Adding drums section to a song

I’ve decided one day to make a song. Have written down lyrics, made some other plans and so on. I’m going to record almost everything with my keyboard, however … I have not the slightest idea how I’m supposed to record the drums section. From obvious reasons I can’t do it on a keyboard with my bare hand, playing with a real drum kit is also out of option ( never had a drumstick in my hand for my whole life ) so the only option I see is using the specialized software for making drum loops, breaks, fillings etc. and that costs a lot of money. Is there any chance there’s a freeware doing the job good? Or perhaps there’s a tricky way to make a good sounding drum section with my keyboard? It’s Yamaha PSR-1500.

Cheers, Thomas

Assuming that you use Windows, have a look here:

You already got a “good sounding drum section” in your keyboard, so take advantage! The PSR-1500 has fantastic drum patterns.

The neat thing about Audacity is that you can record your song a section at a time and then, put it all together.Linear(straight through) recording was always a drag for me because if I made a mistake, I’d either had to “punch in” (yuck!) or start over from the beginning.

But if you record your song in more digestible sections like 4-8 bar chunks then there is no problem correcting mistakes.

Speaking strictly of drums, you don’t have to buy expensive software for drums-why not try some hardware like the Alesis SR-16? For $149 you get a bunch of killer features AND you can hook it up to your Yamaha via MIDI. Another nice thing about the SR-16 is that you can assign it to its own track so you can always keep the drums nice and “up there”. In a workstation such as the Yamaha, the drums tend to get a little lost unless they are assigned to auxilary outs.

One thing that I don’t know-Are you planning to record straight INTO Audacity or into a digital recorder/multi track machine?

For myself, I record into a seperate device , then I do the “USB Thing” into Audacity. This is good for a couple of reasons. One, the input/output meters in Audacity are a little arcane to read-Two, if Audacity has a problem and I have to start over, I can always repull the original file from my computer.

I’m sure I’m missing something but here’s an example of what I’m talking about

3 distinct sections, recorded seperately on my Zoom H1 then edited in Audacity. Only thing I did to it was pump up the overall volume by +6db.


I use Hydrogen drummachine (on Linux, but there’s a windows snapshot to download also but I’ve never tried it) that’s free software and very versatile.

Most likely it’s best to program the drummachine exactly as you want it (it’s possible to create very sofisticated map of different patterns as a complete song) with the drumkit you like and then export it as an audio file from Hydrogen. Then it’s just to import the drumtrack in Audacity and record the other tracks you wish to have along with it.

That said, I normally use Ardour for multi track recordings instead, I feel Audacity is better used for single track (mono or stereo) recordings and of course excellent post production on such recordings.

Another option, if you want to consider a bit of a different path, is to find a drummer that you like on YouTube and ask them to work with you. Lots of us drummers out there recording and putting out videos and I just got asked the other day by someone if I wanted to do the drums in an Internet collaboration. You’d be surprised how many people out there would chat with you about what you wanted and lay it down in an audio file for you to use.

That’s a very interesting proposal! I never thought of that to be honest. Maybe someday when I’ll have an interesting idea for a song, I’ll wander around the YT and look for someone :slight_smile: Cheers!

Looking for vocalists and instrumentalists to collaborate on recordings, via the magic and convenience of the internet.
I’m an enthusiast, not a professional musician . . . just for fun, not for profit.