Tip #83 – Making your Programmed Drums More “Life-Like”

Take a listen to some of the drum grooves found in the hit soul/funk/Motown songs of the 1970s and 80s. Listen really closely to what these R&B drummers do to the sixteenth-notes.

That’s right; they swing them! While the eighth-notes are played straight, locking right in between the quarter-note pulses, the sixteenth-notes (typically coming from the hi-hit or cymbals) are swung.

When programming your MIDI drums, you can either use a plug-in for changing the swing amount – or, use this style of notation below:

Obviously, you would not give this kind of chart to a drummer, as you can just as easily tell the musician to feel out a swung sixteenth-note beat. But, in the land of digital music, this is a great way on making your programmed drummer sound more “natural” as one might perceive it to be.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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