Author: Alive Drumming

Creator of Alive Drumming's SongForm Rhythm Tracks.

Top 8 Drumming Styles and Genres: A Quick Guide

Drumming close-up

Trying out something new can be difficult. However, when it comes to drumming, the best way to learn is by challenging yourself. You can try out and learn from many drumming styles and genres to make you a better musician.

“The best way to become the best drummer is to practice. Try out different styles and push yourself out of your comfort zone,” says Angelina Jackman, professional voice coach at The Verses

Becoming a great drummer takes lots of practice and jamming. This means trying out things that you haven’t done before and perfecting them. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself by trying out different drumming styles and genres.

What Are The Greatest Drumming Styles And Genres?

Drumming is a diverse art. We’ve prepared 8 of the most popular drumming styles to familiarise yourself with the variety the instrument offers.

Rock

This style is characterised as straightforward and no-frills attached music. Rock drumming uses loud and intense drum grooves partnered with big fills. Together, they make an even more significant impact.

Metal

Metal drummers have larger drum kits to achieve the aggressive, loud, precise, and powerful sounds of metal music. Playing the drums in this genre and style requires endurance, speed, coordination, and precision.

Punk

Punk drumming bears a striking similarity to intricate rock drumming. The only difference is that it is played faster and thus requires more precision. The genre itself is characterised by loud and fast music.

Jazz

This style of drumming has continued to evolve. Many sub-genres stem from jazz. It uses a broad range of notes, making it more complex to learn and master than the other genres in this list.

Pop

Pop music is elementary and structured, so it follows that pop drumming is the same way. It is easy to learn, but there are some subtleties to note. For example, pop drummers need precision and coordination to stick to the structure.

Blues

This is often associated with rock and jazz. It uses a variety of techniques and notes to achieve its unique bluesy sound.

Latin

Latin drumming is famous for the clave or the heartbeat of the song. It uses different elements like the clave and other traditional patterns that can be difficult for newbies.

Reggae

Playing reggae requires a lot of precision and tightness despite its fun and carefree sound. A reggae drummer has a difficult job because they are the song’s foundation, along with the bassist. The drummer has to stick to a steady and tight groove at all times.

Bring The Beat In With Alive Drumming

The art of playing the drums is incredibly diverse. We’ve listed only eight of the many ways to play the drums. There is so much variety.

Alive Drumming Song Rhythm Tracks arranges and provides rhythm tracks through their mobile app. So, whether you’re a professional or aspiring drummer or any kind of musician, this innovative app might be what you need to experience many styles in your playing.

Want to be the very best drummer there is? You may send us a message to start your journey.

— Alive Drumming is so happy to share these Insights from our popular guest contributor, Jude Young.

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Version 4 of Song Rhythm Tracks released

Song Rhythm Tracks has been available at release 4 since late last year and now the final sampler app, “Classic Country Music” has just been released. The changes have been received well. Here’s a summary.

SetList Folding

Here is the app on an iPhone showing three setlists, with two having been folded away. The three setlists contain tracks of ‘sampler’ apps.

Setlists are a great feature of the table design of Song Rhythm Tracks. They partition your collection of tracks into lists for various uses – personal or group practice sessions, gigs, or genres of music. Anything you want really. As one’s collection of tracks increases, it is nice to focus on just the one setlist and the ‘setlist jumping’ feature (blue up and down arrows ) is a handy navigation. The “setlist play” (blue play triangle) feature is a favourite feature of ours. New for version 4 is the ‘setlist folding‘ feature which hides and reveals the setlist so its tracks do not appear in the table. This also affects searching: Search results do not include tracks in folded setlists.

Audio File Sharing

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ipad-air-srt-shareaudiofile.jpg

At last! Now we have incorporated the standard iOS feature to share the high-definition MP3 audio file in whatever ways your device has been configured – AirDrop, Messages, Mail, Notes, Box, ‘Save to Files’, ‘Save to Keep’ are just some on my iPhone.

Press the track’s share button (pink box with up arrow) on the app’s main table. We feel the mobile app is still the best player for these files, because of its musician-friendly features – tempo control, clear display of arrangement details, large buttons and more, but if you want to use the backing tracks elsewhere, it is now easier to achieve and we include the arrangement details in MP3 tags, if that helps.

Track definitions can still be shared by pressing the share button from the track definition page – the one with the the rhythm and arrangement selections.

Refreshed visual design

The main table, shown here with search enabled, shows the track’s rhythm in orange and its arrangement in green.


The selection page now has headers for the arrangement aspects of (i) Song Form, (ii) number of introduction bars, (iii) number of repeats of the form and (iv) number of ending bars. Arrangement details are in green and rhythm selection in orange.

At Alive Drumming, we’ve always liked minimalist design and we are trying to stay true to that. We included some animations to help see things like duplication of tracks. We’ve also improved dark mode. We moved to symbols-only for buttons some time ago, with descriptions for each button in the in-app help files (accessed via the ( ? ) button).

One of the most noticeable changes or release 4 is a consistency of colours; Now everywhere in the app,
(i) rhythm selections and description are always orange and
(ii) arrangement selection and descriptions are always green.
We feel this consistency helps navigate the app.

Updated in-app guides and videos!

In-app guides are selected using the ( ? ) button, followed by a left-right swipe to access the multiple guide pages. We’ve updated these and added video guides for making the most of the apps. We feel this provides the best help for using our apps.

Polished recent upgrades

We’ve also polished our recent upgrades so they shine.

Sampler Tracks available via setlist sharing

In all four of the apps, the list of sampler tracks, for any of the three samplers, can now be downloaded as setlists.

A new setlist is being configured with the name “Jazz and Blues“, with a 5 second gaps between tracks, when playing setlists.

In any app, simply perform a setlist search (using the blue hour-glass button from the setlist definition screen) once you have configured any of these names,

  1. “Afro-Cuban Salsa”,
  2. “Jazz and Blues”, and
  3. “Classic Country Music”.
Popup advice that the setlist, “Jazz and Blues” is being searched for and downloaded, if found.
Go ahead, press the “OK”.
Great! The setlist of that name was found. Press OK and then the blue ‘tick‘ to save it.


(Remember to save (with the blue ‘tick‘ button), when you receive the successful download message)
You receive all the track definitions (in the “deferred” state) and you can choose at any time to download the audio for the tracks.

Holds and Pushes

Holds and Pushes – We recently added “whole-bar holds” and “eighth note pushes” to the detailed user-defined arrangement facilities. We find the holds particularly useful for those songs requiring them.

So those are the main changes for release 4.0. We are really happy with them. We hope you are too. As always, please send your feedback to marketing@alive-drumming.org.

Why Song Form with Rhythm Tracks?

Check out the article above, “Dealing with Song Forms: Tips for Drummers” from the Learn Jazz Standards website. It is great advice for drummers on how to reinforce the song form while drumming.

Ever wondered why “Song Rhythm Tracks, and not just, “Rhythm Tracks“?

It’s because the drumming should always be outlining the form of the song you are playing.  That’s fundamentally the role of the drummer, or the rhythm track if you play without a drummer.  The article above, which is about tutoring drummers, explains this very well.

Always play in “song form”

You shouldn’t be using a rhythm track that doesn’t outline the form of the song because, if you do, that then counteracts the form of the song and therefore defeats the song you are trying to play.  This can be subtle, particularly if you haven’t considered it before.  New musicians often haven’t and wrongly believe that any metronomic sound or groove will do.  They miss out terribly and not having the songform outlined will actually hamper your progress.

Continue Reading

Version 4.0 of Song Rhythm Tracks

monoTone old Piano

Song Rhythm Tracks and its companion ‘sampler’ apps have been out at release 4 since late last year and the final sampler, “Classic Country Music” has just been released. The changes have been received well. Here’s a summary.

SetList Folding

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is simulator-screen-shot-iphone-12-pro-2021-06-23-at-16.11.10.png

Setlists are a great feature of the table design of Song Rhythm Tracks. They partition your collection of tracks into lists for various uses – personal or group practice sessions, gigs, or genres of music. Anything you want really. As one’s collection of tracks increases, it is nice to focus on just the one setlist and the ‘setlist jumping’ feature (blue up and down arrows ) is a handy navigation. The “setlist play” feature is a favourite feature of mine. New for version 4 is the ‘setlist folding‘ feature which hides/reveals the setlists so their tracks do not appear in the table. This also affects searching: Results do not include tracks in folded setlists.

Audio Sharing

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ipad-air-srt-shareaudiofile.jpg

At last! I hear you cry. Now we have the standard iOS feature to share the audio file in whatever ways your device has been configured – AirDrop, Messages, Mail, Notes, Box, ‘Save to Files’, ‘Save to Keep’ are just some on my iPhone.

Press the track’s share button on the app’s main table. We feel the mobile app is still the best player for these files, because of its musician-friendly features – tempo control, arrangement details, large buttons and more, but if you want to use the backing tracks elsewhere, it is now easier to achieve and we provide the arrangement details in MP3 tags, if that helps.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is simulator-screen-shot-iphone-12-pro-2021-06-23-at-17.25.32.png
Track definitions can still be shared by pressing the share button from the track definition page, which has the rhythm and arrangement selections.

Refreshed visual design

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iphone-12-pro-03-maintablescreen.png
The main table, shown here with search enabled, shows the track’s rhythm in orange and its arrangement in green.



This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iphone-12-pro-02-pickersscreen.png
The selection page now has headers for the arrangement aspects of (i) Song Form, (ii) number of introduction bars, (iii) number of repeats of the form and (iv) number of ending bars. Arrangement details are in green and rhythm selection in orange.

We’ve always liked minimalist design and we are trying to stay true to that. We included some animations to help see things like duplication of tracks. We’ve also improved dark mode. We moved to symbols-only for buttons some time ago, with good descriptions for each button in the in-app help files. One of the most noticeable changes is a rationalisation of colours; Now everywhere in the app,
(i) rhythm selections and description are always orange and
(ii) arrangement selection and descriptions are always green.
We feel this consistency helps navigate the app.

Updated in-app guides and videos!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ipad-8th-generation-011-guidescreen1st.png

In-app guides are selected using the ‘?’ button with a left-right swipe for multiple guide pages. We’ve updated these and added video guides for making the most of the apps. We feel this provides the best help for using our apps.

Polished recent upgrades

We’ve also polished our recent upgrades so they shine. In all four of the apps, the list of tracks, for each of the three samplers, can be downloaded as setlists. Simply perform a setlist search for any of these names,

“Afro-Cuban Salsa”,
“Jazz and Blues”, and
“Classic Country Music”.
(Remember to save (with the ‘tick’ button), when you receive the successful download message)
You receive all the track definitions (in the “deferred” state) and you can choose at any time to download any of the audio tracks.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iphone-12-pro-05-userdefinedsongformscreennew.png

Holds and Pushes – We recently added “whole-bar holds” and “eighth note pushes” to the detailed user-defined arrangement facilities. We find the holds particularly useful for those songs that require them.

So those are the main changes for release 4.0. We are really happy with them. We hope you are too. As always, please send your feedback to marketing@alive-drumming.org.

The History Of Rhythmic Education Throughout The Ages

History of rhythmic education throughout the ages

So what are the beginnings of music? Did our forefathers start by pounding objects together to generate rhythm or by singing with their voices? What were the tools they used? Has music always been such a significant part of human culture, and if so, why? These are among the questions we have about rhythmic education and how it evolved through the ages.

So let’s take a tour down history lane and clear some clouds on these questions.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-history-of-rhythmic-education-throughout-the-ages-sheetmusicimage-1.jpg

What Exactly Is Music?

This is a tricky question to answer since everybody has their own viewpoint. For example, Jeremy Montagu of the Oxford university characterises music as a “sound that expresses emotion.” Using such definition, a mother trying to sing or humming to soothe her newborn would most likely be considered music, yet this basic melody would have signified speech.

Therefore, where do we draw the distinction separating music and speech? You may assume that it’s rhythm, pattern, and pitch control—and you got it right!

Rhythm, pattern, and pitch control are a crucial aspect of music. Our forefathers may have produced rhythmic music by clapping their hands. This might be traced back to the first musical instruments when someone discovered that banging sticks or stones together doesn’t cause as much pain in the hands.

Since then, rhythm and music evolved in many respects, along with the dynamic changes experienced by civilisations brought about by technology. Today, musicians enjoy a wide variety of tools to make the most out of rhythm and music.

Song Rhythm Tracks—A Breakthrough In Creating Rhythm Tracks

Particular to playing the drums, one great example is Song Rythm Tracks. It’s an app that allows for creating collections of rhythm tracks used as a backing in playing songs. With Song Rhythm Tracks, one needs to adopt a unique approach to creating rhythm tracks unfamiliar to a prospective user. The application uses bar numbers to indicate where drumming breaks occur.

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“Using the app, I find it much quicker to use and more valuable than other alternatives. For instance, when my band and I pick a track to play, the arrangement is displayed as, say, “3 choruses of 32 bar AABA with a 4-bar intro’ and an 8-bar ending”. From that, we know straight away what the drummer will be playing. The app also makes us play along the track correctly,”

says music enthusiast and CEO of Credit Capital Alister Clare.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-history-of-rhythmic-education-throughout-the-ages-sheetmusicimage.jpg

Why Use Song Rhythm Tracks?

Educating musicians about song form is a challenge that requires some technical content—that cannot be avoided. However, song form should not be a difficult concept. It’s essentially counting the number of bars in sections, which is where some musicians might struggle. Song Rhythm Tracks takes the burden away so you can jam, sing, and play your heart out.

Moreover, you’ll always have great background tracks on your phone or iPad with track listings and a player. Song Rhythm Tracks are high-quality rhythm backing tracks that are simple to use. You will not be required to sequence anything.

Plus, the user interface will make you love to use it again and again. With that, you will have a greater appreciation for your music, and you may decide to incorporate these tunes in your singles and album releases. Don’t let terrible experiences with some other mobile drumming apps deter you. The Song Rhythm Tracks are perfect for learning a new song, jamming, performing, or recording your current album.

Get That Perfect Rhythm For Your Song Using Song Rhythm Tracks

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1-127.jpg

Music existed and continues to exist because it draws people together. So the next time you’re learning a new tune or excited to have a solid jam with your friends, never forget your phone or your iPad.

Song Rythm Tracks by Alive Drumming offers a streamlined and easy-to-use solution for your needs of getting that perfect rhythm. Take what Alive Drumming’s clients say about the app and contact them if you need help.

  • By Jude Young, contributing author.

Importance of Rhythmic Activities

Ballet
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

Enjoy this article from contributor, Jude Young, about the great value of rhythmic activities, at any age.

Rhythmic activities have been around since the beginning of time and have been a part of every culture. Some examples of rhythmic activities include folk dances, jotas, ballet,  and Zumba.

But rhythmic activities are more than an exploration of movements and shape. Here are the reasons why they are important:

Expression

Even before the concept of dancing was invented, humans have been using rhythmic movements to express their thoughts, feelings, values, and ideas. 

During ancient times, men and women express their affection through movements. Even today, some performers express their sentiments or protest through dancing.

When you see a couple, who are slow dancing with arms around each other, you instantly conclude that they are strongly attracted to each other. When you see a person tapping his toes on the floor, you tend to think he’s in a good mood.

Brings People Together

Rhythmic activities appeal to human emotions. This is why these are used to gather and entertain people of all ages and backgrounds. The upbeat environment draws the attention and distracts people from life’s daily frustrations. The energy of the dancers inspires others to join, engaging the community in a positive activity.

Rhythmic activities allow people to share an intimate experience and gives them an opportunity to form strong bonds.

Max Funding investment consultant Shane Perry believes that being engaged in physical activities is also an investment, “By regularly partaking in rhythmic activities, a person also gains better self-confidence and self-image. With improved self-image, he or she is more driven to pursue personal goals. He or she also has better impulse control and flexibility when faced with difficulties. The outcome is a positive attitude and an improved state of happiness that leads to life satisfaction.”

Entertainment and Relaxation

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Rhythmic activity is a channel through which we communicate with others. When we watch a performance, the subconscious interprets the movements and triggers certain emotions inside us. This is why we to get teary-eyed when watching a graceful ballet performance and electrified at flamenco.

For the performers, a rhythmic activity is also useful in diverting their attention and energy away from stressful things. And what’s more relaxing than laughing while dancing with friends?

Exercise

Rhythmic activities are forms of aerobic exercise. These involve muscle stretching, toning, and conditioning while increasing heart rate at the same time. When performed regularly, you’ll indeed feel its effects in all aspects of your life. However, just like any other form of exercise, you must have a cool-down period. This period is necessary to allow muscles to repair, mainly if you’re engaged in intensive.

Warm-up your muscles before any rhythmic activity to prevent soreness and cramping. Between exercises, you should also stretch out your arms, legs, and hips.

Do you need high-quality backing tracks to complete your stirring musical performance? Song Rhythm Track saves you from sequencing drum loops! It automatically sequences the rhythm track for your song. Download this app now through the Apple App Store!

———- Jude Young, contributing author to Alive Drumming.

Appreciate your songs more with Song Rhythm Tracks!

Whether you are learning a new tune, jamming, gigging or cutting your latest album, these tracks are what you need!

Importance of Rhythmic Activities

Enjoy this article from the contributor, Jude Young, about the great value of rhythmic activities, at any age.

Rhythmic activities have been around since the beginning of time and have been a part of every culture. Some examples of rhythmic activities include folk dances, jotas, ballet,  and Zumba.

But rhythmic activities are more than an exploration of movements and shape. Here are the reasons why they are important:

Expression

Even before the concept of dancing was invented, humans have been using rhythmic movements to express their thoughts, feelings, values, and ideas. 

During ancient times, men and women express their affection through movements. Even today, some performers express their sentiments or protest through dancing.

When you see a couple, who are slow dancing with arms around each other, you instantly conclude that they are strongly attracted to each other. When you see a person tapping his toes on the floor, you tend to think he’s in a good mood.

Brings People Together

Rhythmic activities appeal to human emotions. This is why these are used to gather and entertain people of all ages and backgrounds. The upbeat environment draws the attention and distracts people from life’s daily frustrations. The energy of the dancers inspires others to join, engaging the community in a positive activity.

Rhythmic activities allow people to share an intimate experience and gives them an opportunity to form strong bonds.

Max Funding investment consultant Shane Perry believes that being engaged in physical activities is also an investment, “By regularly partaking in rhythmic activities, a person also gains better self-confidence and self-image. With improved self-image, he or she is more driven to pursue personal goals. He or she also has better impulse control and flexibility when faced with difficulties. The outcome is a positive attitude and an improved state of happiness that leads to life satisfaction.”

Entertainment and Relaxation

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.png

Rhythmic activity is a channel through which we communicate with others. When we watch a performance, the subconscious interprets the movements and triggers certain emotions inside us. This is why we to get teary-eyed when watching a graceful ballet performance and electrified at flamenco.

For the performers, a rhythmic activity is also useful in diverting their attention and energy away from stressful things. And what’s more relaxing than laughing while dancing with friends?

Exercise

Rhythmic activities are forms of aerobic exercise. These involve muscle stretching, toning, and conditioning while increasing heart rate at the same time. When performed regularly, you’ll indeed feel its effects in all aspects of your life. However, just like any other form of exercise, you must have a cool-down period. This period is necessary to allow muscles to repair, mainly if you’re engaged in intensive.

Warm-up your muscles before any rhythmic activity to prevent soreness and cramping. Between exercises, you should also stretch out your arms, legs, and hips.

Do you need high-quality backing tracks to complete your stirring musical performance? Song Rhythm Track saves you from sequencing drum loops! It automatically sequences the rhythm track for your song. Download this app now through the Apple App Store!

———- Jude Young, contributing author to Alive Drumming.

Appreciate your songs more with Song Rhythm Tracks!

Whether you are learning a new tune, jamming, gigging or cutting your latest album, these tracks are what you need!

How to Promote Literacy Through Music

Rhythm and Language

Enjoy this article from contributor, Jude Young, about the great value of rhythmic training in the young.

Maria Kay has highlighted the integrated relationship between literacy and music in the earlier years and has suggested a few simple activities that will assist you in developing children’s skills.

Usha Goswami, a professor from Cambridge specialising in cognitive-developmental neuroscience, discovered that perceiving rhythm is important in association with literacy. She has dedicated her time and research specifically to do with children that are dyslexic.

In 2012, these findings were presented on BBC Four’s ‘Growing Children’. In this programme, she highlighted why rhythmic-language activities are important in preschool for supporting language development. These typically include songs, nursery rhymes, language games, clapping, stepping, large motor movements, and action rhymes.

Syllables And Rhythm: Great Assistants for Learning Language

Syllables And Rhythm: Great Assistants for Learning Language

Words are broken down into syllables, explained as “chunks of sound”. For instance, a word like “ex-am-ple” consists of 3 syllables. Being able to break words down using this method is one of the important skills children use to break up a word in a simple unit when spelling or reading. 

The rhythm in songs also reveals syllables in all the lyrics. Here is an example of a rhyme, “Can You Hear the Falling Rain”, and you will notice how syllables in each word are given a note. For example, “fal-ling”, maybe a single word but contains 2 syllables. It is also sung on 2 notes. 

Audio Specialist from Direct Appliance Rentals, Karina Wolfin says, “Assisting young children to recognise syllables by pointing them out in music happens to be an effective technique to help children break down a word. By adding in movements to point out the syllables provides even further emphasis. For this reason, playing instruments, dancing, clapping, and marching assists with embedding essential literacy skills.” 

Musical Activities: Making Learning More Enjoyable

Musical Activities: Making Learning More Enjoyable

Here is an example of a music activity:

Can You Hear The Falling Rain?

Can you hear the falling rain?

Listen here it comes again.

Down the river, down the lane,

Tapping on the windowpane.

To highlight the rhythm in the song use sticks (claves), tap a drum, or clap hands. When using an instrument like a drum you can change the sounds for the falling rain, flowing down the road, a window, or river. 

This is a simple rhyme that you can also use to discuss rain and the sounds that it makes on different surfaces or flowing into a river. You could also compare these sounds to water that comes out of a tap or the waves that crash onto the beach.

Syllable Activities

Here is an example of one of the activities used to identify syllables:

Holding a drum, give the children a beater, giving each child a turn. Ask each child a different question. For example, “What did you eat for breakfast?” Each child must reply by beating out syllables on your drum while they speak. One example of an answer would be “ce-re-al”, 3 beats (syllables), jam and toast, 3 beats (syllables). 

Children that do not know how to tap rhythms, often have difficulties with spelling. Even older kids often benefit from using a tapping technique to tap out rhythms present in words. This method breaks the words into more manageable and smaller units making it easier to spell and read. Being able to pay attention to sounds in words is very important to become proficient in literacy. 

———- Jude Young, contributing author to Alive Drumming.

Appreciate your songs more with Song Rhythm Tracks!

Whether you are learning a new tune, jamming, gigging or cutting your latest album, these tracks are what you need!

“Jazz and Blues” Sampler iOS App released by Alive Drumming

illustration sax AndySnitzer

Check out Alive Drumming’s first ‘Sampler’ edition of the ‘Song Rhythm Tracks (SRT)’ iOS App, the “Jazz and Blues Sampler“.

Jazz and Blues Sampler has the same facilities as the standard App but comes pre-installed with 20+ Jazz and Blues arrangements and an allocation of 4 downloads for your own arrangements (more are available via In-App Purchasing).  What an opportunity to sample some arrangements of these well-known standards before using the App for your own arrangements!   It’s the same Song Rhythm Tracks App with the latest graphics and facilities.

Price Reduced for a limited time!

Alive Drumming has reduced this App’s price for a limited time after which it returns to full pricing.  This is a great opportunity to try out this heralded rhythm track arranger at no cost.   Try the Jazz and Blues standards and arrange some more tracks for whatever tunes you are playing currently.  There’s a vast selection of authentic rhythms from talented artists across many genres in addition to Jazz and Blues.

The Tracks

Song For My Father” – 4 choruses of 24-bar AAB (as 8|8/8 bars) with no intro’ and no ending, using a Rock Bossa at 140 bpm
The Way You Look Tonight” – 3 choruses of 68-bar AABC (as 16|16/16|20 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and no ending, using a modern Jazz rhythm at 210 bpm


Blue Monk “- 6 choruses of 12-bar Blues (3 x 4-bar phrases) with no intro’ and a 4-bar ending, using a bluesy shuffle at 100 bpm
Georgia On My Mind” – 4 choruses of 32-bar AABA (as 8|8/8|8 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and no ending, using a bluesy, slow swinging rhythm at 65 bpm
Blame It On My Youth” – 4 choruses of 32-bar A1A2 (16|16 bars) with no intro’ and no ending, using a slow swinging Jazz ballad rhythm, with a 2-feel during the middle choruses, at 45 bpm
Blue Bossa” – 6 choruses of a 16-bar Tune (with 4 x 4-bar phrases) with an 8-bar intro’ and no ending, using a grooving funky rhythm at 110 bpm
Fly Me To The Moon” – 4 choruses of standard 32-bar A1A2 (as 16|16 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and a 10-bar ending, using a swinging light pop rhythm at 130 bpm
Bye Bye Blackbird” – 4 choruses of a user-defined form (16/8/8 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and a 4-bar ending, using a standard Jazz brushes rhythm at 120 bpm
Dearly Beloved” – 5 choruses of a user-defined form (8|8|8|8 bars) with no intro’ and an 8-bar ending, using a straight ahead Jazz rhythm at 146 bpm
All Blues” – 3 choruses of a user-defined form (12|12 bars) with no intro’ and no ending, using a 6/8 country pop and rock rhythm at 110 bpm
Just Friends “as a Cha Cha – 5 choruses of 32-bar A1A2 form (16|16 bars) with no intro’ and no ending, using a regular Cha Cha rhythm at 135 bpm
On Green Dolphin Street” – 3 choruses of a user-defined form (8/8|8/8 bars) with a 12-bar intro’ and an 8-bar ending, using an alternating Bossa and Swing rhythms at 145 bpm
Take the “A” Train” – 5 choruses of 32-bar A1A2 form (16|16 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and no ending, using a straight ahead Jazz rhythm at 146 bpm
All The Things You Are” – 3 choruses of 36-bar ABC form (16/8|12 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and no ending, using a Jazz Brushes rhythm at 120 bpm
How High The Moon” – 4 choruses of 32-bar A1A2 form (16|16 bars) with no intro’ and no ending, using a straight ahead Jazz rhythm at 100 bpm
Almost Like Being In Love” – 4 choruses of 36-bar ABC form (16/8|12 bars) with no intro’ and no ending, using a standard swinging 8th Jazz rhythm at 145 bpm
St. Thomas” – 3 choruses of a 16-Bar Tune form (as 4 x 4-bar phrases) with no intro’ and a 4-bar ending, using a merengue tipico Salsa rhythm at 130 bpm
How Insensitive” – 4 choruses of 32-bar A1A2 form (16|16 bars) with no intro’ and a 4-bar ending, using a sophisticated latin Bossa at 120 bpm
Stormy Weather” – 3 choruses of 32-bar AABA form (8|8/8|8 bars) with a 4-bar intro’ and no ending, using a slow swinging 8th Jazz rhythm at 50 bpm
Moonlight In Vermont” – 3 choruses of a user-defined form (3 x 6|6|8|8 bars) with no intro’ and a 2-bar ending, using a Jazz brushes rhythm at 70 bpm
Perdido” – 5 choruses of 32-bar AABA form (8|8/8|8 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and a 4-bar ending, using a swinging shuffling Jazz groove at 145 bpm
I Love Paris” – 3 choruses of a user-defined form (16|16/16 bars) with an 8-bar intro and an 8-bar ending, using a regular Cha Cha  rhythm at 110 bpm
In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” – 3 choruses of a user-defined form (8|10 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and a 6-bar ending, using a slow swinging ballad Jazz rhythm at 45 bpm

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More Audio Samples Released

drummer's hands

Check out the Audio Samples page for more of the thousands of rhythms available.

Audio samples are provided in many different formats –

  • HTML5 audio preview
  • Download options
  • hearthis.at tracks
  • Backing tracks
  • Mixed by our supporters

For the best experience selecting all possible combinations of rhythms and Song Form, as well as a great player and setlist manager, download our Apple iOS App on the App Store.

The Primacy of Rhythm in practicing popular music

hands on bongos

 

When learning a new piece of music, when should a musician work on getting right the rhythm and feel of the piece?

pastelSketchSaxPlayer

Introduction

I have long believed it has to be the very first thing to get right and there’s little point playing notes at all unless they are in the desired rhythm and feel.   Tempo, however, is a whole other subject – there’s a lot to be said for precision and even playing tunes at markedly different tempos to internalize the piece better.

Timing is the bedrock of music:  “When a note is struck at the wrong time, it’s the wrong note”.  Getting playing in the right rhythm as soon as possible is why I’ve always sought out structured and inspiring rhythmic backing.  This ultimately leads to  “Song Rhythm Tracks“.

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iOS App, Song Rhythm Tracks, now available on the Apple App Store.

Bop Jazz Drummer B&W

Alive Drumming has released it’s Apple iOS app, Song Rhythm Tracks.  It is now available in the Apple App Store at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/songform-rhythm-tracks/id1254346877?ls=1&mt=8

If you are interested in reviewing this app please email reviews@alive-drumming.org

“Song Rhythm Tracks” – A Comparison

iPhone X

Song Rhythm Tracks” is Alive Drumming’s mobile Musician’s App providing production-ready rhythmic backing.  It is available on the Apple iOS App Store.

Alive Drumming brings musicians production-quality rhythmic backing, in it’s most convenient form — a mobile App to select, download and play Alive Drumming’s “Song Rhythm Tracks”.

Song Rhythm Tracks

Song Rhythm Tracks are a new type of backing track composed entirely of rhythmic backing (no melody or harmony) arranged to the musical form of the song — it’s “songform”. These tracks are complete performances like one gets from a professional drummer. They have a count-in, introduction section, choruses and characteristic endings, framed by fills showing where sections start and end. Even musical bridges and middle choruses have higher intensity where appropriate to the style. All this without a typical arranger’s interface, keeping it simple. One selects a track in under 30 seconds — under 15 seconds after getting the hang of it.

The App’s musician’s player has tempo adjustment and a facility to sequence tracks for your gig or jam session. It is for musicians of all abilities. New musicians use the App to provide an accompaniment to songs. They get a rhythm that is sympathetic so they learn to keep time, get into the groove and internalise the song’s musical structure – All this while enjoying engaging and inspiring rhythms. Gigging musicians catalogue their backing into setlists and use it to guide performance. Having quality rhythmic backing, with a setlist facility and a musician’s player, all in the one App is so convenient one finds oneself using this rhythmic backing more and more.

Musician’s Player

A “Musician’s Player” — what’s that? One that dims the screen, will play in the background, has good-sized buttons and allows you to change the volume with the physical buttons. Yes, that but this player also displays the musical form of the track such as

“4 choruses of 32 bars of standard AABA form (8|8/8|8) 
with no intro’ and a 4-Bar ending”, 

and provides visual tracking against this as it plays. This is the information musicians want right before they are about to play a track. If they start to lose their place a bit while they play, a quick glance at the display will likely get them back “on track” again.

Massive Library of Rhythms

There’s a huge number of rhythms and endless musical forms for your songs. Once selected, the arranged track is downloaded from Alive Drumming’s servers and then it stays on your device for playing. Alive Drumming grants the user rights to remix the track so they may be transferred to a computer to be included in the user’s own compositions and album releases.
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Alive Drumming Releases 3.0 – The Giant Panda release of Song Rhythm Tracks

The Giant Panda, “User-Requests” Release – 3.0

The community asked; Alive Drumming listened.

  • SetList Sharing – Share your setlists in a similar way to sharing tracks
  • Search for SetLists – Download an entire album of tracks shared by others. Very handy for your rehearsals.
  • All samplers now can be downloaded as setlists.  Simply perform a setlist search for any of these names, “Afro-Cuban Salsa”, “Jazz and Blues”, and “Classic Country Music”.  You will then receive all the track definitions (in the “deferred” state) where you can then choose, at any time, to download any of the tracks.
  • Reworked Search – More stable + Allows for more functions during a search, such as duplication + Auto-browse to last track accessed at the conclusion of the search.
  • Introducing Holds and Pushes – This release adds options for holds and pushes to your arrangements, accessible via the user-defined arrangements page.
  • Updated On-line Guides – in all supported languages
  • Stability improvements.

Always Yours:

Your arrangements, in your language, designed for your device.
– Free Audio samples available on our website and YouTube

 

Alive Drumming Continues To Innovate

This is a significant release for Song Rhythm Tracks, bringing much more functionality and more stability.  Search has really matured allowing for track duplication during search and, on search completion, auto-browse to last track accessed.  These two features really assist those with large collections of tracks in a very common use-case – searching for a song by name, playing it, and then deciding to create a duplicate and edit the duplicate for an alternative arrangement.

Drumming Holds

Drumming Holds – or breaks – is where the drumming stops for a bar.  It adds drama to a drum arrangement and some songs have very characteristic breaks – “Song For My Father” and “I Get A Kick Out of You” come to mind.  It’s now possible to add these holds to your arrangements as part of a user-defined arrangement.  The screen-shot shows three holds added to an arrangement of “Song For My Father” providing the characteristic holds for this song.  These bars will start with a drum hit and hold off playing until the next bar is started. They will do that at the selected bars, 6, 14, and 22, for each chorus of the song.

Drumming Pushes

Pushes are where an extra drum hit is added, slightly earlier than expected, to push along the rhythm.   Their selection works in a similar manner to holds.  Select the location and press the pink “+” button to add it to the table.  Entries may be removed from the table by swiping left.  The selected location will receive an extra drum hit, an 8th-note early to push the rhythm along.   The location of pushes may use bar-numbers, in the same way as holds, but also beat numbers and sub-divisions.

The Focus Remains on a Simple Arrangement Philosophy

It is pleasing to note that Alive Drumming is in no way moving away from their original philosophy of a truly simple arrangement interface – where a description is preferred over users needing to prescribe each step of the arrangement process.  We describe what holds and where they are to occur, and that’s it.  We keep it as simple as possible.   This is not going to change.   Song Rhythm Tracks are arranged for their users by Alive Drumming who anticipate their users “just want to play their songs” and don’t want to play the drums.  Users simply want to benefit from great drumming.

Setlist Sharing Facilities

A great new feature for the Giant Panda, also requested by users, is the Setlist Sharing Facilities.  They work in a similar manner to track sharing.  Users may share their setlists by name by pressing the share button once a setlist list name has been entered.  This is accessible on the setlist configuration page, which is where you name setlists.  Once shared, that setlist can be searched for and retrieved by any Song Rhythm Tracks user, and when found the setlist gets populated with all the tracks in the shared setlist. Again, it is the name of the setlist that is the key to both sharing and searching for setlists, and this name must be an exact match (other than upper and lower case).  The tracks are populated into your device’s setlist in the ‘deferred‘ state, meaning that the definition of the track is complete but it has not yet been requested for download.  The track-lists of all the existing ‘Sampler’ iOS apps have been shared as setlists making it so convenient to retrieve a list and then select the particular track you wish to download.

Available Now

Version 3.0, Song Rhythm Tracks is now available in the Apple App Store at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/songform-rhythm-tracks/id1254346877?ls=1&mt=8

We would love you to review this App – If you are interested please email reviews@alive-drumming.org

 

Alive Drumming’s Smart Web Services with Elixir, Phoenix and GCP

Ever wondered what technology lies behind Alive Drumming’s smart web services? Here’s the gist –

Alive Drumming‘s smart web services have been engineered in the Elixir programming language.  The web service supplies Alive Drumming’s fully arranged rhythm tracks constructed from multiple takes of long-form audio of very talented drummers.

Simply put, this service

  1. Parses a web request,
  2. Determines the arrangement structure of the requested track,
  3. Creates the audio-engineering scripts to splice slices of the long-form audio into the result, and finally,
  4. Executes these scripts, delivering the resulting audio as the output of the service.

Language Compiler as Web Service

Much of this is the textual lexical analysis and classic compiler design as the track description is a simple LR1 language, and the ejected audio-engineering scripts are optimised with a peep-hole optimisation phase. Step 3 above, “Creating the audio-engineering scripts“, additionally involved parsing textual meta-data relating to the long-form audio’s location of differing drumming intensities, fills, pre- and post- fills, drumming breaks, pushes, count-ins and endings. Each of these has multiple ‘takes’ and algorithms apply a weighting in pseudo-random selections. Initially, languages strong in textual manipulation were considered with the early algorithms prototyped in GAWK, but it became clear a language suitable for massively scalable web services was needed.

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Smart Music Creation

painting femaleJazzGroup

What’s meant by Smart Music Creation?

Smart often means that technology has been added to something that previously had not had it.

With ‘music’, the term ‘digital‘ has been used for the distribution of consumer music in a ‘digital form‘ – Audio-CD, mini-discs, DAT and later the revolution of online distribution through the iTunes Music Store.

Smart Music Creation‘ could perhaps be considered to be where computerized devices help with the creation of music – the synthesizer, the drum machine, and MIDI generally. Drum Machines and Synthesizers are really new musical instruments lending themselves to new musical sounds and therefore new genres of music. That’s not smart really, it is just a different type of instrument.

Enter – Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI)

The MIDI platform has been around for 30 years or more and deserves the name ‘Smart’.   It automates the playing of the instruments by encoding and reproducing the act of playing
that  note,
on  that  instrument
with  that  intensity
precisely at  that  time.

That’s not just a new type of instrument, it is a way of codifying the playing of any and all instruments. Complete orchestral scores have been codified and rendered with MIDI. Great performances have been captured using MIDI recording. MIDI doesn’t have to mean sub-standard music – it can, if used with care, mean superb musicianship and great music production. Unfortunately, too many substandard performances have been codified and rendered with MIDI, leading to bad experiences and a bad reputation for the technology.

Enablement versus Truly Smart Music Creation

MIDI is a great enabler.

We shouldn’t blame MIDI for what we have, and haven’t, done with it over the last 3 decades. For truly ‘Smart Music’ what we need is to go further, more intimately marrying technology with music production.

incredibleTrumpet
IncredibleTrumpet

The innovator – Band-In-A-Box

The first, mass-adoption innovation from MIDI was the song-based accompaniment application – PG Music’sBand-In-A-Box” available on PCs and Macs. This delivered on its promise of providing tailored accompaniment for songs. It helps students understand the form of the songs they play and to provide backing music for enjoying and learning new songs. Importantly, the interface or ‘language’ of the application is that of traditional music notation and concepts. It doesn’t rewrite musical terminology, it adopts it and extends what can be done with it. Band-In-A-Box truly is Smart Music Creation.

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“Afro-Cuban Salsa” Sampler iOS App released by Alive Drumming

PaintingCoupleDancing

Afro-Cuban Salsa Sampler is the Song Rhythm Tracks sampler App from Alive Drumming providing the same great rhythm tracks arranger with over 20 included sample arrangement tracks of Afro-Cuban Salsa staples.

Afro-Cuban Salsa Sampler has the same facilities as the standard Song Rhythm Tracks App but comes pre-installed with over 20 Afro-Cuban Salsa arrangements and an allocation of 4 downloads for your own arrangements, with more are available via In-App Purchasing.  What an opportunity to sample some arrangements of these great Afro-Cuban rhythms before using the App for your own arrangements!   It’s the same Song Rhythm Tracks App with all the latest facilities.

Price Reduced

en US iPhone 8 Plus 03 MainTableScreen framed

Alive Drumming has reduced this App’s price to a minimal level for a limited time.  This is a great opportunity to try out this heralded rhythm track arranger at no cost and get into creating your own arrangements of the world’s greatest Song Rhythm Tracks, using Alive Drumming’s vast library of artist’s authentic interpretations.  Try the Afro-Cuban Salsa standards and arrange some more tracks for whatever tunes you are currently playing.  There’s a vast selection of authentic rhythms from talented artists across many genres in addition to Afro-Cuban Salsa.

The Tracks


La Gloria eres tu” – A single chorus of a user-defined form (as 4|8|8|8|12 bars) with no intro’ or ending sections and using a Bolero rhythm at 105 bpm

Samba For Carmen”2 choruses of a user-defined form (as 16|16|8 bars) with an 8-bar intro’ and a 6-bar ending, using a Samba rhythm with both drums and percussion at 190 bpm

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“Classic Country Music” Sampler iOS App released by Alive Drumming

country music

Classic Country Music Sampler is the new Song Rhythm Tracks sampler App from Alive Drumming, providing the same great rhythm tracks arranger with 20+ included sample tracks of Old Country Music staples.

Classic Country Music Sampler has all the same facilities as the standard Song Rhythm Tracks App but comes pre-installed with over 20 Country Music arrangements and an allocation of 4 downloads for your own arrangements (more are available via In-App Purchasing).  What an opportunity to sample some arrangements of these well-known standards before using the App for your own arrangements!   It’s the same Song Rhythm Tracks App with all the latest facilities.

Stop the Press – Reduced Price for a limited time!

en US iPhone 8 Plus 03 MainTableScreen framed

Alive Drumming has reduced this App’s price for a limited time before it returns to full pricing.  This is a great opportunity to try out this heralded rhythm track arranger.   Try the Classic Country Music standards and arrange some more tracks for whichever tunes you are playing currently.  There’s a vast selection of authentic rhythms from talented artists across many genres in addition to Country Music.

The Tracks

Raining In My Heart” – 2 choruses of 32-bar AABA form (as 8|8/8|8 bars) with a 4-bar intro’ and a 4-bar ending, using a Country ballad groove at 85 bpm

All I Have To Do Is Dream” – 2 choruses of 32-bar AABA form (as 8|8/8|8 bars) with a 4-bar intro’ and no ending, using a Country ballad groove at 85 bpm

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Song Rhythm Tracks – Users’ Testimonials

Every musicians view

We canvassed some opinions from social media.  It is always interesting to see how others view Song Rhythm Tracks.  See what you think.

No.1 for Musician’s Usability

      Ethan – Kyoto, Japan. Sax player. Plays pop, rock, blues, jazz, bop, ballads, everything really

Ethan Algan
Ethan Algan

IMMEDIATE MUSICIAN’S USABILITY.   What’s different about this App is that it makes it feasible for the average guy, with very little effort, to play their songs to very engaging arranged rhythm tracks. I’ve tried lots of them and I haven’t come across any other app that comes close to that. This app combines a musician’s player, a setlist manager and an arranger in one app. It’s really quick to select arrangements and then you can put them into setlists and keep changing and reordering the lists as your set evolves. Now I just grab my sax’ and my mobile phone and either play a setlist or quickly search and find tracks as I go through my books of lead sheets. If I don’t have a track for a tune, a minute later I will have and will probably be playing it. For me, there’s nothing else that has this sort of immediate musician’s usability.

Maverick and a True Innovator for the practical musician

          Sandra –  Perth, Australia. Plays guitar. Likes folk music.

Sandra Sutton
Sandra Sutton

TRUE INNOVATION.  What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Only perhaps that this App is a true innovator. A maverick you might say. It seems to do everything differently. It wasn’t what I was expecting but now everything else I’ve tried seems redundant. What do you really want to do? To play with flashing lights – pretending to be hitting real drums? Or to get an MP3 file which is a professional quality backing track to a song you are playing? That, I think, is the innovation. That’s what you get here. It’s like a cross between the ‘Music’ App and a musician’s backing-track service. You select the track you want and the Alive Drumming servers get you it. Then you have much more musician-friendly setlists and player than you get with the ‘Music’ App. Playing becomes a real joy instead of struggle. It’s what all of us musicians want. We want to play our instruments and have great rhythmic backing with a minimum of fuss and bother. That’s what this App delivers. A true innovation for the musician.

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More Audio Samples now available on HearThis.At

HearThis.At

Alive Drumming hosts some sample Song Rhythm Tracks and a user-contributed mixes group at HearThisAt, the audio hosting service providing great user and social facilities.  Please contribute your own mixes to the Song Rhythm Tracks User Group at HearThisAt.

Hear this set of sample Jazz and Blues Song Rhythm Tracks at HearThisAt

Here this group of user-contributed mixes using Song Rhythm Tracks at HearThisAt

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