Drums and Rhythm For The Songwriter
This article will teach the songwriter the importance of drums and rhythm in their songs.
A hot drum rhythm means you will have a great groove to the song, which is important if you really want to make your song infectious and get people moving.
That may seem like over simplifying, but if you really understand what makes the rhythm, you will understand the importance of the drums.
Rhythm has three important aspects to it:
- the time signature,
- the tempo,
- and the pulse.
After having a closer look at these, you will understand why drums and rhythm play such an important role in songwriting.
The Basics of Drum Rhythm
The time signature of a song tells you how many beats there are per bar, as well as the duration of the bar. The most commonly used time, appropriately referred to as Common Time, is 4/4.
- The first number indicates how many beats in a bar
- The second number lets you know how long each beat lasts
So if we use common time 4/4 as an example, you will see that there are 4 beats in a bar, which makes each beat a 1/4 note.
The tempo is how fast the song is and is measured in BPM (beats per minute). As a rough guide:
- Ballads Tempo ranges from 60pbm to 90bpm
- Pop songs - 100bpm and above
- Dance music tempos are usually fast, over 120bpm
The main beat of a song is referred to as the pulse, and it is usually provided by the bass drum. This varies from song to song, but below are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- Dance music has a "four to the floor" pulse which means the bass drum plays on beats 1, 2, 3 and 4
- Rock music has a "backbeat" which accents the 2nd and 4th beat
- Reggae tends to accent the 3rd beat
Now, understanding the basic components of drums and rhythm, it is clear that keeping time is vital to the songwriting process. The drums not only set the pulse of the song, but also the time signature and the tempo. This holds the song together and keeps everything running fluidly.