ray parry wrote:how do you know what key a kick is? spectrum analyser?
I have never really thought too much about putting bass on top of kicks. if it sounds right then i use it, if not ill move onto something else. thats really how I work. im always just using my ears. I tend not to work out the math, but its really interesting to see other people working like this.
In terms of the kick itself, it will be a certain frequency which may or may not be a hz value of some chromatic note but the kick itself can't be in a key
. If you're making your own kicks, then obviously you can tailor the sound to be whatever frequency you want - and any additional harmonic content can also be controlled ( at least by some methods )
I know what you mean by just using ears. I have always done that myself to a certain extent. I've tried to pitch kicks before when using sampled kicks and used the old technique of upping the pitch by 12 semitones to hear any tonality better, fine tuning and dropping back to bass registers again..It was only some time back that I started to appreciate the value of knowing frequency to note relationships and harmonics too.
This is what I use for reference: http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html
All music is maths if you think about it, intervals/chords etc are all based on some form of ratios.
My first 'real' attempts at this began after I had an initial musical idea ( which I never finished ) but it was in the key of E minor. I started building a kickdrum and began with a fundamental sine wave pitched at E/41hz. The method I'm familiar with when making kicks invloves the use of a 'ramp' parameter ( essentially a pitch envelope ) to get the initial punch. Here, the use of that could potentially throw the pitch away from that initial 41hz frequency at the attack phase but I used a ramp based on step values and opted for 24 semitones after first trying 19 semitones. Whilst not going too much into this as it's a diff subject, the envelope is basically 'ramping' from a higher pitch down to the fundamental and decay which was where the real sense of tone is. But I deliberately chose to ramp down from the same frequency, albeit 2 octaves higher ( the other one which just sounded right was based on a perfect 5th interval an octvae higher but didn't have enough initial punch for me )
So anyway, aside from additional 'clicks, noise' that I might have dialled in, I came up with a kick that was pushing out a definite 41hz frequency. The lowest note in my bass sequence also happened to be E/41hz, I had an 'E' an octave higher, a 'B', a 'G' and I think there was an 'F#' in there too all using low notes and the odd note in the next octave. I tuned the kick to E/41hz as I thought it underpinned the tonal centre better than other pitches. Also, in any key, there are an order of the 'strongest' intervals. First you have the unison, the perfect 5th and then the perfect 4th. The I-V-IV in roman numeral music jargon, hence the popularity of that chord chord progression too, so it makes sense in a harmonic way to at least try the root or 5th first.
I can't remember the order of notes in the bass pattern but I know I didn't have a low E/41hz happening on a kick event, I wasn't avoiding that, I had the bass pattern before I did the kick but I liked the way it all worked together, the low end sounded punchy and clear to my ears.
I don't use a huge amount of decay on my kicks so a lot of it could be seen as placebo, but it does make sense anyway when you think about it even if you can't perceive the tonality of the kick.