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Adding drum fills

From: Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form

Video: Adding drum fills

Drum fills are a fantastic transitional tool. A 1-bar drum fill before the chorus, or going into the bridge section, can often add the flavor that causes the listener's ears to perk up. It also shows that you, the arranger, took the time to add those last bits and pieces, which, for me, make an arrangement fill finished. I've added two Kong Drum Designers, which will be the centerpiece of our fills, and I will program these using MIDI. The first area that I'd like to focus on is right before the first chorus.

Adding drum fills

Drum fills are a fantastic transitional tool. A 1-bar drum fill before the chorus, or going into the bridge section, can often add the flavor that causes the listener's ears to perk up. It also shows that you, the arranger, took the time to add those last bits and pieces, which, for me, make an arrangement fill finished. I've added two Kong Drum Designers, which will be the centerpiece of our fills, and I will program these using MIDI. The first area that I'd like to focus on is right before the first chorus.

So I will set my left and right locator points to that section of the arrangement, and I'll bring the playhead to the left start point. (music playing) So we have a bass glissando, that bass sound that glides down, and there is a drum fill. We can listen to it very quickly. (music playing) There's a slight snare fill, but I'd like to go a little bit further with that, and our program some additional drum parts on top so that that 1 bar before the chorus is really highlighted.

(music playing) I'd like to go a little bit further than that, so I'll do that again. (music playing) Listening back. (music playing) I like that. It takes the 1-bar drum fill concept just a little bit further than what was previously there, with just an 808 snare fill.

The next section that I'll focus on is going into the second chorus, and for that section I will use Kong Drum Designer Number 2, which has an entirely different drum kit. (music playing) Let's take a listen back and make sure that it's working. (music playing) It's a little more of an exciting fill as we go into the second chorus of the song.

So the first drum fill, a little bit understated, but still, you can tell that something's been added to what was previously there. Second drum fill has a little bit more energy, with a slightly different sound. Moving on to the Bridge section, coming out of the chorus. (music playing) Okay. So I'll set my left and right locator points. (music playing) Move that over a couple of bars.

(music playing) Let's go back to the first Kong Drum Designer kit and use that drum kit to program this fill. (music playing) A little bit of syncopation there. Let's listen back. (music playing) Excellent! And going into the final chorus, I'm going to leave the Bridge into the third verse alone.

So let's move up here, move our playhead. (music playing) Moving up a little further. (music playing) Since we're going into the last chorus of the song, I will program a slightly busier feel than the last 1-bar fill that was program going into chorus 2.

But I will use the same Kong Drum Designer kit, which is Drum Designer kit Number 2. (music playing) I will move the playhead back. Make sure our sound is up. (music playing) Listening back. (music playing) And then finally, I'll add a fill right at the end of the song.

(music playing) I'll move the left locator point there. I'll stay with this drum kit. (music playing) Staying with the snare fill. I'll vary it slightly from the last fill. (music playing) I'll do that one more time. I can play that a little bit better. (music playing) (music playing) Listening back.

(music playing) One more time. That works for me. While this process can sometimes be a bit tedious, it's a great exercise in knowing your sounds in your sample libraries. The more familiar you are with your sound set, the less time it will take you to add these 1-bar fills.

And this isn't just exclusive to MIDI: you can certainly apply the same philosophy using a 1-bar drum fill from your loop library. And like the filter delay track and the vocoder track that were previously added, I will solo out these drum fills and export them, starting from measure 1, to bring them back into my Pro Tools radio mix from earlier in the course. Again, if you're working in one DAW throughout this entire process, you need not take this step.

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This video is part of

Image for Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form
Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form

31 video lessons · 6102 viewers

Josh Harris
Author

 
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  1. 2m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      23s
    3. Why did we record this course in four different DAWs?
      49s
    4. Using the exercise files
      30s
  2. 4m 58s
    1. A general overview of musical arranging
      2m 4s
    2. An overview of remix arranging
      1m 34s
    3. An overview of radio and club arranging
      1m 20s
  3. 51m 30s
    1. Referencing the original or demo version of the song
      3m 2s
    2. Listening to stems and deciding on the musical direction
      4m 36s
    3. Creating a sketch arrangement
      8m 36s
    4. Developing the drums and bass
      13m 31s
    5. Adding synths
      8m 43s
    6. Adding guitars
      7m 49s
    7. Arranging the rest of the song
      5m 13s
  4. 51m 54s
    1. Referencing the original or demo version of the song
      5m 7s
    2. Listening to stems and deciding on the musical direction
      3m 42s
    3. Time stretching stems and creating a sketch arrangement
      11m 18s
    4. Developing the drums and bass
      11m 10s
    5. Adding synths
      10m 30s
    6. Working from the hype backwards
      4m 27s
    7. Arranging the rest of the song
      5m 40s
  5. 18m 31s
    1. Trimming down the club version
      3m 32s
    2. Identifying arrangement changes within the body of the song
      9m 44s
    3. Listening through the final arrangement
      5m 15s
  6. 19m 38s
    1. Adding a vocoder
      5m 36s
    2. Adding filtered delays to vocals
      7m 42s
    3. Adding drum fills
      6m 20s
  7. 14m 48s
    1. Listening through the final radio mix
      4m 12s
    2. Listening through the final club mix
      6m 47s
    3. Listening through the final radio edit
      3m 49s
  8. 38s
    1. Final thoughts and next steps
      38s

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