Shaman Drum - Spring Equinox / Full Moon serenade

I did a little shaman drum recording for the Spring Equinox and Full Moon, which are occurring almost simultaneously tonight. Nice vibes. :sunglasses: It’s just about 3.5 minutes if you can give it a listen, even if it’s not your thing. I recorded it in omni, and there’s actually quite a bit of processing on it as a microphone doesn’t seem to capture the full effect in a room.

I tried to get a decent balance of low end and high end. There might be some substantial subs so don’t crank it up TOO loud at first. :slightly_smiling_face: I switch from mallet to hand drumming about halfway through, after a short pause, so you should hear some timbre and style changes. If you’re not familiar with shaman drum or anything - and my playing is probably a bit flamboyant for the the style :grin: - just think of a cross between Tonto and John Bonham. :beerbanger:

Mainly though, try to just be in the moment and enjoy. :om: Any feedback would be appreciated, even good old emotional responses. :wink:


It needs a slow flanger and a long plate reverb.

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Very cool, nice timbre changes. You could really develop this with some synth gong and perc patches, I’ll be waiting :smile: Could be a prelude to my Floyd ripoff :thinking:

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A flanger could be cool. I thought about phase-type effects but wanted to wait until after BTR. I AM inspired by John Bonham around this, and when the flanging kicks in on “Moby Dick” it is awesome, but it’s only in a particular section and works well there. I would probably only do it in one small section for interest.

I tried a long plate reverb, but only Abbey Road. I probably have a dozen others I could try that might sound better and not have the AR near-reflections I didn’t like. If G.A.S. = “gear acquisition syndrome”, I probably now struggle with G.U.S.; “gear usage syndrome”. :grin: If you have a hundred options …

I did actually use an Abbey Road Chamber preset though. I’m pretty happy with the sound, but since you mentioned it I may now probably explore all those other reverbs in my inventory. :thinking:

That’s a good thought. I have had tons of ideas around something like that. Have been wanting to do cello, shaman drum, and electric guitar. I have some large wind chimes that are like tubular bells that might be nice also. Probably some gong patches somewhere (as well as synth samples), and tons of drum stuff. See: “G.U.S.” :smirk:

Ah, yes, all kinds of possibilities. It’s definitely in that zone, or could be made to be so. :wink:

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I got so self absorbed in my own projects I didn’t even realize this was here until tonight, Stan! And ironically, I just added a (fake) drum part to my epic celtic antiwar song, Richendahl, today. It had been sitting there untouched since last November.

I used a Sonik Synth drum that was like a folk deep sound, as I was going for something that would sound like yours. It didn’t end up the way I imagined, but I think it sounds better than I could have.

I like the organic tempo changes. Midi discourages that more frequently than not. I think it is more challenging to add midi on top of this but not impossible. The payoff might be big.

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Midi files divide beats into “ticks per quarter note” and can be set quite high if necessary. So a midi recording done without quantization or the musician following a click track can be as “organic” as an actual acoustic recording. It will follow the player precisely and you can overdub parts with equal freedom. And of course if necessary you can go back in and edit or quantize the entire track.

If Stan were to sample his drums he could then make a midi recording exactly like his acoustic recording here, given enough time, patience and persistence.

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Yeah, if I had thought about it I could have set up a click track to grid before going off on my shamanic journey. :wink::slightly_smiling_face: With something like gong samples or synth “pads”, long slow notes, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to sync something up.

Yes, sampling would be quite easy. I think I even played around with that when I first got the drum. I could use this current performance too if I could isolate some notes - when doing it on purpose I let the notes ring out quite awhile. Trying to get the acoustic sustain to work between notes with samples could be challenging though, unless the part was just augmenting some other instrument that was the main focus of a track. Also, in general with my approach to the shaman drum, and certainly in this specific performance, there is tons of percussionist nuance and timbre inflection in the way the drum is played. I guess I do that to make it interesting to myself, both sonically and emotionally. That would make it quite difficult to reproduce exactly with sampling. A sampled performance would have to have more continuity just by the limitation (time, if nothing else) of the number of sampled hits/notes to be used.

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Yes! Which is why the big time audio libraries are so expensive and take up so much storage space.

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Right. They record multiple velocities of each note, and articulated variations of the same note sometimes. I’m pretty familiar with this in drum software, but less so with other instruments. The (presumed) complexity of orchestral instruments boggles my mind so much I haven’t looked into it much, in terms of the architecture.

Here is a list of articulations and techniques that are taught to string players.

Bartók pizz
Bouncing bow
Bow Direction
Col Legno
Con sordino Contact point
Left hand pizzicato
Marcato Martelé
Parts of the Bow
Rule of Down-Bow
Son filé
Sounding Point
Sul tasto

Besides the recordings, the library has to code as many of these as possible to midi controllers or midi keyswitches and then design a user-friendly “player” that allows a composer to somehow have a good work flow.

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You almost have to play each hit separately to make an instrument. But as @ingolee lists below, there are nuances that each must be sampled to add realism. I highly respect soft synth makers. But if you can play, then you can sample phrases rather than single notes and capture more nuance, and then it is always the way you add the tracks. I frequently play freeform with quantize off along with the hard song bpm but rarely the other way around, but I have. And one can stretch to exact line up the notes, and that alone might resolve all timing issues. Bottomline is one can sample the drums and create totally new beats/rhythms by all kinds of editing tricks. Your big beat might not be totally real but be crazy cool.

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Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! Electric guitar seems much simpler by comparison, but I guess nearly half that list (equal to the ones I recognize :wink:) would apply to guitar techniques written in tablature - especially after the advent of Eddie Van Halen.

True, it would be pretty straightforward to do a 1-2 measure loop that would fit into a song. And there could be a bunch of percussion effects created through editing to be accents for parts.

I think any acoustic or electronic instrument has a comparable list of articulations and techniques. Strings have been carefully studied and developed over many years by classical musicians to standardize the approach but it could be done for any instrument.

Steve Vai has done a lot to standardize a system like this for electric guitar.

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