In today’s world where innovation and music making are closely related to each other it is good to see (from a musicians perspective) that we make more and more music. Let me explain that briefly.
Back in the days there were only acoustic drums. Later technicians developed electric drumkits. So instead of hitting a drum which is then causing a skin to vibrate that makes sound waves resonate in the drum itself, now one would hit a snare drum on an electric drumkit which actually triggers a piezo element. That is a totally different beast because then that trigger gets registered and digitized so we can now playback any sample we desire.
Focussing on our phones with touch screen, or tablets and laptops.
Our mobile devices can process that digital information, therefore it is possible to register and playback any sound we like. We can load sounds into a program on our phone, could be existing samples or maybe today’s recording of chirping birds. The software is extremely advanced, the pads are touch sensitive and the software also allows us to alter the sound. We can apply effects like delay, reverb, or even reverse the entire sample and chop it up.
The lay out of these programs is simple, just like drum sampling machines from the 90’s, there are 16 pads. 4 in rows of 4. On a mobile device with touch screen they are shown as a raster. What you need to do to make the device generate sound is to select a pad, load a sample and start tapping away. And if you decide to process your creation even more, you can send the project file form your phone or tablet to your computer which you can alter even further with the use of even more sophisticated software.
Time is crucial and we all want to be the first one out there with the newest sounds, and newest creations. Well, this way we can! You can record and program drums during your commute. Its is easy now to exchange ideas or having 4 people work on the same project from different locations. Also the beauty of it’s simplicity. It is now not a requirement to know how to play the drums to program them. Finger drumming is totally different then holding two 7a’s and trying to hit the drums the way you intended to. One way is definitely NOT easier than the other.
But in all honesty, it is too bad that the aesthetics of the drums are vanishing this way.
I like playing the drums, from tuning the kit, positioning the drums and cymbals to practicing paradiddles and jamming with the metalhead from downstairs. Nothing can beat a “real” drumkit. Although a programmed drum track might sound quite similar to a live recorded drum track, it will never be the same as the real deal. But what is the real deal again?!