Finger Drumming

March 2, 2015 -- 2 minutes & 6 second read

Stumbled upon the world of finger drumming last night. I love when I do something random on the Internet and then discover some new amazing thing. New to me at least.

I was looking up how to connect my synth to Ableton when I saw a post about an ongoing beta. They just added support for using the full grid of the Push with a drum rack. I may have the terminology wrong. Anyways, this is a really cool update. They accompanied the news with a video of Mad Zach playing a song on the Push without recording any loops. It was really impressive!

Seeing that was all it took to pull me into many hours of research. I started practicing drumming techniques, I experimented with Mad Zach's sound packs for Ableton and I started making my own. It was so much fun. I was excited to get home today and practice making beats.

Like all things, the pros make it look so easy. It's the opposite of easy. I can hold a steady beat with my right hand. Things fall apart when the left hand starts moving around a bunch. It reminds me of what I said yesterday about how I always push myself to go as fast as possible. It's no different in this case. I was trying to emulate Mad Zach from the start. Hah. Now I'm practicing at 60-80 BPM and still messing up all the time :)

What I like most about this finger drumming is how a person can get to the point where they are creating fairly complex sounding music in realtime with just their fingers. It's just like piano in that regard. I also like the use of digital software to build the sounds. You can be really creative and I'm just starting to tap into that. My in-progress sound pack will include recordings from around the house, audio clips from Benny Lava and clips from media I loved as a kid.

The hardware is also a lot of fun. Mad Zach has what seems like every modern controller, but my favourite is the MIDI Fighter. The design is clean and simple. Just 16 arcade buttons with LEDs, all housed in a small box. The creator no longer ships the original which is a little unfortunate but judging by the prices of their latest versions, I doubt I would have bought one. They are in the $200 range which is very steep for a simple piece of hardware. This is a good example of where a basic understanding of computer hardware can save you big money and provide you a fun project.

I did some research and it's pretty easy to build your own MIDI Fighter. Deep down I know that this is another project I shouldn't start anytime soon. I likely won't because I'm already overwhelmed with things to do...but I'm still going to plan it out. At the very least I want to source the materials. The arcade buttons seem a bit tricky to find for cheap because they are imported from Japan. Luckily I'm going there for vacation in May :D I'll buy some buttons from the source. Huzzah!

Tags: music journal