Art & Technology, Electronic Music & Sound Design
Electronic music and dynamicsRABid OfflineMP Hall of Fame MemberRegistered: 11/01/01Posts: 9515 I feel your pain. For a lot of techies dynamics = filter sweeps. This gets old fast. For many dynamics = volume. Too simple. To me dynamics = expression. Not easily achieved on ROMplers. But, let’s talk about drums and options you have when programming dynamics and possible relations to electronic drums.Ride cymbal – Dynamics depends not only on how hard you hit the cymbal, but where. Moving closer to the bell changes the tone and shortens the sustain of the ring. On a ROMpler this can be mimicked by cross fading a sample between a normal ride hit and a bell hit. I do this frequently on my SP-11 and it is very easy to program cross fades on that pad. With an electronic sound you can get the same effects by changing sustain, filter and other tonal settings.Snare – So many options here. One major source of dynamics is where you hit the drum. Outer edges give a thinner pop while center hits are full, round, longer, and have more bottom. While many people use cut off on a low pass filter to give drums more dynamics, a high pass filter can help when emulating the dynamics of a snare.Toms – Timing is one of the biggest dynamic controls when using toms. Just a little hesitation on a tom lick can give you that real player feel. Also, many drum programmers ignore the effects of layers and the flam. Watch a good drummer and notice it is not all about the rolls. Toms are tuned and a drummer should know which toms sound good when hit at the same time, and which toms fit a specific song. A single tom hit placed in a loop can give it new life and a new feel. When you set up an electronic kit, even one that you want to sound synthesized rather than real, pay attention to how the toms blend. Then use sparingly to add feel and punch.Bass drum – I like to use two bass drums in each kit, one dominant and one passive. The dominant drum is for the down beat. The passive drum for ghost licks and extra back-beat filler. The passive bass drum should have a shorter ring with a bit of pop and low volume. This keeps you from running over the bass player’s riffs.