Drum Samples With Swing Settings
by Brenda Nadic
In beat making, there exist two spatial factors that are often overlooked: time-sensitive density and swing. We'll be taking a look at the latter in this article, as there are a lot of beat makers who have not paid enough attention and have not applied the most basic principles of using swing on drum samples and instruments.
First of all, why use swing? Swing is useful in two situations. It is first of all useful when having used an editor or a click-in interface (like Reason's Redrum or the FL Studio sequencer), and in this case it serves to humanize the drum samples loop. If it weren't for the swing, all the samples would be precisely on point, and the human ear likes to perceive variance, not 100% accuracy in everything. This is what makes concerts such an appeal; if your favorite artist sang the exact same notes with the same tones and timing as the CD versions of his or her tracks during every live performance, there wouldn't be such a demand.
When using it for drum sample tapping, swing is similar to quantization and it will help keep you in check to make sure that you're not hitting off-notes.
But what exactly is swing? Swing is, again, like quantization, but without the 100% timing. There are various styles of swing templates, with varying degrees of swing. A 50% swing, for instance, is no different than snap quantization, so it's not really swing at all. But moving beyond this, a 63% swing template, for example, is one which moves midi notes from the nearest quantization point by thirteen percent either way. The percentage is of the timing, so it would be thirteen percent of 1/16th note, if 1/16 was the timing selected.
Swing templates are especially useful when using electronic instrument parts that are fully quantized. Using these synthesizer sounds and drums, everything being quantized, will lead to staleness. So in this case, many top producers will leave one quantized and swing the other, or swing certain instruments. Swinging the drums in this case will produce some nice ear candy as the drum parts interact with the electronic instrument sounds.
Using swing settings for drum samples is an acquired skill, and starting with percentages between 51% and 65% is a good start for most budding producers or those already established who had not delved into the rhythmic aspect of swing. There are various styles of templates that have come directly from groove machines like the MPC 2000 and so, and these can be useful to replicate the swing that legendary hip hop producers have used for countless classics.
This music article was written for my drum samples, the number 1 site for hip hop drum samples.
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