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Beginning Drum Programming: How to Mix It Up With the Snare Drum

"Switch it up man, play something different, move that snare off the beat"

How to Mix It Up With the Snare Drum

So far, we have explored the basic rock approach to drum programming. This included using hi-hat figures using:

  • straight quarter notes
  • eighth notes
  • sixteenth notes, and
  • a mixture of 8ths and 16ths.

We kept the kick drum relatively simple either on all four beats or on beats 1 and 3. The snare drum was also kept relatively simple being either quarter notes or pairs of 8th notes on beats 2 and 4.

Simple really, and useful for basic compositional and arranging needs.

But what about variety? What about movement? What about pizzazz?

Making the snare more interesting

What about it?

There are a variety of ways to make the snare more interesting. They include moving the existing snare hits or adding other snare hits.

Letís first of all move what we have.

Remember this pattern?

Move a snare hit off the beat

Listen to what happens when the snare on beat 4 is moved off the beat:

All of these are adding interest to an otherwise straightforward groove.

Now letís keep beat 4 fixed and move beat 2 around in the same way:

Pretty interesting huh?

What if we mix the two versions together? Well we get 64 variations straight away: 8 patterns by 8 patterns = 64 new patterns. Here they are:

For two snare hits there are 120 unique patterns. We have 80 of them here.

Part 2: 3 snare hits