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How Do I Choose the Best Drum Loops?

H. Bliss
H. Bliss

Choosing the best drum loops essentially comes down to listening to a large number of drum loops and choosing the ones that you like. To simplify this process, a musician can narrow down the choices by looking at properties of the drum loops, such as sound quality, music style and beats per minute (BPM). Loops can also be analog, and made from recorded audio, or they can be digitally simulated drum sounds. Software programs often offer the ability to alter drum loops to make them fit better into a piece. When all else fails, making your own drum loops may be the best way to get the sound you want out of a musical composition.

Programs that use drum loops are many, but include FruityLoops®, Reason&reg: and Garageband®. These loops are often divided into multiple categories, often by the type of instruments in the loop, the original tempo of the loop and the type of music that the loops were made to sound like. It is not always necessary to choose a drum loop that matches the genre of music you wish to make. In fact, choosing a drum loop that sounds different from the rest of the song can result in a more eclectic and creative sound than using drum loops from within the same genre of music.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

What defines the genre of music in a drum loop usually comes down to the drum tools used to make the beat. Loops including natural sounding drum sets are often used for rock or jazz. The sound of a drummer's brush on the head of a drum is characteristic to jazz beats. Electronic, computerized sounding drum loops are popular in dance and pop beats, while loops with electric drums that sound like they are broken or malfunctioning are most typical in glitch or dubstep music.

Though a drum loop can usually be adjusted to fit the tempo of a piece, getting a beat with a similar tempo to the piece you are composing can have several benefits. When the tempo is the same and less adjustment is required in the loop, it will typically sound better. Since it does not need to be sped or up or slowed down to fit the piece, it can sound more natural with less distortion than a time-altered loop. Not all artists choose loops with a similar tempo to the piece they are creating. To create a new sound, some musicians choose loops with vastly different tempos to make use of the distortion and timbre change that comes from heavily speeding up or slowing down a drum loop.

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