new Spacebar videos and documentation

I’ve been excited about the relatively new workflow emphasizing effects automation. Here are three videos that resulted:

I’ve also gotten great responses and questions from all kinds of people regarding the Spacebar setup, so I went ahead and made a few videos going into the technical detail of what I’m doing. So if you feel like geeking out over midi and audio production, continue on…

Spacebar now on Facebook

For last Saturday’s Spacebar performance at Incense & Peppermints’ Grand Opening Party, I published a dedicated facebook page:

…go ahead and like it already!

“Chordal Drumming” drum solo

To demonstrate how to incorporate “Chordal Drumming” patterns into soloing, I video-taped a drum solo that combines a lot of the elements of this method. You can view a transcription, including a version that points out the patterns, HERE.

Chordal Drumming now published!

My method book “Chordal Drumming: Drum Set Coordination in the 21st Century” is now published! It’s been a few years in the making. I just received my first official copy, and it looks fantastic.

It can be purchased here:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Advancing Drumming

(from the Preface of my book)

A New Coordination

Sometimes, control and coordination on the drum set are thought of as independence. But independence is a misnomer when it comes to coordination, almost the opposite is true. Rather than making our limbs independent from each other, we train them to move together or in relation to each other, what I would call interdependence. Ultimately, our four limbs become united and connected in our playing. Our playing becomes one expression, one combined motion, one sound. The same approach is used in this book. [Chordal Drumming]

The art and craft of playing the drum set, as well as its vocabulary, have continued to evolve and grow since the inception of the instrument, almost a century ago. Drummers repeatedly push the boundaries and search for new sounds and new ways of playing time and of expressing themselves. In terms of speed, there is a physical limit past which we will not get. But besides the function of time-keeping, learning to play the drum set still mainly presents a challenge of coordination.

It is in new ways of coordination then, that drumming can be much further explored. Learning sequences of four-limb coordination is not as much a physical challenge as it is a puzzle for the body and mind, to be solved through repetition.
To play a simple rock groove with eighth-notes on the hi-hat, most would agree, is easy. Now, if the same hi-hat pattern is moved over by one sixteenth- note, all of a sudden it’s harder. Or is it? Physically, there is no reason why it should be. We just aren’t used to it. But it takes more time to learn how to “hear” the things that we aren’t already doing or that we aren’t hearing all around us constantly.

Chordal Drumming can be seen as a counterpart to linear drumming and is borne out of my search for new tools of expression, initially inspired by some of my favorite drummers. But it offers far more than a transcription of my ideas. Instead, the chordal method presents at once a structure of concrete patterns for literal study and a system that can be and should be used as a tool for further exploring new ways of coordination.

MTPro: how to invert controller behavior

This is simple math, but worth sharing because of its usefulness. If you ever have to have a controller behave in the opposite way of how it does by default, you can achieve this with a very simple equation:
On the rules-tab of the translator in question create an “expression” rule. Using “pp” as the value-variable in the translator, the rule reads:

This was useful to me in order to, for example, have the same knob open one send-signal in Live while closing another.

MTPro: The “value-scaling fix”

This little trick takes care of a limitation with Ableton Live’s value-scaling option for midi take-over mode.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: When “value-scaling” is selected in Live’s midi preferences, single-value control change messages will not always affect the targeted parameter (depending on its current state) or at least not to the desired setting. For example, if you have a button on a controller that sends a cc-message to set a filter-frequency to a particular Hz-value, Live’s value-scaling function will “scale” the incoming value depending on its distance from the current value of the target parameter. This is perfect for use on a volume fader, it can however be a nuisance with targeted single values.

So what to do when you need value-scaling as your take-over mode?

The solution I found involves having two duplicates precede the affected translator in MTPro, the first one sending a value of “00” (0), the second one of “7F” (127). These two are then followed by the targeted value, say “3F” (64).
The two preceding translators will have the effect of a “reset” on the value-scaling function, allowing the targeted parameter in Ableton Live to respond precisely to the third value, in this example 64.

So just copy the translator in question twice, move the two copies ahead of it, and change the outgoing message values to “00” and “7F” respectively. Example:

Translator 1:  outgoing message:  B0 2F 00
Translator 2:  outgoing message:  B0 2F 7F
Translator 3:  outgoing message:  B0 2F 3F  (<– target value)

This does multiply the amount of translators affected by three, but don’t worry, it’ll have no effect on performance. It might just be adding a bit to the visual clutter, but considering what a huge relief this was to a long headache, I am more than happy to add a few lines to my presets.