Posted Nov. 11, 2015, 1:57 p.m.


I own LOTS of hardware. I like hardware. But when you're programming patterns and loops in hardware, you generally find you're looking at a XOXOX style row of 16 triggers. If you stick to laying out triggers in groups of 16, it's fairly easy for things to get pretty stale and repetitive. I use a number of tricks to try and avoid this, and I wanted to see if they could be replicated in Reason. The first of these is using repeated patterns of differing lengths to create polyrhythms.

Let's start with a fairly simple pattern using the kick, clap and hihat:

The kick and clap here are playing a pattern that repeats itself every bar -  that is every 16 steps (where a step is a 16th note).

Let's add another voice to the pattern, but instead of a pattern that repeats every 16 steps, lets add a shorter pattern that begins again after only 6 steps. We can create a clip on the sequencer track that's just 6 steps (six 16th notes) long.

Hear how - even though it's at the same tempo - it slides out of sync with the original kick and clap pattern?

So now we have two patterns running alongside each other; one that's a bar long and one that's just a little under half a bar. It'll be three bars before these two patterns catch up with each other and start in sync again.

Now let's add another voice. This time I'm using a pattern that's 15 steps long.

Now my pattern won't start to repeat itself until after an entire 15 bars.

Let's add a last voice, this time using a pattern that repeats itself every eighteen steps.

Lay this on top of the original pattern, and now we have a lilting, rolling pattern that, while still being perfectly in time, is varied in such a way that it will only repeat itself after 45 bars!

Try creating polyrhythms yourself by building patterns for Kong or the ReDrum using clips that don't all start and end in the same place. Experiment with different lengths, and then go back and edit the parts if you want - perhaps you want to delete two voices that are triggered at the same time, for example.

And by all means, take the piece I've been using for an example here and add your ideas in Reason or Take. Here it is in its entirety - all 45 bars of it!


djanDownload a picture of the grid

By request, here's a picture of the grid for this pattern - I've coloured the different voices in using their clip colours, and added boxes at the beginning of the pattern to show where each clip starts and ends.

- craig

Posted Nov. 11, 2015, 1:57 p.m.

Trip Hop Drums: Super Neat Beat Cheat Sheet

Posted Oct. 30, 2015, 3:32 p.m.

Ever since those Portishead folks in Bristol found the magic that happens when you pitch a drum sample down and bath it in gloomy reverb, Trip Hop has been one of the most popular genres for people learning to make beats. When we got requests to cover Trip Hop in this tutorial series, we wondered what people were really asking for. Trip Hop is a sample-loop based genre that doesn't require too much production wizardry, if you don't' want it to... In this tutorial, however, we'll cover those basics but we'll also delve further into the sound design theory that lies behind those loops so that you can create your own custom Trip Hop sounds and beats.

Trap Drum Basics: Super Neat Beat Cheat Sheet

Posted Oct. 8, 2015, 3:32 p.m.

A couple years ago the whole world went Trap crazy. It didn't matter what style of music you made, Trap suddenly was starting to influence your style. Trap beats are a little different than other EDM styles but even if you're new to music making, Ryan is here to break it down step by step and have you creating basic Trap beats in minutes.

By the end of this video you'll have learned the basics of layering drum sounds, wiring combinators, advanced drum rolls, and triplet accent rhythms.


Deep House Drum Basics: Super Neat Beat Cheat Sheet

Posted Oct. 1, 2015, 1:58 p.m.

One of the most popular styles of Electronic Music is Deep House. If you're just starting out making music you might be wanting to make Deep House drum beats but stuck for where to learn how. Thankfully, Ryan is here to kick off a new mini-series he'll be making on how to program basic drum beats in many popular styles.

By the end of this video you'll have made your first Deep House drum beat and you'll even pick up some cool advanced Reason tricks along the way!

Posted Oct. 1, 2015, 1:58 p.m.

Kong's Synth Drums

Posted Sept. 7, 2013, 11:46 a.m.

Has music just not sounded the same to you since Miami Vice went off the air? Then you're in luck! The synth drums in Kong bring analog drum sounds back to your music. Most analog sounds these days are sampled, meaning the sound you load is the sound you've got. In this micro tutorial you'll see how easy it is to make wonderfully tweakable analog synth drums and assign them to your pads.

Posted Sept. 7, 2013, 11:46 a.m.

Make music together! Play a piece and build on it in a compatible app.
Learn more