>Step by step

Pro­gram­ming a samba groove us­ing sam­pled per­cus­sion

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -

1 I start by load­ing up the samba equiv­a­lent of the kick drum from Live’s Latin Per­cus­sion Pack: the surdo. There are three of th­ese in a samba band, each at a dif­fer­ent pitch, but I’m just em­u­lat­ing two. The pat­tern couldn’t be sim­pler: quar­ter-notes al­ter­nat­ing be­tween them, with the higher note on the down­beat.

2 A pair of metal bells con­nected by a han­dle, the ago­gos cover what you could loosely call the lead line or melody in a samba ba­te­ria. Re­ally, you can play or pro­gram what­ever you like with them, as long as it’s syn­co­pated, funky, repet­i­tive and not overly com­plex.

3 Play­ing the equiv­a­lent role to the hi-hats in a drum kit, there are var­i­ous shak­ers you can opt for in samba. Here, I’ve recorded a 16th-note cabasa line, with the sec­ond note in each group of four trig­ger­ing a long ar­tic­u­la­tion and the rest all on a short ar­tic­u­la­tion.

4 The samba snare drum is called the caixa, and find­ing one in soft­ware – with the char­ac­ter­is­tic sound de­liv­ered by its un­usual ra­tio of depth to di­am­e­ter – isn’t easy. Here, I’ve man­aged to get rea­son­ably close us­ing a snare from Ad­dic­tive Drums 2. I pro­gram two stan­dard samba caixa parts, each with its own pat­tern of ac­cents.

5 The tam­borim is a small, high-pitched frame drum, struck with a split plas­tic stick and ro­tated while play­ing to elicit tim­brally dis­tinct up­strokes. Here’s a typ­i­cal 16th-note tam­borim pat­tern. Like the two caixa parts, the tam­borim takes the over­all groove in a very dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.

6 That’s my very sim­ple samba en­sem­ble com­plete, com­pris­ing two grooves dif­fer­en­ti­ated by the caixa and tam­borim parts. All that re­mains is to put to­gether a cou­ple of phrase-end­ing uni­son fills in typ­i­cal samba style, with ev­ery­one strik­ing their drums, bells and shak­ers to­gether.

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