Using percussion differently
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:59 AM   #1
Joe Oso Dopke
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Using percussion differently

I'd like to discuss an idea. To start, let me bring up a revelation I had a while ago, and that is, just about everything has a pitch.
Consider when you strike a metal telephone pole: there will be a pitch or pitches which ring out. That being said, I find it awfully wasteful to forget this fact when designing sounds.
If any of you are looking for some sort of new interesting texture to make a melodic instrument, chuck a drum sample that has a clear pitch to it in your sampler of choice and experiment. One of the easiest ways to see this in practice for yourself is take a clave from an 808 kit and try this out. Tablas also work well. In my experience, I have sampled the flicking of a red bull can's tab-opener, and came out with a clear e minor chord when I pitched it down an octave or two.

A creative example of this in practice:
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Brawther is using a tom sample I'm pretty sure and if you listen closely, you can hear a chord in the dirt; whether this chord is from another instrument's tail (as this is most likely a sample ripped from a record) or whether the tom itself had those harmonics in it to start with, I'm not sure. I could honestly imagine both.

Another example of similar usage of this concept:
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Aside from writing an absolute mammoth of a tune, Blawan is using a percussion sample and creating chords out of it. Please excuse the Dj tags in this clip, but to the dismay of myself and many others, Blawan has yet to release this tune.
Side note, I like how it has a live feel to it, where the notes in each chord are not played at exactly the same time.

One further thing, if you like your sample but want more of the "note" coming out of it, use an EQ with a narrow Q in a bell shape, find the frequency and boost it. If the sample contains multiple notes (A chord), do the same.

Does anyone else have experience with this or a similar concept? Please share!

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Old 02-10-2015, 06:18 AM   #2
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Re: Using Percussion Differently

Yeah! Cool concept.

Sometimes I pitch my percussion up a lot (like toms) and add some amount of processing and I'm often surprised by how much it changes from something perhaps cliche into something completely new. Also, stretching out samples can really do wonders to elongate parts that contain the "note"!
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:10 AM   #3
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Re: Using percussion differently

Or you can just use/process found sounds, as Blawan seems to do quite alot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Oso Dopke View Post
A creative example of this in practice:
[Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]

Brawther is using a tom sample I'm pretty sure and if you listen closely, you can hear a chord in the dirt; whether this chord is from another instrument's tail (as this is most likely a sample ripped from a record) or whether the tom itself had those harmonics in it to start with, I'm not sure. I could honestly imagine both.
Or it could just be him hitting a tailpipe, distorting it, and lowpass-filtering it. To me it's not really a chord, but a sound that has a clear fundamental with uneven harmonics. However, there seems to be enough uneven harmonics to build a whole drumkit out of this one sample although this one is drastically lowpassed (so we don't hear the higher ones).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Oso Dopke View Post
Another example of similar usage of this concept:
[Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]

Aside from writing an absolute mammoth of a tune, Blawan is using a percussion sample and creating chords out of it. Please excuse the Dj tags in this clip, but to the dismay of myself and many others, Blawan has yet to release this tune.
Side note, I like how it has a live feel to it, where the notes in each chord are not played at exactly the same time.
Hmm. He's not playing chords. He is playing a melody (individual notes in sequence). It's a repeating pattern (playing 16ths-, 8ths-, 4ths notes/pauses), so I wouldn't classify it as "live feel". Maybe you are referring the "notes in each chord are not played at exactly the same time" to the syncopations (in combination with the swing, note offset and flam)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Oso Dopke View Post
One further thing, if you like your sample but want more of the "note" coming out of it, use an EQ with a narrow Q in a bell shape, find the frequency and boost it. If the sample contains multiple notes (A chord), do the same.
Totally! To take it a bit further, try key-tracked triple (in serial) bandpass filters.
Oh, while we are on the subject; don't forget pitch envelope and bandpass filter envelope (as I messed with in this video I made):

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Old 02-10-2015, 01:45 PM   #4
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Re: Using percussion differently

This is a great technique that I definitely need to incorporate in my tunes more. Definitely gonna try out that keytracked bandpass.

I first noticed it while listening to Zedd's new album (I'm a whippersnapper, sue me). But he used a pitched percussion element in one track (Papercut) that played the main melody of the next track (Bumblebee) and I thought that was a super clever transitional element.

I think it's also fun to do this in your sound design stage. Like, have a root note snare, and then have a top layer that's up a third or a fifth and make little percussion chords.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:16 PM   #5
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Re: Using percussion differently

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andantonius View Post
I first noticed it while listening to Zedd's new album (I'm a whippersnapper, sue me). But he used a pitched percussion element in one track (Papercut) that played the main melody of the next track (Bumblebee) and I thought that was a super clever transitional element.

I think it's also fun to do this in your sound design stage. Like, have a root note snare, and then have a top layer that's up a third or a fifth and make little percussion chords.
Yeah, Zedd also uses keytracking when it comes to his riser snares. The peak (usually around 200Hz-ish) follows the pitchbend, so he assigns pitchbend to filter cutoff (of EQ frequency peak/boost) so that it follows the pitchbend:
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