Sunday, December 23, 2012
Assembling the Basic Beat, Step by Step
1. You can assemble the elements in any order you want, but I tend to work the kick drum track first, then the claps, hats, and snares into a good solid 8 bar pattern.
2. Then I will put on the bass. Just pick one that has some girth. Later on you will have to find one that fits perfectly with the song.
3. Before going any further, it makes sense to try different grooves and find one you can commit to for the entire beat. Listen for a "lock". That's when you hear something that is so cool you know it can drive the song. There are lots of tricks here. Get to know how your sequencer can use a quantized swing template. Check out my notes on Groove considerations near the end.
4. Then you can add supporting orchestration. Remember, think of a metaphor for your ensemble.
5. Next, copy the 8 bar grooved pattern with its bassline and other elements to make it a 16 bar pattern. You might drop out one of the orchestrated elements for the first 8 bars so it only plays during the second 8 bars.
6. Then, copy the first 8 bar drum pattern to the third 8 bars an start developing a chorus. You might replace drums with others. Replace or alter the bass. Keep the kick but change the snare and claps, adding perhaps a different effect. Now add new supporting orchestration to the chorus.