General Purpose Drumkit

Thanks, that sounds great. I’ll be studying this, lots of interesting structures in there. And the overall result - nice. Good balance too. Esp like the thing you’ve got going on with the hi hat.

I hooked up the Roland box by connecting my laptop to a USB audio interface, then I have a midi cable going from the midi out port on my interface and into the Roland’s midi in.

Any sound interface should do the trick (sometimes they are called sound cards). If you already have a box to plug in a guitar or mic you might already have all you need. Most soundcards have midi ports on the back (except the popular focus right as far as I know).

Now to make drum sounds out of my particular Rolad box I had to set my channel on sonic pi to channel 10, if I send data from sonic pi to channel 1 for example it will make piano sounds.

Hi Holz,

Your mention of ‘random seed’ reminded me of some old
code… took a while to find it. If you find ‘seeds’ you like,
you could plan a whole drum sequence for a song,

use_bpm 120

seeds = (ring 234, 3453, 234, 3763, 1293, 3872, 1293, 33536, 234, 1293)

set :rnd, 1000

live_loop :drums do
  use_random_seed get :rnd
  puts get :rnd
  8.times do
    sample :bd_haus if one_in(3)
    sample :sn_dolf if one_in(5)
    sample :drum_cymbal_closed if one_in(2)
    sleep 0.5

live_loop :controller do
  sleep 31
  set :rnd, seeds.tick
  sleep 1


Hi eli,
that´s almost identical to my code and i kind of love that workflow with sonic pi its so intuitiv.
Oh except that i plan on using severel samples in one line of code like this

samps = (ring 0,1,2,3).look
play "Path" samps 

the rest would be the same, either with if one_in / if spread / bools

Thanks. Are you sending the clock pulses from SPi or just midi notes?

I’ve always preferred to name my samples… making
any changes in the samples folder can change the order
of the samples… not reliable.

# Oh yeah.... baby!

use_bpm 60
set_volume! 5
use_random_seed 999

live_loop :bar do
  sleep 1

live_loop :drums do
  sync :bar
  if rand(1) < 0.5 then
    this_sample = [:loop_compus, :loop_tabla, :loop_safari].look
    this_sample = [:loop_compus, :loop_tabla, :loop_safari].choose
  start = [ 0.0 , 0.125 , 0.25 , 0.375 , 0.5 , 0.625 , 0.75 , 0.875 ].ring
  sample this_sample , beat_stretch: 4, start: start.look, rate: 0.5

# Eli...

Only midi notes, I have heard of the whole MIDI clock thing, but I believe the MIDI protocol hndles the clock on it’s own. So just send midi notes with the function called (wait for it) … midi. You can feed it notes like :C4 but in the standard MIDI drum arrangement you start at midi note 35 (or :B0).

And again, remember to send the data through channel 10. here’s how you do that:

with_midi_defaults port: "find your port name on sonic pi prefences, I/O", channel: 10 do
  live_loop :kick do
    midi 35
    sleep 1

I found this useful table from Computer music resource dot com:

Key# Note Drum Sound Key# Note Drum Sound
35 B0 Acoustic Bass Drum 59 B2 Ride Cymbal 2
36 C1 Bass Drum 1 60 C3 Hi Bongo
37 C#1 Side Stick 61 C#3 Low Bongo
38 D1 Acoustic Snare 62 D3 Mute Hi Conga
39 Eb1 Hand Clap 63 Eb3 Open Hi Conga
40 E1 Electric Snare 64 E3 Low Conga
41 F1 Low Floor Tom 65 F3 High Timbale
42 F#1 Closed Hi Hat 66 F#3 Low Timbale
43 G1 High Floor Tom 67 G3 High Agogo
44 Ab1 Pedal Hi-Hat 68 Ab3 Low Agogo
45 A1 Low Tom 69 A3 Cabasa
46 Bb1 Open Hi-Hat 70 Bb3 Maracas
47 B1 Low-Mid Tom 71 B3 Short Whistle
48 C2 Hi Mid Tom 72 C4 Long Whistle
49 C#2 Crash Cymbal 1 73 C#4 Short Guiro
50 D2 High Tom 74 D4 Long Guiro
51 Eb2 Ride Cymbal 1 75 Eb4 Claves
52 E2 Chinese Cymbal 76 E4 Hi Wood Block
53 F2 Ride Bell 77 F4 Low Wood Block
54 F#2 Tambourine 78 F#4 Mute Cuica
55 G2 Splash Cymbal 79 G4 Open Cuica
56 Ab2 Cowbell 80 Ab4 Mute Triangle
57 A2 Crash Cymbal 2 81 A4 Open Triangle
58 Bb2 Vibraslap

One thing I tried out before I discovered my Roland JV 1010 also has drums and that you can try out if you don’t have hardware to get drum sounds you can just route your midi from sonic pi to your favorite music software (or digital audio workstation or DAW for short). I use ableton Live and I made a drum rack, that is essentially a sampler you can trigger with midi. I use LoopMIDI on windows to create a virtual MIDI connection between sonic pi and Live because windows lacks MIDI routing while macOS does have routing software and I believe Linux can use jack to accomplish this…but don’t quote me on that one xD

So yeah If you don’t have hardware you can just use a DAW to trigger samples from sonic pi. I prefer triggering samples from a DAW instead of triggering them right from sonic pi because I can apply fx and so some EQ on a GUI with a DAw, and i find it easier than in sonic pi.


Thank you so much for the detail! I may take the plunge with some hardware now.

I would recomed you also explore some software stuff alongside hardware because it can get expensive super quick. I recomed talking a look at pure data, it’s a visual programing environment for music and it can do synthesis. Meaning you can create your own synthesizers.

There is also Supercollider, sonic pi uses spuercollider already but you can use it to also create your own syths and add them directly to sonic pi. But pure date is way easier than SC You can sue all sorts of synthesis techniques to create your own drum samples and then use them in sonic pi.

You can get easy visual synths like Helm instead of creating your own and use sonic pi to trigger Helm to make all softs of sounds. Another cool software is VCV rack, it emulates real life hardware from modular synthesizers. I really dig how you can get away with making all your tracks completely with software, hardware is cool but it gets expensive.

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True. I got deeply into VCV Rack before Sonic Pi and currently I’m using them together for what will be a live act, but also now for recording. It’s a lovely marriage! I put a fair bit of effort working out how to use them together, which isn’t a given.

Musically I can do everything I want currently with these two (and a DAW for recording, mixing, mastering) - but just for emotional reasons I fancy incorporating some hardware - no logic to it :smiley: Something around not always using a computer, you know?

If Eurorack was a quarter of the price it is I might get into that but it’s way to expensve. I’m thinking a Korg Volca or Arturia Microfreak. The problem as I see it is how to use them in combo, which includes the sync question.

That said, thank you for the Pure Data tip - I’ll have a look at that.

PureData - yes looks fascinating and possibly a practical sound source. I got it running easily off SPi. Looks like a whole new learning curve. I’ll have to weigh up. I like the minimalist interface - one of the prices to pay with VCV Rack is that the (excellent) GUI does use a lot of resources. But on the other hand it’s the closest to having a real modular that us mortals will get.

Hmmm, either hours learning a new thing and it’s another thing-on-computer. Or spend some money, get a thing-not-on-computer and hours working out how to integrate it. For live work, twiddling some knobs is a nice thing.

I feel lucky to have these choices.

If u want to look into pure data i would suggest to use it with “Automatonism”, its basicly vcv rack in pure data, i am doing osc synthesis there, but how do i transmit pure data in real time to sonic pi?^^
i am just throwing in that question while i try to figure it out :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Aaaagh another thing :scream: Seriously, though thanks for the tip!

Re routing sound around - I’m not putting anything back through SPi. I’m running SPi and Rack side-by-side (or PureData for that matter) and putting the output through WASAPI so it’s all mixed by that, using the Windows mixer. Alternatively, running on two separate computers and the two outputs into a traditional mixer.

Whatever setup, I’ll be aiming to use SPI as the ‘conductor’ because of it’s solid timing model.

that´s how it looks like, i use it only for simple synthesis,
i guess ill use the windows mixer then :smiley:

Thanks, I defo recognise modular there. Two sides to this - exploring the tech and making music. I have to be careful not to lose site of the music while diving into the tech.

Someone’s put up a PD Moog subharmonicon patch, which I couldn’t actually get to work right off but that’s a side issue. If I could run that on another RPi, triggered from SPi that sounds like a nice thing. I mean, the real thing is 800 quid or something.

Maybe if I put the RPi in a cardboard box, with the moog controls printed on…put it at the back of the stage with the right lighting, what do you think???

i know what u mean, i just tried to repeat what i did on this patch in vcv but couldnt get the same result with the same settings, i would suggest rebuild this patch i postet and see if u like it, it doesnt have to be much more complicated for some cool sounds

A PD patch? Where is it, did I miss it, I certainly would like to try it, than you

I just had a quick go on Rpi, installed no probs but it doesn’t see my midi keyboard. And I’m not sure how I’d get SPi to trigger it - there isn’t the loopMidi available on RPi, maybe there is something else. So more work needed

…whereas this w/e I ‘built’ a three-voice Rack synth in a few mins, each one on a different midi channel, all voices played from OSC commands from SPi loops. Very nice.

Implementing that idea in PD on a RPi would be great

i posted a photo of the patch :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: what u see is pure data but running with automanotism, its very easy to install and it transforms pd to a modular :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Oh, you expect me to transcribe from your diagram ha ha :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I can try! You’re just trying to lure me into learning PD I can see it. Must resist.

True that we have such a privilegie to choose between amazing software and hardware options. Is just that I get the impression that many people who want to get into more experimental electronic music think they have to go with hardware synths and get an eurorack but I can’t help but stress that some of the most experimental and groundbreaking music like Autechre’s is made with software and you don’t need to be left out if you don’t have the money. That’s what I love about sonic pi!