One of the great things about an electric drum kit is the ability to access many sounds without having to haul around a huge collection of percussion instruments. The downside is that electronic triggers limit the playing techniques you can apply and make it difficult to recreate some of the nuances of the real instruments.
This fact became an issue for me while preparing for In The Heights. The score calls for various techniques on a Güira (a metal Guiro used in Dominican Meringue music), including the seemingly simple pattern below:
The obvious solution is to use a velocity threshold to access the two samples. However, a simple threshold can be tricky – hit slightly too hard or soft and you trigger the wrong sample, wrecking the groove. My solution was to use the new scripting feature in MainStage 3 to create an adaptive velocity threshold that floats based on my playing, helping me lock in the groove. Read on for the details…
Continue reading Fakin’ It : Güira Style
It seems that my rig gets more complicated with each show and preparing for the PYT production of Legally Blonde was no exception. We did not have a percussionist for the show, so in addition to drums, I doubled the percussion part where possible. This involved adding parts for triangle, tambourine, crotale, mark tree (a.k.a. the “broken glass” patch), bodhran and timpani in various tunings throughout the show.
Covering the additional percussion parts resulted in 82 program changes throughout the show and over 50 custom kits that needed to be programmed.
Continue reading Rig Rundown : Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde called for a number of slow shakers and the Roland TD-30 “one shot” style sample wasn’t cutting it. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to try creating my own shakers with items from around the house and sample them.
Here are a few things I learned in the process:
Continue reading Shakers