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WELCOME IN THE STUDIO

In this section you can find things that will assist you in your own computer-based musical productions. There's a lot of original Dubroom material which you can use, but also third party material. There's much more than "just" sampled material, as you can find some little pieces of software, presets and other things as well. Everything in this section is, like all stuff in the Dubroom by the way, legal and -a lot of times- absolutely free of charge. Definitely worth a visit, for novice to veteran.

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DRUM PATTERNS

Of course, the drum pattern suggested in this tutorial is just one out of many that could have been used. Always keep in mind that this tutorial is only there to inspire en encourage you to open up your own vaults in your talents and let your feelings guide you to your own style and pattern. 

PLACING BREAKS

Next to some general guidelines given in the main text, consider that the most safe way to find your drum break places is to treat a Reggae track like parts of eight bars repeated. In principal you can place a break at the end of any 8 bar part and it will suit.

CYMBALS

Try not to use too much cymbals. Even the track suggested in this chapter approached a borderline there. Also do not use the same crash cymbal over and over. A minimum of two is best. Just picture a Reggae drum kit at a concert and count the cymbals.

TUTORIAL DRUMS

When you want to make use of the drums sounds in this Tutorial, CLICK HERE to be directed to the download page. You can also use these sounds in your own productions as they come from the physical drum kit in the Dubroom studio. 

PERCUSSION?

As you may have  noticed, nothing is said in this chapter about percussion. CLICK HERE to forward to the chapter about percussion

MAKING DUB WITH COMPUTERS - CHAPTER 18: MIDI (9) - DRUM PATTERNS AND BREAKS

We are now at the point where we have a full instrumental track. But we're not quite there yet. We have to take our 128 measures of music and change things. The created full riddim is rather boring without any drum breaks and other variations and that's what we're gonna work on a little bit in the following chapters.

Right now, let's focus on the drums as this is the reason why we want to start our raw instrumental Reggae riddim at the ninth bar. About 95% of all Reggae tracks start of with a drum roll. You could say that this is the "Reggae way" of counting off before a track. Where others tick the drum sticks or simply say "one, two three four", in Reggae this is done by means of a drum roll. There are many non-musical reasons to think of why this is done but let's not go there in this tutorial. Let's just take it as a musical fact to consider.

Go to the eight bar of your drum track, make it so that you will be able to create 16th notes and make the following introduction roll:

EXAMPLE0019.MP3

Another thing in Reggae Music is that the first eight bars often function as an intro part. This is where horns play their theme or singers introduce the track with one or more vocal hooks. Very often, the first eight bars end with a drum roll that starts the sixth or seventh bar. As we will keep it a bit simple, we'll just make a short break at the eight bar. In the sequencer,this is the 16th bar as we start of with 7 bars of silence and a one-bar intro roll.

Go to the 16th bar and create this break (click image to enlarge):

EXAMPLE0020.MP3

The start of your rhythm should now sound something like this: 

EXAMPLE0021.MP3

Actually, you will recognize the Reggae standard of the intro roll and the break in the eight bar of the actual musical track. We've now reached a point wherein freedom can be enjoyed to the fullness when it comes to the drums. At least, freedom in responsibility.

Most tracks will have two or three breaks after the introduction part, or even more. Breaks can last sometimes up to four bars but you will have to know exactly what you do when you go there. More short and simple breaks will do for now, as you don't need this tutorial at this stage when you know how to make a four bar break. 

Sure, when you know exactly what you want, or perhaps you have lyrics for which you need a riddim. In these cases it is quite important to place your breaks strategically. You do not want a break in the middle of a verse unless you deliberately want such a thing, for example.

There's more you don't really want unless you really do. 

Take the beginner's mistake of putting too many breaks in the rhythm. A break should signify an important part like the end of a chorus or verse, or it should just do what the word says: give the riddim a break. When you hear a break every let's say 16 bars, the break becomes part of the rhythm and you'll end up creating a new style, call it breakbeat and become famous... But wait.... that has been done a long time ago already so just don't do it. Limit yourself to two or three breaks next to the introduction parts. So let's say no more than 5 in total during the whole instrumental track.

You do not want your Hi Hat pattern to continue during a break, either. A real drummer would never be able to do this and so you should avoid such unnatural things like the plague. Only do such things when you know what rules you are breaking and why you are breaking them. The human brain simply does not accept such things, even when it's just on a subconscious level. You can alter your hi hat pattern like in the example of this chapter, though. End it with an open HiHat hit that sounds during the break, fine. But always keep in mind a drummer usually has two arms and hands, not three or four.

Now, the best way in a situation like the one we created now is to go with your feeling. One way of determining the place of the breaks, especially when your intention is to make Dub primarily, is to simply let the drum and the bass play without the piano. Press play and listen intensly. You hear the introduction roll and the first eight bars that end with a break. Now listen, feel the drum and bass line and there will be a point wherein you will want to do something with the drums.

Let's do something with the drums. Let's put the shortest breaks of all somewhere: a simple crash on the thirn with nothing else during the rest of the bar. You will recognize this thing, especially in live concerts. It shows the power of taking things away, which -after all- is the strength of Dub as well. Go to bar 40 in your sequencer and do this with the drums:

EXAMPLE0022.MP3

Yes, you simply change the HiHat his on the third count into a crash cymbal hit and delete everything afterward in the bar. By doing so, you effectively created a 24-bar part in which you can do a thing and end it at bar 40 in your sequencer. This can also be a thing you will in your Dub mixing at a later stage.

Now, let's continue our drum alteration session. Instead of putting a break or crash cymbal,you can also slightly change the drum pattern intself. We're going to do that in the 64th bar in the sequencer. Simply move the snare to the fourth count and remove the hihats after the open hit at the rird count. See below:

EXAMPLE0023.MP3

Now, let's get a bit more serious now as we will put our first break in the actual riddim. 

The first break after the introduction parts. We'll do it in the 78th bar where we simply change the Hi Hat hit on the third count into a crash cymbal hit and we'll put an open HiHat hit at the first count of bar 79, after which there will be no more HiHat in bars 79 and 80. 

Create the following break in bars 79 and 80:

EXAMPLE0024.MP3

As you can see, we are over half of the actual track and we have just put the first break in there. But before we'll put another one somewhere, let's take the variation we made in the 64th bar of the sequencer and paste it into bar 96 as well.

A simple crash hit at the third count of a bar can mark the end of a part. A crash hit at the very first count of a bar can signify the sart of a part and we will do that as well before will put our final break in the riddim. We'll do it in bar 113 of the sequencer..

EXAMPLE0025.MP3

Since most parts of the riddim we're making has 24 bars, this crash hit signifies the start of the last 24 bars of the riddim. Our last break will be to end the riddim itself. Go to bar 137 and make the following break:

EXAMPLE0026.MP3

Voila!

You've created your first full Drum line!

<<<PREVIOUS CHAPTER<<< - MAKING DUB WITH COMPUTERS - >>>NEXT CHAPTER>>>

This tutorial is in an unfinished stage, but it does contain the basics to get yourself equipped to use just about any DAW or even hardware studio in order to make DUB from Reggae Music in the authentic and original way. When you have a question or comment you'd like to see addressed, feel free to use the Dubroom Contact pages or join YUKU.com and post your words publicly on the Studio Forum. Click here to read about the latest updates to this tutorial.

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