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Can ghost notes be used as a kind of muting effect to a previously played note ex: a med snare, down to a really low snare for to cancel some of the previous ringing? Is this an effective method, or is there a better way to get more precisely defined note values?

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If you use a drum program like Superior, BFD, and others, you can adjust the ADSR = Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release, and shorten/lengthen any one of those parameters, also change pitch, plus other effects. Some drum VST, AU's will just play the sample straight.   Ghost notes, are softer, have a different sound and sometimes play a bit of a rhythm..  Ghost notes in virtual instruments, play in addition to the straight snare.  In drum libraries, the ghost notes are different samples.. 

If you are using some kind of Kontakt program, the ghosts will be a different MIDI note to hit. On some synths and virtual instruments, you can put the instrument into MONO mode which will only let one note  play at a time.  Hitting a ghost note, will shut off the first note, which you may or may not like. 

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For the midi/programming side I understand it, but moreso for the actual drumkit is where I don't. If they wanted a specific note value like a quarter note vs a sixteenth, the only thing I can think of is based off of the distance of the swing and where on the drum they hit from. Central for stronger hits and outside for less sustained, but if they wanted to kind of mute a snare/tom after it was played so they could create dynamics for notes in succession?

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When you play a real snare drum, there is a very wide spectrum of it's sounds.  First you can tighten the snares underneath the drum..  this greatly affects the sound.  Then velocity, strength, and where you hit the drum, actually creates a vast amount of difference. Some drummers will leave a cloth or their wallet on the snare, for a certain sound, to shorten it's decay rate. In a virtual drum kit.  This extremely large variation is drastically reduced.  The snares themselves (the metal wires underneath)  really don't have much decay change, only the volume of them.

The newer, more expensive virtual instrument drum kits use a number of 'round robin' samples to accomplish this, and give the sound the 'human element'.  Since drum synths, and sample libraries, we have become much more accustomed to not a wide range of snare drum sounds. But the human ear is quite adept at discerning when the same sample is repeated over and over.  What you come away is,  depending on the realism you are going for, depends on the virtual drum kit you use.  

Yes, you can program snare sounds, and create some interesting results.  You can google snare drums, and find info which might inspire you, or aim you in a direct to create what you are looking to do 

https://newpercussionist.com/how-to-tune-a-snare-drum-hitting-the-right-beat/

 

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The cloth part makes sense, I've seen some people put tape on them, amongst other things. The thing I want to aim for is quicker decay timing on certain notes, especially when trying to create dynamically timed, velocity sensitive 16th/32nd notes. The last thing I want is for it to sound too monotonous/robotic, but still retaining its rhythm is a priority. For the percussion the round robin is logical.

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I'm more clear on what you are looking for.  what are you using to make your drum sounds? virtual instrument, sample player, DAW? 

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I'm using a DAW, fl studio. The VST's are EastWest Symphonic Orchestra, Stormdrum 2 & 3. 

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Maybe I can help. I use both of the EW libraries you speak of. But I need  a precise definition of your terms like ghost notes and med snare and low snare in order to help you. I am also a percussionist.

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It's not the midi step sequencer I was really questioning, more of the actual ways to play 16/32 notes in succession on a real set of toms or snares. I was looking into the ways of muting a previously played note for faster decay, I come from a guitar background in there I could palm mute. Mark suggested of using cloth, aside from ghost notes(low swings on the outside/actual drum swing not the step sequencer midi) for quicker decay. Is there any special techniques I could use so the notes won't ring out too much, when play one right after another? I'm writing using those libraries, but I don't want to create something too unrealistic to play with unreal decay time especially when using 32 notes. 

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Sounds like Ken320 can help.. I am not familiar with East-west products.  Generally if the drum is one sample, you're at the mercy of it.  In kontakt you can go into edit and sometimes change the envelop of the sample. Play carefully with the decay and sustain, release.   Attack obviously should be set to 0 or very close.  If Stormdrum has layered samples, and you can edit these.

Also remember you can layer two drums together to get a desired effect. If again you can play with the ADSR;s you might get what you're looking for.  You might be able to write in CC events in your Daw to control Filter, resonance, brightness.    Google 'CC events'  These are commands that can control an instrument if it is set up to respond.  You can assign a knob, slider, and just move it as song plays to open the filter on one layer.  

As one 'get's into the details', he/she can do quite a bit with drawing in and writing CC parameters, duration, velocity.  

You might be able to get away with writing velocities, durations (not all VI's will respond to duration with drums, it's just generally a trigger on, to start the sample, VCO. Etc.  That varies from virtual instrument. 

Where StormDrum is dedicated to drums, there might be a lot more variation in what you can do.  

Check any forums that East-west, Stormdrum might be on (KVR).  Maybe even call them, if they have tech support.  Some companies have none, some are very helpful in assisting someone trying to gain all the perspective on their instruments 

Good luck

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Actually, now that I think about it, Mark's covered everything and a few I hadn't thought of! Stormdrum has an ADSR, so I might shorten the release, along with EQ to remove annoying resonances, and a low velocity. At a lower tempo I've had good luck with using CC11 surgically to rein in the tails of the timpani, for example, to simulate my hand on the drum.

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Stormdrum2 has several drum sets, each with a full set of cymbals. Ministry of Rock has many sets but also has individual cymbals of various types.

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