This artifact represents a solution to a problem. Through the learning process for the World Music Drumming curriculum, I became interested in finding a way to digitally sequence recordings of drum ensembles. There is software available for this, which utilizes samples of drum sounds to support the sequencing process. While there are many sets of drum samples available, most are geared toward techno or electronica-style music, rather than world drumming. The central problem is this: there is a dearth of world music drumming sample sets available. My solution to this problem was to create my own sample set.
In order to create an exhaustive set of high-quality samples to use with sequencing software, I used a digital recorder to capture the sounds of each instrument and stroke. During this process, I discovered that each instrument, especially the various drums, can create many different sounds. I ended up with sixty-three individual sounds from fifteen different instruments. Part of the challenge was organizing these sounds into usable instrument groups. The list of samples shows how I organized and labeled the sounds within the sample set.
After recording the raw sounds, I used a sound editing program to master each sample and isolate a single instance of the sound. The full set of sounds was then modified to different formats (mp3, Ogg Vorbis, and WAV) in order to be compatible with many different sequencing programs. Eventually, the sample set will be made available for use by other educators through publication on the World Music Drumming website I created.
Makanakatuku is a drum ensemble that was created by one of my 6th grade student groups. The recording included here demonstrates how the samples can be used to move from concept to reality. The students can hear exactly how the ensemble sounds as performed by the sequencer. Granted, it still has a mechanical quality, but the sequencing process allows the user to create an auditory example of the ensemble.