How to Make Drum Transitions in your Tracks or Live Performances – Techno, EDM, Synthwave – Tutorial


Welcome to this first Tutorial of a series based on techniques used in Live Performances and Production If you never watched my Live Jams check them out here 😉 We’ll start with something very simple here..
Ok, no more blah blah, straight to the point! One of the most important things in Music, especially in Electronic Music, is TENSION! Every producer should focus on building up Tension and then Releasing it with Drops. In this tutorial we will see some basic approaches to build up Tension and Release using DRUMS. We’ll try to build up Tension creating the so-called Anticipation. In other words, hinting the listener… … that something is gonna happen. Then we’ll see how to Release that Tension in Transitions. The following TRICKS can be used in Techno, House, Synthwave, EDM and every other Electronic Music genre. This tutorial is made on a Roland TR-8s and in Ableton.
These concepts however can be applied to any drum… …machine, sampler and groovebox, being them hardware or software, in Live situations or in Production stages. Let’s start! TRICK #1 KICK Creating a couple patterns Live The most common method to create Anticipation and Build up Tension is to remove bass frequencies. You can hear this technique in countless productions, Live performances and DJ Sets. To do this we will shut down the lowest frequency range element in our drum kit, the KICK, one bar before the drop If you don’t own a drum machine with volume faders or if you work with Ableton drum racks, you can map an external midi controller fader to the Kick Volume Now let’s Transition between the two patterns Removing the KICK 1 bar before the drop
Switching to Pattern 2
Pulling KICK back in Pretty dry, right? But we are just beginning.. TRICK #2 DECAY Now that we learned how to remove bass frequencies, let’s see how to create Anticipation using high frequencies! To do this let’s use the decay parameter on the Open Hihat. In Ableton Live you can map an external midi controller knob to the Open Hat decay. Just make sure your Hat is in a Simpler device, choose Classic playing style, and map the decay knob This is how it sounds Gradually raising the Open Hat DECAY
And switching to Pattern 2 Not bad.. but let’s use it along with TRICK #1! Gradually raising the Open Hat DECAY
Removing the KICK
and switching to Pattern 2 Reinserting the KICK after the Drop A lot better, ain’t it? TRICK#3 TUNE Another cool way to create Anticipation using high frequencies is to use the PITCH or TUNE parameter In Ableton you can map the Open Hat DETUNE parameter in Simpler Let’s se how it works Gradually raising the Open Hat TUNE
Switching to Pattern 2
and bringing back the TUNE It works even better on Cymbals! Quickly adding a Ride Cymbal on the offbeat
Raising the Open Hat TUNE to anticipate the Cymbal Dropping the Cymbal
Gradually increasing the Cymbal TUNE before switching back to Pattern 1 At the end of the Transition we’ll keep the TUNE amount as it is, to use it in the opposite direction for the next Transition Now le’s try it with TRICK #1 Adding the Ride Cymbal to Pattern 1
Decreasing the Cymbal TUNE
Removing the KICK and switching to Pattern 2 Cool! Let’s try again TRICK #4 DRUM ROLLS! They are everywhere and can be made using Snares, Claps, or other percussive elements. There are hundreds of… …techniques to use ROLLS. Here i’ll show one easy but very effective! In this example we will use a Snare ROLL. BONUS TIP!
Before moving forward I’d like to tell you that i’ll publish more tutorials. So SUBSCRIBE my channel to be notified whenever something new comes out!
Just hit thumbs up if you liked, or thumbs down if you don’t. But please, let me know how I can improve these tutorials for you! Ok let’s create a Snare ROLL! Sequencing a straight 16th ROLL
Then removing a couple hits
Or recording it live My favorite trick is to keep the Snare volume to Zero, to raise it gradually as the drop approaches In Ableton Live you can write a 16th Snare ROLL with the Pencil Tool And then just map the Snare track volume to an external midi fader Let’s see how it sounds! Gradually raising the Snare volume before switching to Pattern 2 Ok we can make it better, but first let’s create a third Pattern Pattern 3:
Kick on the downbeats
Open hat on the offbeats Closed hat in 16th notes
A rhythmic Rim shot
Ride Cymbal on 8th notes A simple bass line
And some Toms recorded live Now let’s transition from Pattern 2 to Pattern 3 using our Snare Roll and taking out the KICK Gradually raising the SNARE volume before switching to Pattern 3 Pulling out the KICK and dropping it back in after switching Pattern Ok, one more thing about Snare ROLLS.
To underline your roll and make it move you can… …tweak other Snare parameters/effects, like attack, decay or my favorite: Bit Crush! Adding Bit Crush to the SNARE
Assigning the CTRL knob to the Bit Crush Wet/Dry parameter On the TR-8s you can press CTRL SELECT+SD to access the Snare CTRL knob assignment menu This is how it sounds Now let’s use our Noisy Snare Fill, along with TRICK #1 Raising the SNARE volume and the BIT CRUSH wet signal
Taking out the KICK Switching to Pattern 3
Dropping in the KICK Ok, now let’s try the Snare ROLL with other TRICKS! Tweaking the Ride and Open Hat TUNE
Increasing the Snare ROLL volume
Taking out the KICK Switching to Pattern 3
Raising the BIT CRUSH
Dropping the KICK back in TRICK #5 FILTERS Hope everybody knows what FILTERS are. In this case we will focus on the highpass filter (which cuts out low freqs) Inserting the Highpass Filter as a Master Effect We have a very busy pattern, with bass and toms, and we want to transition to a sparser one, with lower dynamics. Taking out the kick will not be sufficient to cut out the low frequencies, because of the bass and the toms. The solution is a highpass filter applied to the whole kit, or to the whole mix if you like! So we will raise the FILTER cutoff to build up Tension, while in the drop we’ll quickly disengage the filter. In Ableton Live you can insert an Autofilter device, set it on Highpass and map its cutoff and on/off switch Let’s try this FILTER in action Turning on the FILTER
Gradually raising its Cutoff Switching to Pattern 2
Turning off the FILTER Let’s use it in conjunction with other techniques Raising the Open Hat and Ride TUNE
Raising the FILTER Cutoff Switching to Pattern 3
Turning off FILTER TRICK #6 SPATIAL EFFECTS A nice way to create Anticipation is to increase the three-dimensional space perception before the drop To do this we’ll set every track Reverb send to maximum, keeping the Reverb return volume to Zero To build up we’ll gradually raise the Reverb return volume, then we’ll quickly turn it back to zero after the drop. In Ableton you can just map the send knob for the whole drum kit Let’s Try! Gradually increasing REVERB volume
Switching to Pattern 2
Turning REVERB off It works very well with the FILTER too! Slowly increasing the REVERB volume and the FILTER cutoff Switching to Pattern 3
Turning REVERB and FILTER off Finally, let’s try all these TRICKS together! Raising Open Hat DECAY
Taking out the KICK Switching to Pattern 2
Bringing the KICK back in Sequencing Ride Cymbal
Tweaking Open Hat DECAY and TUNE Taking out KICK
Bringing KICK and RIDE in Sequencing Snare ROLL in 16th
Raising its volume Taking out KICK
Switching to Pattern 3
Dropping KICK back in Raising REVERB volume
Raising FILTER Cutoff Switching to Pattern 2
Turning off FILTER and REVERB Tweaking Ride TUNE
Raising Snare ROLL volume and BIT CRUSH Taking out KICK
Switching to Pattern 1
Dropping KICK back in Awesome! Thank you for watching! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE and please let me know if you liked or not, using thumb buttons and comments.

17 thoughts on “How to Make Drum Transitions in your Tracks or Live Performances – Techno, EDM, Synthwave – Tutorial

  1. This is really good stuff. Teaches some general tricks that are prominent in electronic music and should be in the arsenal of every electronic music performer. More like this. I'll be keeping my eye on you.

  2. Hullaw. I'd watched and enjoyed a few of your jams in the past but somehow hadn't subscribed. The algorithm threw this up and it is pretty much what i need. I don't really use much outboard gear (nektar lx88 🤮) but I've got live suite (novice) and this video is helping me think about the fundamentals. More please. Of course, now subscribed. Many thanks

  3. always down for a youtube channel that is aimed at live performance with hardware rather than just DAW production

  4. Excellent tutorial, really well explained and well executed. Also, makes me want to upgrade my TR8 to the TR8S! I'll be keeping an eye out for more content, thank you!

  5. Good stuff. I’d like a voiceover so I don’t have to read. Sometimes the words go by too fast because I was busy watching your hands, etc. even if you’re just reading what’s on the screen without other commentary, like a script, that would even be fine. Maybe text on screen for titles of sections (if someone is mousing over the timeline to see preview of that frame) but I’m sure you could set a mic on a boom stand jus5 out of camera view so its held in front of you while you work the tr8 with both hands? Good stuff, tho!

  6. Damn I need to stop watching good video about the TR8S because I am gonna ended up by buying one…Nice video !

  7. Quick and easy, but down to the point. not too long, and filled with great info… even offered software/midi controller alternatives. all super easy to follow with a solid beat that'll keep us interested. well done, please keep adding content.

  8. Absolutely great tutorial! Thank you for that! It's well explained with no unnecessary fuss! Straight to the point! You've got my sub!

  9. Would love another "fundamentals" type of tutorial! Maybe a similar video focused on melodic elements?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *