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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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General Midi Drum List BPM - Delay Times List

ABOUT CHAPTER 18

In the previous chapter we created a full drum line by adding breaks. We also learned a few basic principals when it comes to placement of breaks.  

VELOCITY

Since the emphasis of the Riddim section is on the 2nd and 4th counts, a good tip is to put the velocity of everything that is not on these two points a little lower than the chord hits at the 2 and 4. 

WHAT CHORD PROGRESSIONS?

The chord progression we're making is a 2 by 2 one. Variations are endless: there are Reggae tracks using just one chord, while others have the whole alphabet in their tracks. There are no standard rules, but using two chords like this one is a very common one. 

MASTERCLASS FOR AUTODIDACTS

When you're a little bit familiar with your sequencer and you have some musicological weight you can always head over to the Home of the Iriginal Reggae Midifiles and download the works of Sure Dread. This talented and skillful keyboard player will teach you many licks, tricks and other things for your organs and other keyboards. Just click on the link you can find on the left side of this page (yes, the VU meter).

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. 

CHORD FINDER

Click here for a page where you can easily find the right chords for your piano or synthesizer. Just fill in what you know and it will help you out for sure.

REGGAE GUITAR

Click here for a 2 Mb Zipfile containing wave files with Reggae Guitar Skanks, both open and muted. 

MAKING DUB WITH COMPUTERS - CHAPTER 19: MIDI (10) - THE RIDDIM OR "SKANK" SECTION

Now that we've created the full drums for our first Midi riddim, it's time to put a little more attention to the riddim section. 

Before we dive into the topic though, a little disclaimer. 

Yours truly has many weak points and this is absolutely one of them. You will definitely benefit from studying a little musicology when it comes to chords and chord progressions, and it will not take you too long before you are smiling about this little chapter.

Anyway, let me bend down low and tell you what I know, to paraphrase a little lyrical expression by a certain brother. 

The riddim or "skank" follows or emphasizes the bass line by hitting a chord on every 2nd and 4th count of a bar/measure. There are extra chord hits, like in the Piano we programmed a couple of chapters ago. However, just putting a Chord hit on the 2nd and 4th count in itself will already provide you with a most basic riddim or "skank". 

A standard Reggae riddim section contains a Piano, a Guitar and an Organ. Mind you, this is a standard set-up and there are more variations possible than we can think of together. Creativity and vibal preferences should be the main drive! For this midi riddim we will use this standard set-up, though. This track is about principals and so on, not about creativity.

We already have the Piano in our instrumental track. We've made an 8-bar loop and it's fine like that. After all, we are creating this riddim to make a Dub and most of the times the skanks will not be there in the mix.

Let's hit the Organ next. For this example I will simply use a standard Organ out of Reason 3.0. As we're going to make a classic Reggae Organ "bubble", picking a Hammond or Hammond style organ will do it. So go to your sequencer, open a Midi channel and assign it to an organ or sampler. Go to the 9th bar and simply put in the following chords on the 2nd and 4th counts (click to enlarge):

It's important that you put in the chords with the "A" below in the first bar and the "E" in the second. Now you have a standard skank but to make the classic "bubble" you need to put in extra hits. You can simply copy the hits and paste them 1/8th before the 2nd and fourth count. See below (click to enlarge):

Now, transpose the chord hits you just pasted one octave below as you can see in the next graphic (click to enlarge):

To complete the "bubble", copy and paste the hits also 1/8th count behind the hits on the 2 and 4 (click to enlarge):

EXAMPLE0027.MP3

The chords we've just copied and pasted can be considered as the left hand of the organ player, where the right hand plays the chords on the 2nd and 4th counts. If you want, you can lower the velocity of the left hand but when you hear the organ and the piano together you will hear an emphasis on these counts already:

EXAMPLE0028.MP3

Now, in principal we can just copy and paste the two bars of organ but a little variation here and there can be nice. In a way, you can do the same with any instrument in the riddim section as what we did with the drums: a "break" or little variation here and there. 

Copy the two bars of argan and paste it three times so we will have an eight bar loop. Go to the eight bar, make it possible to change 16th notes and change the organ into what you see (and hear) below (click to enlarge):

EXAMPLE0029.MP3

Copy the eight bars and paste it 15 times (click to enlarge):

There is our Organ bubble. It should be self-evident that this is just a classic Organ line, adding hooks and little melodies can be added but you'll need some musicological dimensions which I do not consider myself to be able to present.

My shortcomings in creating more or less interesting skanks come to the surface even more as we approach the final part of this chapter, which deals with the guitar. For me, the guitar is where I do no longer use musical Midi notes. 

Personally I use recordings of a real guitar playing the chord of choice and I pretty much do not do much more than adding a hit on the 2nd/4th counts. 

Getting a good guitar sound to make a midi guitar skank is something which I have not achieved, partly because I kind of never bothered to find that sound. The obvious thing is, to "simply" do what I never did and find that guitar sound, put the right midi chords in the right place and copy-paste it. 

But since I never bothered to do, let me make it up to you and share the sounds that I use, since they are excellent.

So let's just make a short excursion. It should not be too difficult to use a drum computer or sampler and insert a few samples. When you click HERE, you will be directed to a page from where you can download the guitar skanks I use. 

Put an "A-minor" chord on the first bar (2nd/4th counts obviously), and an "E-minor" chord in the second, like in the example below (click to enlarge):

EXAMPLE0030.MP3

Copy and paste so that the whole tune the guitar will play the right chords in the right place. Eight bars of your riddim section should now sound something like in the next audio example:

EXAMPLE0031.MP3

The whole tune should something like this (remember you can make free use of the drum sounds from this tutorial):

EXAMPLE0032.MP3

Needles to say, this concludes a very primitive explanation of creating a riddim part in your instrumental Reggae track. Needles to say, you need to find out things about chords and which one(s) can be used for what purpose but all of that goes beyond my level of expertise.

Still, it's an introduction and the samples provided in this chapter hopefully make up a little bit as well. Please do not link to the samples, especially not the guitar samples for the simple reason that you have discovered them by wanting to learn things rather than looking for cheap ways to "click-your-own-dub" ;)

<<<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.

JAH

Yesus Kristos

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