programming are drum program. Whether you using logic, fl studio Able Tin Machine, whatever you're using, garage man, it doesn't matter. All your programs have what's called a piano roll in there or another name for B step recorder is just a graphical display of where your notes air hitting with on you know, the timeline. Okay, we're looking at one measure here. Now, if you have your MIDI keyboards selected, you can play or not selected but hooked up. Do you can play your notes life. Okay, now I'm gonna give you an example of of basically, quantity Is ations all the importance of quantity ization. I'm gonna delete this. I'm a place and a drum pattern off. Okay, We've all done that before. Where we're trying, we're in his own were playing on our Midi keyboard and we play something off now. Sometimes what we do is we'll try to quite a size it right, but without understanding the whole I aspect of note lifts and everything like that, you're quantities asymmetries could be off. Okay, so let's look at the quantity ization Metro's here. Remember, no lifts where, he said, the whole note. There's a list of length of a whole measure. Half note was the length of the half of the measure. Quarter note was the minutes of a four for the measure. Eighth note, eighth of the measure of 16th 1/16 of the measure. Dirty 2nd 64 is so on. It now applies to quantity ization. Okay, So based on how simple your pattern is, you're gonna use be using these numbers the higher numbers, right? And how mawr complex your pattern ISS. You'll be using the higher numbers, Okay. For the most part in hip hop music or TDM music or even pop music, you're gonna be using either 1/16 or 1/8 for basic patterns. So what's this? Since I only have three notes here, I'm gonna use this 1/8 and if you notice, go ahead and, um, undo this. It's snapped the notes in place. We're supposed to be listened to a nap. First. I'm here to notes snapping in place. All right, and vice versa. Say, if I'm going to a high hat. If I wanted to sound like a basic pattern. Okay, more. CIT's more, more in sync. Our Machar used 1/16 because those are shorter notes. These air 16th notes. So our quantities eyes with 1/16. Now let's listen to it. Okay, now there's mawr in depth understanding of these quantities. Ation metrics. You can add triplets, which we'll talk about in the later election. Lecture swing. Okay, we have a lot of different ways we can manipulate the sound here, but I want to cover the basics first. Okay, so that's why that's what these different numbers mean. These different numbers stand for the different note lifts in a simple way To keep this in mind is the more complex your pattern ISS, the higher the resolution. That's what this is called in beat makers. Terms hired a resolution. And this more simpler the pattern, the more simpler the resolution. All right. Very simple concept. The next lecture. We're gonna take it to instep higher. Okay, 4. Counting and Time: be making basis. All right, so in this lecture, now we're gonna talk about counting and time. All right? We've already covered note lifts. We've covered quantity, ization, the next major mess. Next thing to talk about is time now, in most in most urban or even pop or even medium music. Everything is based off of a time signature called 44 time. All this means is that there's four beats per measure. Okay, there's four beats per measure. All right, if you look in here and this is one measure you see four beats. 1234 Again, this might sound basic, but it is important to understand, because once we get into some of the other more advanced things, it's gonna all make sense when we get there. So stay with me, All right? There's four beats in the measure. All right? Now they have ah was called down beats and up beats. Right? So when you're counting, the down be is the very first beat. So one, then from there, I'm gonna just delete these. We're gonna play the measure known. You have 234 So 12341234 down being 34 downbeat 134 Okay, it's important to understand that now, when it comes to music, there's also something that we don't really think about it as a up beats. It is something called and so one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four. So let's just play that matter. Known here one and two entry and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four in. All right, I want you to understand down and up beats. The downbeat is at the very beginning of each, um, particular beat in a measure. The upbeat is the and is the one in the middle. Okay, so different instruments hit at different places on the grid. Okay. Or within the measure, usually at amazing barely all the time. A kick drum is hitting on that downbeat and usually a clap or snare. You could say it's hitting on upbeat, but depending on how you play, your music is gonna hit different places. Let me explain what I'm talking about. They have a different type of times. They have regular time halftime in double time in the reason why there's different times. If you ever listen to music, right And it sounds like to be a switching up, they're still playing at the same speed BPM. Okay, beats per minute. But what they're doing is they're playing at a different time. Okay, so let me tell you, how does it usually works most hip hop and pop it all that type of music they do. They play kick drum on the one, and then they put come over here and play like a clap or a snare on the three. So let's just play that and you see what I'm saying? One and 12341234123 is hitting on the three. Okay. And of course, you could sit here and take the kick drum and play that somewhere else. Do. 34123 Depending on where you move it on the grid, you'd get a different pattern. Stay with me now. That's what we would call halftime. So most of time we've been playing in hip hop and e g m and pop music in half time, but what were you supposed to be planning is regular time. Think about it like this half time you're playing the kick, the snare drum or the clap on the to beat and the four beat. Okay, so check this out. Stay with me. I promise we're going to go somewhere with this. I promise you, you're gonna It's called gonna make sense in here in a little bit to stay with me on this and get this concept here. Then they have something called double time. This is where it speeds up even more. Keep in mind we haven't changed the BPM. We're just playing the notes, all right. In different places. So and double time, your snare or collapse are hitting on the. And remember when I was doing counting, I was doing 1 to 3 for 1234 In the beginning of lecture, we saw it talked about. There's also another aspect, which is the end, and it's and is the the the measure on a notes give me not measure to note in between each measure. So it's one and two and three and four an, and it repeats and repeats and repeats. All right, so with double time, instead of playing the snare drum, um, on a two or four or on a three, you're playing it in between that measure, okay? And so I want you to understand these concepts when it comes to your beats. Okay, So BPM is how fast or slow your music is going Your beats per minute. And that's why sometimes, you know, when you listen to, like, say, techno music, they might have a superfast BPM won over 64 right? And the kick drum is playing on the down beats. Okay, But Dan, what people are doing is they're switching up and using different time, so, like they might use a double time for the kick and put the snare on halftime or regular time. Okay. And everything is based on where that snare or clap is hitting the snare. If the snare or clap is hitting on a three, then that's half time. If the snare clacks hitting on the two and four is regular time, and if it's hitting on the ants, so in between each measure, then that's double time, okay? And that's something very important to understand. Because in the next election. We're gonna be talking about triplets, and that's the whole aspect of this thing. It just keeps on going. Keeps on going, keeps on going. So let's go ahead and jump into the next lecture. Thanks for watching. All right. 5. Triplets: be making basis in this lecture. We're gonna talk about triplets now. Tripolis is how the you know, saying this is the triplets is one of the keys to making today's drum patterns. Okay, this is where you get those syncopated high hats. Certain type of snare Rose where it sounds like it's RB, but it's off beat. They're using triplets, OK, and now let's talk about what Triple is our first. Now I'm gonna use a high hat to describe this. Now, remember, 44 time, if you remember in a p previous lecture 44 time, right where there's four beats per measure. Okay, but also within each beat. There are also four slots for notes as well. All right. With triplets, it's a simple concept. Instead of four, there's only three, and they would hit evenly throughout that particular part of the beaten. Okay, it's sounding off, but is really on and see what producers air doing is instead of completely swishing up to keep time signature. Okay, they're trying to triplets. And so what you would do when you get your resolution in your quantity ization is is the same concept. Okay, You remember the note lamps, right? However long those notes are or short, those notes are depends on the complexity of your pattern. So meaning, for instance, this. It looks like their 16th notes. Right. But in all actuality, we're dealing with threes and stairs. So it's 1/12 note, and you noticed that snapped at right in place. Okay, now this this pattern was a little bit more of these notes was smaller, so let's check it out. If these notes were smaller, then we would move the resolution down to our upto a higher number. Check this out. Say I You know, it's often triple. It's a lot of times you can only do it within the step recorder a piano roll feature to see if I put my God. If I try to go ahead and select this 1/12 those other knows disappeared. Why? Because it's on Lee doing this for Ah, remember the note lives right for a 1/12. Okay. Note. Stay with me. So what? I would do one this this particular if I wanted this particular triplet pattern. Right. I'm gonna come over here to this great revolution right here. 1/24 and it snapped in place, even though it was a very little snap in place. Let's just do this again. This time I'm going to do it over the course of say, I'm gonna spread it out. I got three notes within this half measure right here. So what a woman do, I'm gonna bring that resolution down to, like, a 1/6. You get on the sand. I'm hoping you understanding it. Stay with me, man cannot tell. Tell you what, We're going somewhere with this prat. Trust me. And then all I would do is of course, keep that going now, compared to patterns that have four. So you just asked four notes in it. This has only three for this. This half measure right here. Well, so for a second I'm a mute out these notes right here. And with that, that type of ah rhythm. It has a different fields who were compared to, say, the triplets has more of a swing to it. Okay, so the main thing to keep in mind with triple is is you're playing three notes in each section compared to four. All right. And that's where these different quantity is a sh investors coming into and now we're about to go into some or the fun stuff, the actual creating of these different patterns. Now, now that you understand these different concepts, okay?