Category: Rhythmic Styles

The identification, categorisation and analysis of rhythmic styles

“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 thereby keeping it simple. One can select a track in under 30 seconds — under 15 seconds once one gets the hang of it.

The App’s player has tempo adjustment and a facility to sequence the 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 favourite Frequently  Asked  Questions  (FAQ)

We have hand-picked some of our favourite  F.A.Q.s about Alive Drumming and Song Rhythm Tracks.


Why do these Song Rhythm Tracks sound so great?

They do, don’t they! And for a number of reasons:

  1. Great Recordings of Great Drummers – Song Rhythm Tracks are arranged from careful studio recordings of excellent drummers.  They are not constructed from midi files fitting together “samples” from single drum hits to form a mechanical style but rather multiple longer-form full recordings by top studio drummers, lasting from up to 8 bars at a time where you hear subtle drum rolls, variations in ride cymbal taps, complex fills and more.  The rhythmic style comes from talented drummers that are very experienced in that particular style be it Reggae, Salsa, Bossa, Rumba, Tango, Rock, Country, Jazz, Pop, Celtic, Praise & Worship, Blues, and lots more!
  2. There is natural variety promoted over the repeats.  That is a number of recordings of, say, a fill or shot are taken and selectively chosen while sequencing and engineering the final audio.  This provides the natural variety one gets with drummers.  It helps prevent the drumming becoming monotonous and repetitive.
  3. The drummer is spelling out many aspects of the song’s form as (s)he plays.  This might have a larger contributor than one might imagine.  It is what real drummers do, but drumming software rarely does.   The drumming is indicating
    • When you are returning to the ‘top of the form’ again
    • When your sections are ending and starting again
    • When you are starting or finishing a bridge section
    • Whether you are playing a middle chorus or, alternatively, the first or last chorus.   This not only helps you keep place while you are playing but it makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable to listen to or play along with.

All this takes a lot of careful preparation and curation, huge storage, and sophisticated algorithms.   We feel this cannot be achieved on mobile devices themselves which is why our solution involves our cloud services working with the mobile App.


Could you give me some examples of Song Forms?

Song Forms for a number of songs are here


Your drumming audio is dry! Will Alive Drumming, or can I, add reverb?

Alive Drumming’s Song Rhythm Tracks  are supplied without reverb (aka “dry”). We are endeavouring to make our iOS app Apple inter-app audio (IAA) compliant.  When it is, you will be able to use other, 3rd party app’s to add reverb to the audio.  See this youtube video for some of them in action.


Is Alive Drumming supporting my country or region?

globe
globe

Alive Drumming aims to cover all regions, countries, languages, and cultures, embracing a wide diversity of rhythms is what we are all about.  If we haven’t adopted yours yet, we almost certainly aim to in the future.  If you want yours to be supported now, why not contact us at marketing@alive-dumming.org


What song forms does Alive Drumming support?

We support all the popular, essential song forms by name – 12 bar blues, 16 bar tunes, 32-bar A1A2 and 32-bar AABA, and about 30 other less common also by name.    The list is increasing!  We also support selecting these same song forms using stick notation instead of names.  This simply specifies section lengths in bars, for example, ‘8|8/8|8’, where ‘bridge‘ sections are preceded by a ‘/’ instead of ‘|’. Additionally, we support users defining their own forms via stick notation, including repeats, and concatenation of up to four (4) parts.  This allows for a truly huge flexibility, enough to describe any song’s form.   See this user guide for more information,  Song Rhythm Tracks.


What rhythms are available for Song Rhythm Tracks?

The app currently supports about 60 different distinct rhythm categories, which includes about 250 distinct rhythms.  Of these, most are available with differing instrumentation such as ‘rim’ shots or, say, wooden blocks, and many at multiple tempos.  In all over 3,700 different rhythm track recordings are available that can be applied to a song form.   The app makes the selection of one of these 3,700+ recordings easy by providing filtering on a musical meter (say 4/4 or 3/4 time) and feel (even or straight, 8th or 16th notes).
Here is a tiny sample of the styles represented:

  • Jazz, swing, straight 8th, modern, sophisticated, old-time
  • American Country styles, including Nashville
  • American Blues, shuffles, hard shuffles, old-time, slow, fast
  • Salsa, Samba
  • Bossa, Jazz Bossa Brushes, Latin Bossa, bongos, percussion
  • Techno, various forms
  • Rock, hard rock, heavy
  • Pop, straight 8th, straight 16th, slow, medium, fast

For a full list of all rhythms and sub-rhythms see the page catalog-rhythmic-styles.


How can I use the Song Rhythm Tracks? What’s my licence?

Alive Drumming grants license to remix its tracks.  That is, you can take the Song Rhythm Tracks audio, mix with your own content, and sell that mix as your own work without paying a fee to Alive Drumming.
Alive Drumming prohibits resale or redistribution of its un-mixed, original Song Rhythm Tracks.  You cannot sell or give away these tracks unless you mix them into a new creative piece of work.
Alive Drumming appreciates artistic attribution but does not require attribution in your remixed works.  You do not need to attribute Alive Drumming for the rhythm track in your remixed original work but if you wish to please add, “rhythm track supplied by Alive Drumming (c)” and include a reference to this website.


How can I get these Song Rhythm Tracks? Are they available on Amazon or iTunes?

The tracks are available via Apple iOS mobile App and will later be available via an Android mobile app.
The huge permutations of song forms and rhythms available means the traditional audio file distribution channels of iTunes and Amazon do not fit this new medium of Song Rhythm Tracks.
In particular, Amazon and iTunes do not accommodate the additional assistance that is required for musician’s to select the appropriate track.
Alive Drumming has no plans to market these tracks on legacy media such as Audio CDs or DAT tape.


Who is Song Rhythm Tracks for?

All Musicians!   New Musicians;    Experienced Musicians;     Great Musicians;
Really, any musician including Pianists, Guitarists, Horn Players, Singers and even Drummers.
The tracks can be used for practice, performance and cutting a release.
To learn more about their benefit in practice, using the Song Rhythm Tracks app, see the news articles,
When to work on your rhythm?

How to practice, then how to jam

Why songform with rhythm tracks?


Would Alive Drumming include this extra rhythm?

If we don’t already include a particular rhythm, we would like to work with a drummer to include it.  This involves making high-quality audio recordings of the drumming at multiple tempos including multiple shots and fills used in turnarounds.   The audio recording will be analysed to identify where the various aspects occur and the preference level of each occurrence.   This is the basis for Alive Drumming to incorporate additional rhythms into their Song Rhythm Tracks.    If you are a drummer and have a rhythm you’d like to be represented please email feedback@alive-drumming.org


What’s Alive Drumming’s policy on privacy?

Alive Drumming takes personal privacy very seriously.  We are committed to proactively protecting the privacy of our customers by not storing any personal information unless it is absolutely required, and should that be the case, it will always be protected by strong encryption.  We will never sell or otherwise disclose any personal, private or confidential information we hold on others.


How can I learn about song form?

Song form is based on the concept that every song has been composed around a musical form or structure.   Popular song often chooses simple forms as a basis for a song but forms can be more complex as well.
A good reference on song form (structure) is the Wikipedia article,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_structure

Alive Drumming wants to provide you with the easiest and most reliable methods to describe song form.
Song Form may be selected using both (i) traditional names such as ’16-bar Tune’, or (ii) the  ‘stick notation’ equivalent of ‘4|4|4|4’ if that is what you prefer.
For full information on Alive Drumming’s Song Rhythm Tracks mobile app and it’s flexibility in identifying Song Forms see the page, Song Rhythm Tracks

You may describe any Song Form with “user-defined” Song Forms in the mobile app, and for popular tunes, searching for a user-contributed Song Form for that song, again within the mobile app.   There are now tens of thousands of these being shared.


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 thereby keeping it simple. One can select a track in under 30 seconds — under 15 seconds once one gets the hang of it.

The App’s player has tempo adjustment and a facility to sequence the 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.

Song Rhythm Tracks are truly high-quality rhythmic backing that is convenient to select and play. You are not going to get tired of these backing tracks. You are not going to have to sequence anything. You will find that the player and setlist’s user-interface encourages continued use. You will get to appreciate the form of your songs more and you might include these tracks into your own single and album releases.

Whether you are learning a new tune, jamming, gigging or cutting your latest album, this Song Rhythm Tracks provides a solution.

Check out samples of the audio at Alive Drumming’s Samples page

Check out these articles from Alive Drumming that give further insights into the thinking behind the product –

When to work on your rhythm?

How to practice, then how to jam

Why songform with rhythm tracks?

Download the Song Rhythm Tracks App on the Apple App Store

Try Alive Drumming’s sampler apps to sample previously arranged tracks of popular tunes. It is then easy to use the app to adjust these to your practice and performance requirements. All the sampler apps are the same Song Rhythm Tracks app but with the included sample tracks.

 

Why do these Song Rhythm Tracks sound so totally great?

drummer AJAZZGO2017

These Song Rhythm Tracks do sound totally great, don’t they?

This is one of the most frequent things I hear.  The great sound quality often comes as surprise, perhaps because of the widespread familiarity everybody has with ‘Midi Drum Machines‘, which don’t satisfy in the same way as Song Rhythm TracksMidi Drum Machines and Song Rhythm Tracks are two very different products; we summarize their differences in the comparison section below.

The Song Rhythm Tracks Way

Song Rhythm Tracks
Song Rhythm Tracks

Here are the three top reasons why we believe these tracks are so great to jam to, to gig to, and to cut records to.

One – Great Recordings of Great Drummers – Song Rhythm Tracks are arranged from careful studio recordings of excellent drummers.

They are not constructed from midi files fitting together “samples” from single drum hits to form a mechanical style but rather multiple longer-form full recordings by top studio drummers, lasting from up to 8 bars at a time where you hear subtle drum rolls, variations in ride cymbal taps, complex fills and more.  The rhythmic style comes from talented drummers that are very experienced in the particular style be it Reggae, Salsa, Bossa, Rumba, Tango, Rock, Country, Jazz, Pop, Celtic, Praise & Worship, Blues, and lots more!

Two – There is natural variety promoted over the repeats.

That is, a number of recordings of all aspects of playing, fills, post-fills, shots and more are taken and selectively chosen while sequencing and engineering the final audio.  This provides the natural variety one gets with drummers.  It helps prevent the drumming becoming monotonous and repetitive.

Three – The arrangement is always spelling out aspects of the song’s form.

This might have a larger contribution than one might imagine.  It is what real drummers do, but drumming software rarely does.   The drumming is indicating

  1. When you are returning to the ‘top of the form’ again
  2. When your sections are ending and starting again
  3. When you are playing a bridge section
  4. Whether you are playing a middle chorus or, alternatively, the first or last chorus.   This not only helps you keep place while you are playing but it makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable to listen to, or play along with, as well.

All this takes a lot of careful preparation, curation, huge storage, and sophisticated algorithms.   We feel this cannot be achieved on mobile devices themselves which is why our solution involves cloud services working with the mobile App. Continue Reading

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

PaintingCoupleDancing

Afro-Cuban Salsa Sampler is the new Song Rhythm Tracks sampler App from Alive Drumming providing the same great rhythm tracks arranger with 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 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.

Launch Special – Price Reduced to Minimal for a limited time!

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en US iPhone 8 Plus 03 MainTableScreen framed

Alive Drumming have reduced this App’s price to a minimal level 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 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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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 the 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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