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Wanting to learn

Discussion in 'Recording' started by tundrkys, Mar 6, 2002.

  1. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    Does anyone know of a website I could go to to learn how to make my midi bass and drums sound real? I do mostly rock and metal, so it really shouldn't be that hard I would guess, but I don't really know what makes a bass or drum sound rock/metal. I am just wanting this for songwriting, I don't plan on putting out midi sequences that sound real, I just want to learn enough, to communicate my ideas to drummers and bassist
  2. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    What a timely post. I am currently doing a project for Yamaha that involves getting the most "realistic" sounding MIDI data out of a $300 keyboard. Its _quite_ a challenge.

    Unfortunately, I don't think you want to go to the measures we do to make it realistic. This is because you're writing parts that will be replaced with real musicians. That's important to keep in mind. You're going for the _part_ not the _final performance_. So when you're stuck, call up your drum and bass playing friends and ask them how they'd approach playing something. Watch what these instrumentalists do when they play. Listen to your favorite artists and try to hear what they're doing.

    If you have an example you can post somewhere, give us a link.
  3. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    You are right, that I am just going for the part, but I happen to be using a $300 YamerHamer, so I would be interested in anything you come up with.
    On the other note, I am flattered that you would think I would have friends at all. I don't.

    Well none that play anyway. So I have been trying to listen to records, but I guess I don't know exactly what I am listening for, because drums just sound like drums to me, and the bass sounds like bass, across all genres. But I know there has to be some differences, like with guitar, it isn't only what you play, but how you play it that makes it rock or jazz, or blues etc...
  4. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    Which Yamahopper are you using?

    Try to pick one or two things you're going after. Do what you can to create the track and then ask us questions. Generally, the more specific, the better. For example, "I'm having problems getting this tom fill right, what can I do to make it sound less machine-gun like?"

    Most of it is just "doing it". Watch live performances to see how the drummer plays. When does he hit the snare? When is the hihat open? If you read music, go look at a few method books for guitar, bass, drums, etc and see how they approach teaching a cat to play.

    This is the fun part.
  5. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    Well, I just can't get my drum pattern to feel like rock. The snare should be on 2 and 3 right? kick on the one. how do drummers use cymbals and high hats??
    Do bass players simply play eight notes on the root to back a chord, or do rock and metal base players tend to stick with the I and III, or I and V, or I, IV, V of that chord, and play with the I, IV,V for every chord?
    Do they stay away from VII?
  6. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    Heh...wow, you've got a lot of "how long is a piece of string?" questions there.

    More often than not, drummers play on the "backbeat" or 2 & 4. Not always, but its common. As far as _how_ a drummer plays, a good drummer performs his function in the band. That function is to maintain the rhythm. How they do that is part of playing the instrument and there aren't any short answers.

    About the bass and harmonic questions, pretty much the same as the drums. The bass player is commonly there to anchor the harmony and lend additional rhythmic support to the drums.

    Yes there are conventions and things that are "common" in music but you'll find out what they are through listening and try to play what you've heard.

    It may seem frustrating because there are so many questions but discovering the answers is why music is fun.
  7. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Hey Tun - One not-too-expensive way to get more of a feel - If you have a way to play back MIDI sequences (does your Yamaheehaw have a disk drive? Hard to tell, it's borderline price and could possibly) If so, hopefully it could play back floppies with Standard Midi Files - Several people advertise such files for sale, with everything from Manilow to Manson available. Listening to individual parts from one of these disks could help you learn to "selectively listen" to normal CD's.

    The main "trick" to getting realistic midi tracks is, as Nate mentioned, is to learn how the particular instrument is played, both technically and per style. For example, 3 trumpet players playing a 3-part harmony line will never play each note precisely on time with each other or play with exactly the same tone - so, when I want a realistic trumpet trio, I pick 3 different trumpet patches, preferably from different sound sources - then I play each line separately in 3 separate passes, like I was 3 different horn players. When these tracks are combined, they are much more believable than if you call up a trumpet patch and play one track using chords. When listening to drum beats in any given style, try to count the rhythm as 16th notes, saying "one-e-and-a-two-e-and-a-three-e-and-a-four-e-and-a" (that was one measure of 4/4 time) While doing that, pay particular attention to whether the beats of the kick, snare, and hi-hat are falling right on a count, right on one of the in-between syllables, or somewhere in between. This is what gives the "feel" to a rhythm track. As an extreme example, listen to a track from a "hard" country album - almost everything in the rhythm section will fall exactly on a beat. Contrast that with something by the (jazz) Crusaders, or Drummer Dave Weckl. Then listen to almost any "blues" band - a lot of blues has an asymetrical rhythm, known as a "shuffle" beat.

    I have a young friend from work that I've been sort of "mentoring" - he's been trying to write some of his own stuff, and while some of the melodic things are fresh, he still has no idea of standard song structures (# of measures typical in a verse, etc.) He is, however, getting better at it because he tries to take my advice and listen critically to different styles of music. This is something that can't happen overnight. The old saying about first learning the rules before you can break them applies here too. The more you listen to music while trying to pick out the separate parts/rhythms, etc, the better you will get and the more sense different styles will make. So stick with it, try to listen to just one part in a song until you can do it automatically, maybe even find a drummer who will show you how each part of a drum kit is played for maybe the cost of one lesson - If you'r really out in the sticks, buy some how-to-play-your-whatever type videos from one of the mail order houses and watch/listen until it starts to make sense.

    But whatever you do, if this is your passion, screw anybody that gets in your way but keep at it. I listened to the wrong people for too many years, and wasted about 20 years of righteous jammin' time. Don't do that to yourself, you can never get time back. Good luck... Steve
  8. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    Thanky Steve, very helpful information, I guess I'll just keep trying to listen to my CD's and stuff. I hook the Yamaha(which in my opinion does have the best sound quality at this price) up to my computer, and use the sequencer on there, so I will try that midi Idea also.
    Nate, you too, thanks for the good info, very helpful. The thing about the drummer playing on certain beats is exactly the info I was looking for.

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