Join Yeuda Ben-Atar for an in-depth discussion in this video Note divisions, part of Ableton Live 9: Programming Beats.
Male 1: Once we know the note value of each beat determined by the time signature, we can start creating very simple rhythms by playing a drum sound on some of those beats, or deciding not to play a drum sound on others. Anytime we skip a beat, we are playing what is called a musical rest instead of a note. For example, if I play a note on the one and then don't play a note on the two, we place the rest on the two. Generally speaking, every beat in a bar of music is either a note or a rest. A note if we're playing something and a rest if we're not. The simplest version of this would be if we listen to a few bars of 4/4. And if I just clap my hands on the one and then do nothing on the two, three, and four, we have a quarter note on the one and then three rests on the other three beats in the bar. Here is a metronome counting out four, four, and I'll clap a note on the one and leave rests on the other three beats of the bar. Two, three, four. Two, three, four. Two, three, four. Two, three, four. Nice. If I keep the metronome on and start clapping, there are varieties of patterns we can create. Listen to a couple more of them. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. If we only have four places in the bar to play a note or a rest, such as playing quarter notes and quarter notes rests in a bar of 4/4, it's pretty limited. The way you can create more rhythmic options is that you can divide the beat into smaller sizes. We can take each of these quarter notes, and divide them into two eighth notes. Giving us, in this case, eight eighth notes in a bar. By doing this, by subdividing the beats in this way, we introduce a rhythmic staple called an offbeat.
In other words, if we divide each quarter note into two eighth notes, what we've done is created a possibility where we play all of the eighth notes in the bar. We'll have one note on the beat and one note off the beat. Listen to what it sounds like. I'll play all the eighth notes, and listen to the metronome still playing all quarter notes. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
So now we have twice as many notes in a bar because we divided each beat into two. The reason this is important is that if, it gives us the opportunity for a lot more rhythmic variation. In the earlier example, there were only four notes that we can either play or rest. Now we have eight. Remember that with each possible eighth note, there are eight eighth notes per bar. You can play or you can rest. But let's look at a more involved example, maybe I'll clap the first three eighth notes and then rest for one eighth note, and then play the other four eighth notes in the bar. In this case, I'm gonna count one and two and three and four and, emphasizing the offbeats.
One and two and three and four, and one and two and three and four, and one and two and three and four and. We can also clap on the first two eighth notes, rest one eighth note, and then play the rest of the eighth notes until the end of the bar. With the metronome, this could have a different kind of rhythmic feeling which is called syncopation. Which means, there are times when I'm not clapping and the metronome is playing, and vice versa. A rhythmic trade off unsyncopated. One and two and three and four and, one and two and three and four, and one and two and three and four and. And for another example, I'm gonna play, I'm gonna clap on each beat and then on each off beat. One and two and three and four and, one two and three and four and. One and, and, and, and, and, and, and.
Syncopation can be found in many places in music. There are different types of music that utilize syncopation as an integral part of the start of music. For example, you can listen to ragtime music, funk, reggae, breakbeat, and even drum and bass. We can divide the beat even further than eighth notes. Each eighth note can be divided into two 16th notes, giving us 16 16th notes in a bar of 4/4. And each 16th notes can be divided into two 32nd notes giving us 32 32nd notes in the same bar of music.
In traditional musical notation, such as what you see on a printed sheet music, the note division can go as far as the human playing skill allows. So something like 128 notes would be close to the human limit. When we are using a computer to create music, most softwares can handle note divisions that are far smaller and therefore faster than what we saw. Right now, these are all just numbers. As soon as we start making some beats, it will all make much more sense.
First get some basic rhythmic theory, including counting music and note subdivisions, and learn how elements like cymbals, percussive instruments like congas, and even homemade sounds from cans, bottles, and counters contribute to your beats. The following chapters tackle the particulars of house, dubstep, drum and bass, trap, juke, and hip-hop. In each of these chapters, Yeuda discusses how to choose the appropriate tempo and drum sounds for the style and how to sequence the kick, snare, and cymbals. The course closes with some pro mixing techniques that balance punch and presence, so your drums will cut through the mix and sound their best.
- How to count music
- Using a piano roll editor
- Choosing the right tempo and samples for various genres
- Sequencing your drum elements
- How to program house, dubstep, drum and bass, trap, juke, and hip-hop beats
- Adding extra percussion sounds
- Adding breaks
- How to mix your beat for presence and punch
- Adjusting levels and panning
- Adding reverb to your beat