Below are several drum patterns we looked at in class, extracted from popular songs and realized in the drum editing view of a DAW. In most cases, the column duration is set to sixteenth notes, so that there are four sixteenth squares per beat and four beats per measure. The higher the note velocity, the deeper the color for the note. Only one measure of the pattern is shown; repeat this to make a longer beat. Drummers always vary the realization of such patterns, sometimes adding or dropping notes, playing fills (usually faster flourishes between phrases), playing notes with varying strengths and subtle timing differences. None of this is reflected in the notation shown below.
Drum patterns used in many styles of Western popular music typically feature an alternation between kick (i.e., bass) and snare drums, with the kick on beats 1 and 3 (in 4/4 time) and the snare on beats 2 and 4 (the backbeats). A more constant, faster-moving part on hihat or ride cymbals completes the texture. Think of the patterns below as variations on this particular setup.
Try recreating these patterns in Reason’s Redrum or Kong (using the Reason Sequencer in Drum Edit mode), and experiment with your own variations.