Do kick & snare need to be in the same key as tune?

Dec 28, 2011

  1. mr meh

    mr meh
    568 posts
    Since Jan 10, 2011
    So I've been hearing a bit about this recently.....i never bothered with it and im not sure if i need to be?

    So i checked the key of a kick and snare i liked and they were both in C, the tune was gonna be in F so i pitched them up to F and they sounded horrible so obviously didnt do it....

    So whats the deal with this, do the big producers do it?
  2. Ibunshi Mpc Pilot

    8,402 posts
    Since Jun 8, 2007
    only have to sound good as far i am concerned.. Plenty of great music out there where everything isnt in tune, so i wouldnt start obsessing about it or try to force it onto a track.. Though the reason your test sounded shitty might be just that, it was forced out of the range of 'things you can do to a sound without it sounding shitty and out of place in the tune' ..Maybe a different sound that was in tune would have worked better..
  3. BoxHead

    1 posts
    Since Dec 28, 2011
    The harmonics of a percussive sound are scattered around the spectrum in a very irregular fashion so you can't really tune them properly, you can pitch them and they might sound better with the track but that is as far as you can go. Although some synthesised drum sounds you can tune like a kick for example, as most people synthesise these by putting a drastic pitch drop on a sine wave.
  4. Bigfoot

    3,262 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2006
    think about how lars ulrich tunes his drums for metalicca, they always sound phat as fuck - does he change the tuning for every song they play?

  5. MaxNZ

    230 posts
    Since Sep 27, 2011
    Not saying your point isn't right, but the example is a bit weak.

    Lars wouldn't play with the tuning but the mixing engineers sure as fuck would after..

  6. polymass

    685 posts
    Since Jan 15, 2011
    Tuning in a musical sense often only partly applies to Percussion and drums. The sustain of resonance is the only "musical" information that can be tuned.

    Given snares and kicks are often very short transients in electronic music, the key of such hit's is rarely really something musical. Simply adjust by ear. If the note go up, pitch your snare or kick up too. Don't even bother tuning it to a key.
  7. dontworry

    416 posts
    Since Nov 19, 2010
    yes, they do. you've found the secret to producing dnb now, fuck ovv and go get signed :tea:
  8. PanLeft

    307 posts
    Since Apr 20, 2010
    As it's been said, as long as it sound alright that the main thing. Even if it's a vocal, that's slightly out - as long as it sounds ok I wouldn't worry.

    Having said that - if your kick has a lot of bass, then yeah I would think about having this in Key - if by changing the transposition makes the kick sound shit - change kick.

    Also, you said the kick/snare was in C and the track was in F. Depending on the mood of your track, I would have thought (with little actual music knowledge I have) this would work because it is the same scale. F, A, C, E. (someone can correct me if im talking rubbish)

    Maybe learn some scales or something to see what might work...this isn't meant to sound patronising - because it's something I haven't really done either :tea:
  9. FlatFaced

    837 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    tune by ear - even your sounds...if your sound needs a few cents up or down(no matter if its a synth or whatever) - tune it without much of a concern of its key or what not.

    I mean(am sure you know that situation) when you're creating an articulation sometimes(rarely) there is a note that wont fit even if you try the whole scale...and there comes the little bending

    so my point is dont bother with keys so much...if you want learn to play them without thinking in the other case your music will suffer from overthinking(like mine do) :teeth:
  10. Bigfoot

    3,262 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2006

    that part of the article is on about mic'ing up drums and compression, 'processing' etc, we're talking about tuning drums to certain pitches/tones.

    quite a big difference.
  11. Ibunshi Mpc Pilot

    8,402 posts
    Since Jun 8, 2007
    ^^ lol i was wondering if i really missed something super obvious about that article.. but all i could make out was that they didnt do much to the drum sound at all.. just that they didnt need much eq'ing and that the mic and compressor was what made it sound good

    also, even though i am a complete noob and never have recorded a band i kinda assume out of thin air that if a band wants to tune their drums, then it would be easier and give better results if they did it to the actual drum kit instead of using plugins or whatever and do it afterwards to a bunch of recordings inside a computer.. but then i am no plugin expert either
  12. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum
    8,755 posts
    Since Aug 29, 2003
    'In key' or 'in tune' does not mean 'exactly the same note'. Your drums will still be in tune if they form a 5th or some other complementary harmonic interval.
  13. SourBattery

    509 posts
    Since Aug 15, 2009
    Do you NEED to tune drums to the key of the tune..... No!
  14. jayjaybee

    391 posts
    Since Jun 27, 2004
    not necessary.. but bloody nice.

    doing this really drives a tune, and makes it roll better.

    try setting up an eq on your hats layer and eq them to your kick snare and tune...rolls like a mofo.
  15. Bigfoot

    3,262 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2006
    lars is a fucking good drummer say no more!

    @ the OP - a good bit of advice, sometimes think about the real world i.e. real music (lol), not electronic music where everything is DI'd or done 'in the box'.

    when a producer records a sound, they make sure it is already sounds as good as possible without any processing or treatment. think about how sounds are before you do anything to them - it will make you more critical of your source samples, which is a good thing.
  16. FlatFaced

    837 posts
    Since Jan 17, 2011
    i dont get the last sentence - could you elaborate on that ?
  17. MaxNZ

    230 posts
    Since Sep 27, 2011
    I wrote that sentance on processing then went through the article looking for proof, found nothing bar something about Lars having different kits.....

    "close enough"


    apologies mate
  18. Orca

    265 posts
    Since Oct 29, 2010
    This! :slayer:

    The short answer is "no".

    IMO, when tuning drum sounds think in terms of Hz and not the Key. For example, for a d'n'b or dubstep track if your main kick is hitting at 90 hz, and your snare is at 200 hz, you can tune a second snare to hit at 90 hz for some added thump on the down beat. This won't cause any issues when mixing either since the kick and the snare won't be hitting at the same time like in a house track. The key is irrelevant since the decay is so short. It's all attack.

    If the drum sound has a long decay, like in a hardcore techno track, then you will need to think about they actual tonal key. Think timpani or toms.

    I recommend learning to synthesize you own 808 or 909 esque sounds for layering purposes. That way, you have full control over the the tone AND sound quality.
  19. Full Clip Audio

    Full Clip Audio
    11,792 posts
    Since Jun 5, 2003
    Yeah, no one tunes rock drums after they are recorded. Tuning drums is an art form and one of the most important parts of getting a good drum sound when recording. It is also about a LOT more than pitch. It is about the attack, sustain, depth and tone of the hit and how the top and bottom head are tuned to work together. In reality, the "note" of the drum is decided by the dimension of the actual drum and while tuning can pitch it up or down, it is more about getting the right "sound" rather than the right pitch.
  20. Deadstareforlife

    3,778 posts
    Since May 28, 2008
    I bet hands down that the drums on your favourite tunes haven't been tuned.
  21. vertex

    8,513 posts
    Since Aug 13, 2001
    listen to this man
  22. Ibunshi Mpc Pilot

    8,402 posts
    Since Jun 8, 2007
    Cheers for clearing that up!
  23. Kizza

    612 posts
    Since Oct 21, 2010
    Nothing NEEDS to be anything. But it is something you should try your hardest to achieve, what Full Clip said is spot on, it's about getting sounds which 'go togethor' in the mix.

    I personally would never pitch a kick or a snare, i feel it totally degrades the ADSR of the sound.

    In addition, sometimes after I've made a beat that 'fits together', their will be a resonant frequency of some sort, so when I go to make my bassline I tend to know exactly what note to start with. I think this is acceptable? It might take years of tuning guitars and stuff to acquire this technique though I'm not sure ..:spliff:
  24. techskunk Banned by DOA

    2,715 posts
    Since May 5, 2011
    good thread
  25. Bigfoot

    3,262 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2006
    lol no worries :tea:

    interesting article anyway, obviously bob rock knows his shit, but i'd like to do a bit of experimentation with mics, or reverb in the box perhaps. the way drums are mic'd fascinates me, a lot of it is about getting the different parts of the kit to bleed into other mic's.

    anyone experienced in ways of emulating this kind of technique in a DAW?
  26. Roachie Official DOA Emberist #3

    5,672 posts
    Since Mar 10, 2008
  27. StrayFuzz

    295 posts
    Since Oct 7, 2004
    Photek was the master of pitching drums, Yendi being a prime example - the same kick drum used at two different pitches. The lower pitched kick hits the same time as the lowest double bass note, presumably so they don't clash in the mix. This is a great way to add some subtle melodic content from an atypical source in addition to clever arrangement so you can get away with super low bass notes.
  28. Deadstareforlife

    3,778 posts
    Since May 28, 2008
    Sure, Concsiousness and Ni Ten Ichi Ryu are other good examples from Photek of that. I'm also a huge fan of Kenny Dope (Masters at Work) who uses different combinations of pitched snares, kicks and hats in his beats.

    But using different relative pitches of percussion to create an interesting beat isn't what this thread is's the frankly quite odd idea of tuning drum sounds to the key of the track.
  29. StrayFuzz

    295 posts
    Since Oct 7, 2004
    Wouldn't say it's "odd" just not necessarily mandatory. Teebee made a point of recommending you tune your kick to the root note of the song in his Q & A session...
  30. BANTAM chills

    1,887 posts
    Since Aug 1, 2001