Programming Drums


Junior Members
I've trawled the net trying to find some decent drum midi files or webpages relating to drum rhythm programming but cannot find anything. Can anyone assist please?

Ok, so I've got the basics i.e. kick on the beat, clap or open high hat off beat, snare on the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar (all very basic stuff). I can also sort out the machine gun snare rolls. What I really want is some ideas for high hat rhythms (both open and closed), incidental snares, kicks, percussion etc.....etc.

I want my drums to stop sounding basic and start lifting my tunes!!!! :sun:


Studio Elf
Rule 1 : Experiment!

What are you using for a drum machine? Just load some random percussion sounds in and try some stuff out.

Seriously, it's the best way.


[EDIT : Sometimes I try building up percussion patterns with the snare off, I find it easier to come up with patterns that way - and if they don't work with the snare, you can always use them on a breakdown :Wink3: )

As always, as a tune-making newbie, I reserve the right to be completely wrong... :rolleyes:


whirling mathematician
For those percussion / extra snare / not-just-16ths hats, the easiest way of getting natural and groovy rhythms is to play them in instead of mousing them in... pretty easy to get your keyboard to trigger battery or whatever. if u dont have a keyb or realy dont fancy it, at least sit back, shut your eyes and just tap a rhythm on your knee or sing one... "dum... da-dum... dum... da-daahhh" - then keep that in your head and program til you get it exactly right - whatever, i find the 'advanced' rhythms come so much easier from feeling it than looking at it. get your hands on some hand percussion and join a drumcircle it sorts you right out!

other than that i also like to use a lot of delay , specifically filter delay, it lets you pit in far fewer notes and get a much flashier sounding result than you really deserve, as the delays from each hit repeat, slightly altered in timbre and stereo position, and interact with new notes. 3/4 is my favourite.


Junior Members
Thanks for the help guys, nice to find a forum of helpful peeps as opposed to those just willing to flame everything you say.

BTW I use both Battery and Kontakt for drums (kontakt for the sweet filtering).

Could you suggest some good psytrance tracks that have all the drum programming tricks in?


One of the most useful trick that I was shown by a drummer was the use of velocity, paricularly on the hi hats to add emphasis.


whirling mathematician
^^ very true

my bandmate sometimes makes drums nowadays by drumming them in with his electronic drumkit (triggering battery) - he usually quantizes his timing to a grid but leaves the velocities - and they still sound human. he says the 'human feel' seems to be just as much about velocity as it is about timing.

as for psy cds with good drums check out the etnoscope album "drums from the dawn of time". not so many 'tricks' in all aspects of the drumtrack, but percussion which is simply the best i've ever, ever heard (apart from maybe the nu yorican soul remix of reprazent's watching windows)


Forum Addict
my technique is to get drums to 'talk' to each other

so youve got a particular hi hat and then a particular shaker, and they always work as a pair, so if one sounds the other one answers say a 16th or an 8th later

then you get all these groovy chuka chuka fills going on


Psychedelic Samurai
for me.. the important things to observe when doing percussion is this....

Velocity is the key to 'humanisation'.... for those who dont have synth-perc-drums-... or velocity controled keyboards... its the only way..


mute everything that is not percussion... and listen to the track 'percussivley'.. it should be interesting, rocking and flowing "without" any other sounds..... after that.. any pads or leads are just icing on a 'percussivley tasty' cake :Grin:


Junior Members
</div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (jsainsbury @ Dec 11 2003, 02:36 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> my technique is to get drums to 'talk' to each other

so youve got a particular hi hat and then a particular shaker, and they always work as a pair, so if one sounds the other one answers say a 16th or an 8th later

then you get all these groovy chuka chuka fills going on [/quote:22b3fe3c47]
I really like that idea......will try it out tonight when I get in from work.

Some other good ideas here as well (muting everything but the percussion sounds good).


Member (Todger)
If your drum machine/sampler will allow it link the velocity to filter too so that the filter is modulated as well as amplitude.


Junior Members
Here are a bunch of drum midi files, some are psy bass n drum.

Check out Juno Reactor for drum programming.


I'm in agreement on the 'velocity' issue - a good weighted keyboard seems to work for me.

Using 3/4 time signature delays (and I don't just mean a repeat every 3 beats) seems to be the best 'cheat' I've discovered yet :Wink3: It can definitely be used to 'funk up' a rigid rythm - although try and keep it simple before you add the delay in.

pitching of drums can sometimes work wonders too - although you've gotta be guided by your ears at all times or you can end up stumbing into some unpleasant 'garridge' territory.

Regarding drums in tunes out there I'd suggest a listen to anything by 'Mumbo Jumbo' for a slightly different take on the percussive issue.