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April 3, 2008 1:44 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of software that will "listen" to my drum playing via midi and show me where I screwed up?

I have an electric drum kit that I primarily bought to practice playing on. Playing along with cds is fun, but while I'm playing, I have trouble telling if my tempo was off or if I missed a note, etc. Since my kit has midi-out, I'd like to find software that could analyze my playing or just offer drum exercises and tell me if I played right or not.

Any ideas? Googling only finds me software that's controlled by midi, not something that analyses it. Oh, and I am exploring hacking Rock Band to play along with...
posted by jsmith77 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Ableton Live records MIDI. You could hook up your drums, hit record, and start playing. It won't analyze your playing, but just looking at the recorded stuff will tell you easily where you're off. It can show markers for every beat or whichever subdivision of a beat you want.

The same applies for any software that records MIDI. I believe - but am not sure - that Reason and Logic also record MIDI.
posted by ignignokt at 2:05 AM on April 3, 2008

Any audio/midi sequencer would allow you to play a track of audio and record the midi of your drums alongside... then you could compare the beat on the audio waveform (presuming it's a fairly thumpy sort of track) to the midi notes. What OS are you on?
posted by pompomtom at 2:21 AM on April 3, 2008

I just record mine into the computer with the line out jack--it's a lot easier to set up and works just as well. Then I can play it back and listen to see how I did.

What brand is your drum kit?
posted by DMan at 7:17 AM on April 3, 2008

Response by poster: FYI, I'm on XP, and I have a Roland TD3. There is a phrase trainer with the drum brain, but I'm looking for something more interactive (and maybe more visual).

I have software to record midi, but I'm not of the stage where I can really translate a drum part to pianoroll or any other notation--as I have trouble going backwards, i.e., using a step editor to program a drum track.

What I'm looking for is software I can plug my drums into, that will offer exercises--"here's a 4/4 beat with a paradiddle in the middle", and then when I play along, either give me instant feedback like guitar hero/rockband, or just analyse it later. Kinda like a reverse metronome, but more advanced in that phrases, not just tempo, are analysed.

I don't trust my personal assessment of myself just yet, so I'd like something else to let me know where I'm slipping. I guess I could write something that will play midi tracks for me, let me play them myself and record them, then compare the two, but I was hoping someone had already done the work for me already.
posted by jsmith77 at 10:09 AM on April 3, 2008

smartmusic? I can't really tell if it can check you actually playing the drum---it seems to have a "percussion" feature but it might be just a recorded bass line for users with other instruments to play along to. Looks like it's free to try, anyway.
posted by slenderloris at 4:56 PM on April 3, 2008

I do something sort of similar in GarageBand, but any MIDI sequencer worth its salt would be able to do something similar:

Set up a new song with a given tempo, and have the system play a metronome into your headphones. Record MIDI of yourself playing, then go back and look at it afterwards. Since it's MIDI, your recorded notes will probably be coerced into 64th notes or so... places where it's "off" the quarter notes you were trying to play will show up in the 'grid' of recorded MIDI.
posted by cebailey at 9:31 AM on April 4, 2008

Best answer: There's also a game out there called DTXMania that you can download and use your drumset as a MIDI controller's like Guitar Hero, but with drums, and on your computer.

Might work, or at least be fun.

I really think your best bet is to record your playing over a metronome click and just go by that.
posted by DMan at 12:47 PM on April 7, 2008

Be aware, though, that some of the world's greatest drummers don't play "on the beat"! The slight timing anomalies in their playing is what gives them their feel and swing. E.g. Charlie Watts's snare drum is usually waaaay behind the beat.

Of course, learning to play perfectly in time can never be a bad thing, as long as you realise it's not the only thing.
posted by TiredStarling at 12:02 PM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all for your advice. DTXMania sounds pretty close to what I wanted to do with connecting my kit to rock band--I will definitely try that.

Sounds like recording Midi and comparing it is another way to see slippage. I'll try that as well and perhaps try to write something to autocompare for me.
posted by jsmith77 at 7:46 AM on April 16, 2008

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