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Digital Music Production

Part Two: Drums

Groove along with Charles as he breaks down the parts of the drum set and uses a digital sequencer to create new drumbeats.

Your First Assignment

  1. Answer the following questions based on the video:
    • How do the drums provide the musical heartbeat of a song?
    • What are the different instruments that make up a drum set?
    • What are the six categories that we define drum samples by?
    • How did the drum machine change the way that we hear drums in popular music?
    • Pick one of the beats that you heard, and find a way to visually represent each of the parts of the beat.
  2. Review this list of key music production terminology.
    • rhythm: a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound
    • groove: an insistent rhythm that defines a type of music
    • tempo: the speed at which your digital song progresses
    • bar: a way of organizing the written music in small sections where each bar is a small amount of time
    • drum set: a collection of drums and cymbals used in popular music to create a groove
    • analog synthesis: the process of creating musical sounds using variations in electricity
    • digital sampling: the act of reusing a portion of a sound recording as an instrument or audio recording in a different song

Your Second Assignment

  1. Login to SoundTrap and open up a new file or one of your loop experiments.
  2. Create an original four-bar loop using only drums and percussion. Try three different grooves and tempos.
  3. Represent your beat using a grid to denote the value and sounds of the beat.
  4. Listen back to your new beat.
    • What style of music does your new drum beat sound like?
    • How do the drum beat and loops interact with each other? Are they complementary, or do they work against each other?

Explore Other Parts of Digital Music Production

Charles plays an audio sampler.

Digital Music Production | Part One: Loops

Explore the origins of modern digital music production and learn how to create loops that will form the basis of your original music.

Charles plays bass.

Digital Music Production | Part Three: Bass

Establish the foundation of your original piece of music with a bassline that connects with the drums and sets up the harmonic space for your new tracks.

Charles plays piano.

Digital Music Production | Part Four: Melody and Harmony

Find the perfect hook as you try out different approaches to creating melodies for your new song.

Screenshot of a digital audio workstation

Digital Music Production| Part Five: Arrangement

Put all of your new digital loops together into a structure that tells a compelling story and provides surprises for your listeners.

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