Rant: The Line Between Tools and Talent

I read a post on one of the discussion boards from someone having some issues using Logic Pro X’s Drummer track. In short the user is having trouble getting the Drummer track to automatically follow a song by adding a rest note.

This is where the frustration lies, as the Drummer Track is just not following the midi track accurately enough. The drum machine track utilises regular rest notes – accentuated beforehand with a kick/cymbal ‘stab’ – in both the verses and choruses, but try as I might I cannot get the drummer to recognise these rest notes or perform fills around them.

Hello… it’s a computer program. It’s not a mind reader. It’s not doing what you think is right. It is doing what it is programmed to do: play a drum rhythm. It isn’t your song unless you want it to be. If you don’t like the part it is playing, you either change the rhythm or you get your hands dirty and write the part yourself. Simple as that. Don’t blame the program.

Yes – I can manually go in and adjust the drum track by converting it to midi and creating the rests, but then I’ve got to deal with a preceding fill that doesn’t fit the rest note, meaning a lot of fiddling about and risk the flow of the Drummer Track that I wanted in the first place. I’ve also got a few more other songs to import from the drum machine that I know I’ll have the same bother with.

There’s only one answer I will give you: big deal!

Somewhere along the line, people have gotten lazy. They get a tool and as soon as they all of a sudden expect it to do everything. As soon as they have to do some work with it, all of a sudden, the tool has a problem. Herein lies the dividing live between tools and talent. Who ever said that just because you have a tool, you no longer have to do the work with it? It doesn’t matter if you have a sequencer, drum machine or even a robotic guitar tuner, it’s not a replacement for your talent and abilities. They are meant to help you make music. Not make music for you. If you need to go in and add your own rest notes to make a song your own, then get off your butt and add those rest notes. I have a song that I am working on right now that uses Logic Pro X’s Drummer track and there’s a part where I am breaking the song into a set of triplets and then a pause. Do you think that I expect the Drummer track to actually know what I am intending with the emotion of that part? Honestly, I would be scared if it did know what I wanted. But, alas, it doesn’t. I have to go in and add the triplets and the rest and voila, the song is mine. Yeah, I used Drummer, but it was a tool in the end. It helped me write the song. It wasn’t the song.

Whether I have talent or not is subjective. However, I would have had a guaranteed no if I were to rely solely on any tool to do my thinking for me.

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