Production Techniques for Melodic Drums

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I would accuse you of spreading misinformation about the nature of the drumset instrument. If you think that any producer in any recording studio would ever consider the drums a melodic instrument you are out of touch with the reality of making music that people actually listen to. In more than 99% of all cases the drums are a rhythmic backing instrument that does not play melodic lines.

Go play your melodic drums in your basement.
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JoJo Mayer
I was sitting in the coffee shop listening to a techno drum groove, when the thought occurred to me, "You know what, I'll be darned if these drums aren't pitched." Then, I began reflecting on my experience working with digital drum samplers and trackers, and they all pretty much have a note based resampling mode where the sample can be sped up to get a different prespecified pitch, thank you Jojo. Paired with pitch based filters and auto tune, it really is fairly common to program melodic drum tracks.

Does anyone know of other techniques to produce melodic drum music. I would be especially interested in live recording production techniques.
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
Does anyone know of other techniques to produce melodic drum music. I would be especially interested in live recording production techniques.
Without reopening the can of worms from the previous thread, I suppose the best response is "just tune your drums". For me, the finest example of live recorded melodic drums (without necessarily having an absolute pitch) is The Drum Also Walzes. Of course Max Roach original, but I also dig Bill Brufords recordings.
 
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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Remove the bottom head and tune the top head to what ever musical note you want.
Use single ply, un-coated heads. Some drums will work better than others.
My rounded edge Slingerland's have a narrow range. My Yamaha's have a very broad range.


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WallyY

Platinum Member
(theoretical) Squash the dynamics with a limiter to sustain the fundamental and lower the attack, then use a transient shaper to bring back attack in the range of the "note".
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I'm glad my post got you so riled up... Serves you right for being rude.

Of course the drums you hear "have a pitch". A dog's bark has a pitch. My statement was concerning the role of the drum set in contemporary music.

The melodies that can be played on the drum set are primitive when compared to the piano or guitar. It's no contest. My eight year old can play Fur Elise on piano yet can anyone play it on drums?

Calling the drum set a rhythmic instrument is in no way derogatory. It simply is fact.
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Not to be argumentative, but

What purpose would melodic drums really serve?

Terry Bozzio has his drums tuned to notes, and he has so many drums so he can cover octaves, and such. Yet, even so, other than his avant garde solos, he doesn't use his toms melodically. At least not in making songs that are recognizable.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Not to be argumentative, but

What purpose would melodic drums really serve?

Terry Bozzio has his drums tuned to notes, and he has so many drums so he can cover octaves, and such. Yet, even so, other than his avant garde solos, he doesn't use his toms melodically. At least not in making songs that are recognizable.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jDNzwVrmIc

I especially like the part near the end where he doubles some of the trumpet licks.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Very cool ! Thanks for posting this video.

I never studied Bozzio and his tuned drums. I just did some internet searching and learned a lot about him.
I notice he uses some very shallow toms. Some are 3 inches deep!


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I haven't studied him either, because I just learned about his tuned kit the other day. I think it is cool how he uses a smaller kit for backing the horns, I suspect he only needs Bb centric toms. Also the China cymbals really do sound like chords IMO. I wonder if he lists Asian music as an influence. I know "Tank" was originally sound track to a Japanese anime "Cowboy Bebop"
 

The Sloth

Member
Bunch of people in here with fitting handles getting passive-aggressive and defensive. Hollywood guy, a person who prefers to keep it simple, a guy who actually eats drums. Damn, baby, let the people play music on their drums if that is their wish.
 
T

The SunDog

Guest
Check out this Lee Ritenour ditty with Harvey Mason on drums:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YZE8Vz00dc


Now that's melodic playing.
None of the drum notes in this vid are in key with the other instruments. Isn't that where this whole conversation started? Drums are not tuned to be in key with stringed instruments (or horns). Or else we would hit this drum on this chord and that drum on that chord. Or likewise, there would be times when we would specifically choose to not hit a certain drum because it would be "out of tune" with the other instruments. Like playing bells, or xylophone, but we don't do that. Right? Drums are not like guitars, violins, bells, or xylophones. This should really be the end of the discussion.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
None of the drum notes in this vid are in key with the other instruments. Isn't that where this whole conversation started? Drums are not tuned to be in key with stringed instruments (or horns). Or else we would hit this drum on this chord and that drum on that chord. Or likewise, there would be times when we would specifically choose to not hit a certain drum because it would be "out of tune" with the other instruments. Like playing bells, or xylophone, but we don't do that. Right? Drums are not like guitars, violins, bells, or xylophones. This should really be the end of the discussion.
Obviously you don't tune your drums to notes(or think about which chords), so you have nothing to add to this thread, thanks for ending your discussion so promptly, next...
 
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