Is it only a melody that needs to be in Key?

Discussion in 'Production' started by DillonJ, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. DillonJ

    DillonJ New Member

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    Very new to producing so bear with me here..

    Is keeping in key just necessary when constructing melodies on say the piano roll or do you need to take this into account when making a drum pattern?

    This probably sounds like a real stupid question but I've just been messing around with sounds in sample packs and threw them together to make a basic arse track but at no point have I taken key into account.

    Would you construct your main drums and then decide on the melody & then key? Or does the drums somehow need to created upon following rules dictated by the melody

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  2. IV4

    IV4 Currently a newt.

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    The drums got to be in key, or at least sound good, and usually that means they are in key.
     
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  3. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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  4. Morah

    Morah Member

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    Toms and Snares especially, im not sure about other DAWs but in ableton live 9.5 there is a tuner device ( Basicly a guitar tuner) which is really useful for tuning Toms, Snares and other percussive elements.
     
  5. RUSSLA

    RUSSLA DNBF Monarch

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    Don't go too deep on this shit man, you've only just started. But if you do just use your ears and tune em.
     
  6. DillonJ

    DillonJ New Member

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    Yeah maybe I shouldn't worry about it for know and just play it by ear, then when key is the limitation work around what I need to do to rectify
     
  7. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    You 100% do not need to tune snares or kicks
    Decades and decades of rock, pop, jazz, metal, reggae etc musicians didn't retune their drum kits every time they played a song in a different key.

    Sometimes it might make them sound better but it's debatable whether it's because they're in the same key as the tune or whether it's just some snares sound good to a certain note anyway (e.g. if your snare fundamental sounds good at F#, it'll still sound good at F# even if you change the rest of the tune to the key of F
     
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  8. DillonJ

    DillonJ New Member

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    Good to know! that makes life a whole lot easier lol.
     
  9. Optimal Prime

    Optimal Prime Specialising in the arts and crafts of Drum & Bass

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    What Smoothassilk said, there's no particular rule to it, especially with percussion. There are times you can use the key of a percussive sound to help fit the mix better, but replacing sample with other ones and finding what does and doesn't work is equally as valid. Usually if you have a tonal percussive sound, then it will often sound better if it is tuned to the track, but you can quite easily do that by ear.
     
  10. Chris K

    Chris K New Member

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    Certain percussion sounds better when tuned to the key but imo kicks, snares, toms, hats don't need to be and don't really sound better tuned to the key you're using. In fact, I'd say avoid tuning drums to the root note of your key because those are spaces you'll want to fit your melody, lead, bass or whatever else.
     
  11. d-low

    d-low I know you got soul

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    imo tuning every kick and snare to the same key as your track is a fools errand, you know those bitches have too many inharmonic frequencies going on to tie them down.
     
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  12. Dark Lizardro

    Dark Lizardro The Lizard that has a hammer Staff Member

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    I'd add to smooth's post that you don't need to stick to the root note (key) of the whole song: drum sounds can be 3rds or 5ths of said root note and still sound pretty good. 4ths are also good to use. If you want them to sound more "eerie", go for 2nds and 7ths.
     
  13. lug00ber

    lug00ber Active Member

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    However, a lot of these musicians have and still do tune their drumkits so that the drums sound good in relation to each other. I'd say that for dnb it's especially important to tune the kick and snare so that they sound good/natural together if you want to have some cohesion in the rhythm section.
     
  14. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    True but this applies way more to toms and ride cymbals/cowbells than kicks/snares, as toms are much more harmonic than kicks/snares.

    Here's a quote I found from Sound on Sound on the matter. It's about real drum kits but the principle is the same:

    'A fascinating, yet possibly surprising idea for tuning a drum kit is to tune its various different pieces to suit the key of a specific song. It's even possible to use chromatically tuned toms and cymbals (by choosing appropriately pitched cymbals or buying pre‑matched sets), so that the drums become a pitched instrument. Terry Bozzio is one of the best-known adherents of this idea.
    If you can afford the time, the idea of tuning a kit to a song's key is, in principle at least, perfectly sensible, since the kit will, in theory, sit more harmoniously with the rest of the song. Indeed, this is already quite a common concept for orchestral percussion. It's not an unusual idea in terms of recording, since it's just another tool to make songs sound the way we want.
    However, it can be a little time-consuming and requires a good ear for pitch. If you're interested in experimenting with this, I'd suggest that you consider the time factor, and perhaps the style of music you're playing. For instance, if you're playing a piece that is heavily tom‑oriented, there will be more opportunity to fit in harmonically, which might make all the time and effort worthwhile, whereas with a drum & bass track that predominantly features kick, snare and hi‑hats, there'll be rather less point!'
    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug10/articles/drum-tuning.htm
     
  15. lug00ber

    lug00ber Active Member

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    I read this as regarding tuning to the track's key, but that was not what I meant. What I meant when talking about tuning kick and snare in relation to each other is that the kick and the snare "talk" with each other. It helps with the energy of the rhythm when the snare "answers" the kick.

    To test yourself, find a kick and a snare that sounds good together to you, and then change the tuning for one of them and listen to how the dynamic between them changes.