1 minute reading time
May 21-Leading and Lagging the Beat for Feel
You can "humanize" sequences that have been quantized too rigidly by tweaking the start times for individual notes or phrases. Ignore any menu item called "humanization," because this usually just adds randomness—that's not what makes timing human (unless the human in question had too much to drink). Instead, alter note timings manually or use a "slide" editing function; note that any "snap" function needs to be turned off, and these changes should be subtle.
Mixcraft's MIDI editing can move selected notes early or late, as well as add randomization.
- Jazz drummers often hit a ride cymbal's bell ahead of the beat (earlier) to "push" a song.
- Rock drummers frequently hit the snare behind the beat (later) for a "big" sound.
- For electronic dance music, move double-time percussion parts (shaker, tambourine, etc.) slightly ahead of the beat for a more urgent feel.
- With tom fills, delay each subsequent note of the fill a tiny bit more. This can make a tom fill sound gigantic.
- If two percussion sounds or staccato harmony lines hit on the same beat, try sliding one part ahead of or behind the beat to keep the parts from interfering with each other.
- Move a crash cymbal ahead of the beat to highlight it, or behind the beat to have it mesh more with the track.
- If a bass note and kick hit on the same beat, delay the bass slightly to emphasize the drum (hence the rhythm), or advance the bass a tiny bit to emphasize melody.