6. Drum Pattern

Drum and Percussion sequencing.
My preference for producing Drum and Bass and Breakbeat over House probably originates from my love of solid Drums and contemporary rhythmic variety. Although subtle variety within the drum sequencing is necessary, it is essential to maintain a steady grove.

A simple techniquie to create a 32 bar sequence of drums from1 pattern:

Create 1 bar of drums. Copy and change the rhythm of the last bar (the second). Copy both to make 4 and change the rhythm of the last (the fourth). Repeat 3 more times until you have a total of 32.


The following drum patterns have been seperated into 3 categories, Breakbeat, Hip Hop and Drum and Bass.


A) Breakbeat – 100 to 150 BMP

Breakbeat drum sequencing can be categories into the following sub categories.  The categories are defined by the position of the Kick and Snare only.  Hat sequencing can help accentuate certain rhythmic qualities and offer variety to an identical Kick and Snare pattern, but does not define a category.  Each block represents 1/16th of a bar or Semi Quaver.


Regular Snare, simple and effective.

Drum Pattern 1 Stand Elec.mp3





Regular Snare, simple and conventional 1/8 sequencing for Kick and accented Snare (Only light Snare / Ghost Snare is sequenced at 1/16 only)

Drum Pattern 2 Stand Break.mp3






Combination of Regular Kick with break ending

Drum Pattern 3 Hybrid.mp3






Snare delayed or increased by 1/16th

Drum Pattern 4 Irregular.mp3






Regular Snare, simple and effective.  Very similar to “Standard Breakbeat” with the addition of a Kick on 1/16th hits to give more momentum.

Drum Pattern 5 Rollling.mp3





Intelligent and modern, Snare delayed or increased 1/8th

Drum Pattern 6 Contemp Snare.mp3





Intelligent and modern, Kick delayed or increased 1/8th

Drum Pattern 7 Contemp Kick.mp3






Snare that is not constant and delayed or increased by over 1/8th

Drum Pattern 8 Unconven.mp3






“Off Beat” and complementary to a regular “On Beat” sequence.

Drum Pattern 9 Poly R.mp3


Important Considerations

  • The use of too many unconventional drum sequences with irregular Snares and Kicks will dissuade clubbers to dance. 
  • To sustain interest, try a variety of Drum Sequence styles in a song, either alternating every 16 bars or example, or changing style for the second half of the song.

See Appendix 8a for the full list of Breakbeat sequence patterns in the different styles. 


B) Hip Hop– Below 100 BMP

To create a groove for Hip Hop, reducing the speed of a Breakbeat tune will not necessarily sound good. A standard Breakbeat sequence that is reduced to 100 BMP sounds too empty.
Drum Pattern 10a Hip Empty.mp3


HIP HOP with Swing
Beat sequence that sounds better below 100 BPM. The sequence benefits from additional Kicks either 1/16th before or after the sequence of standard Kicks.
Drum Pattern 10b Hip Full.mp3

HIP HOP without Swing
Swing becomes more important with slower tempos.  Compare the Drum Sequence below without any Swing and notice how rigid it sounds.
Drum Pattern 10c Hip Noswng.mp3

It is essential to add a lot of Swing or else the straight 16 beats sound ridged.  All good Software equencers will provide a function to add degrees of Swing to a sequence.

Fig 1: Top top bottom,
Heavy Swing, Medium Swing, No Swing

[see Appendix 8b for the full list of Hip Hop sequence patterns]






C) Drum and Bass – Above 150 BMP

The majority of regular Breakbeat patterns can be increased in tempo for Drum and Bass which has a standard tempo of just above 170 BPM.  An important consideration to make are that sequences that contain too much swing start to loose their edge.  Also, too many 1/16th Kicks sound cluttered.

A standard Hip Hop sequence that is increased to 170 BMP sounds too messy.  The quick Kicks and swing are not pleasing to the ear.

Drum Pattern 11a DnB 2full.mp3


The sequence benefits from removal of all swing and too many Kicks

Drum Pattern 11b DnB fine.mp3


[see Appendix 8c for the full list of Drum and Bass sequences patterns]





D) Percussion Sequencing

When sequencing the hi hats, their relative position to the Kick and Snare is important.  A simple rule to create the Kick and Snare pattern first before adding hi hats which complement the rhythm.

 [see Appendix 9 for the full list of percussion sequence patterns]





E) Electronic Drum Rolls

One of the drum’s rolls most simple functions is to indicate the end of a drum sequence by introducing drastic rhythmic variations.  The drum roll enables the song to progress to the next section of the song comfortably.

[see Appendix 10 for the full list of Electronic Drum Roll patterns]