Quick Drum Tip #1 – Start Small

Programming rhythms is one of my weakest skills, so I need all the help I can get. Without any training on real drums, I often find the hardest part is simply getting started with something that isn’t just kick on the 1 and 3 or four on the floor. What I’ve begun doing is to start by simply picking two accented kick notes before anything else. The beat below was something I quickly put into my TR-09. I wouldn’t call it exciting, but was fifteen minutes of work and it’s a lot more interesting than what I’d normally come up with in a short period. The placement of the main kick notes on the 1 and the and of the 3 dictate much of what other sounds will fit once these main hits are in place. Instead of putting together one mediocre rhythm in an hour of work, I managed to put four into the box that had more potential to drive interesting progressions or melodies.

All Triads 1 – Strings 2/3/4

This is the first of an exploration into mapping out all triads in a key in close proximity. There’s no shortage of locations to work from, but this is the starting point I grab most frequently. Also included are characteristic notes for the associated modes to help add color highlighting where you are in the key. All labels are relative to the key center.