In pop music drum fills are often played on specific cyclic spots e.g. every 4 or 8 bars and are often improvised. The following exercise will assist in keeping time during the fill. The first example uses simple in time fills with no rests. The learning objectives in this case can be loosely defined e.g. use an easy, well mastered exercise to play along and keep time.
Note that the 3 bar groove consists of 3 different drum groove alternatives and the 5 fills are played randomly every 4 bars. The groove is inspired from “Kissing my Love"1 by Bill Withers.
Exercise 2 is more challenging by leaving 2 beats of rests in bar 4.
Exercise 3 reverses the concept of ex. 2 and starts random breaks with 2 beats of rests.
Exercise 4 stops right before beat 4 of bar 3 and leaves a full bar of rests. This exercise can now be extended to 2 or even 3 bars of rests.
The next iteration would be very difficult recreate in some DAWs, even Ableton (especially if non metered audio files were used). It leverages the adaptive audio features by creating a mix of all preceding exercises. Now for every cycle of four bars the following happens at random:
On the technical side the same short drum loops are used in all the preceding examples and then recombined which multiplies the number of possibilities from simple base material. Please refer to the chapter from the main thesis for further technical details and the problems with cutting perfect loops and testing all possibilities.
Bill Withers - Still Bill (1972) - Sussex ↩︎