You can learn a lot from a drummer. The best grooves of all time are meticulously constructed – and understanding them means understanding a lot about rhythm and form. So these are objects worth study. What your Web browser can do is make that study easier – even if you’ve never touched a drum kit.

That comes at the right time, too. Thanks to the power of the computer and electronic music hardware, we’ve all of us become composers or expanded our compositional horizons. We may not imagine that we’re composing drum parts when we mess about with drum machines or edit patterns, but of course that’s precisely what we’re doing.

And even apart from that, music study is fun.

Funklet proves just how much fun that can be with an interactive tool at hand, in the new Web audio-powered browser tool. You can both hear and visualize drum parts from your favorite tunes (like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”). Apart from that, you can even try modifying those patterns, editing individual steps. (There are other features, too, like adjustable reverb). And the Funklet curators have not only chosen some nice examples, but also included commentary, anecdotes, videos, and the like.

If you want to create your own pattern from scratch, too, this is also an in-browser drum machine:
http://machine.funklet.com/funklet.html

It’s a clever creation, the product of Jack Stratton and
Rob Stenson – the latter not only a coder but also apparently able to play the fretless clawhammer banjo. (If you prefer making music outside the browser, see also their compression plug-in for the Mac).

Check it out here:
http://funklet.com/

An alternative drum machine is available, too (same content, different sounds):
http://maestro.funklet.com/

Good times. Found other tools for learning more about rhythm? (Hey, paper books welcome, too!) Let us know in comments.

  • brianmoore

    Oh wow that is really a cool thing you’ve got going on there 😛 Monday morning at work has never been so funky!

  • This is great. Death on quantisation. Let it breathe!

  • Huxlay

    love it, such a cool way too train your rhythm patterns

  • Elekb

    This is really cool, and not just for percussionists. Musicians who play other instruments usually have a hard time coming up with interesting patterns when programming MIDI drum sequences or writing down drum parts for compositions. Every non-drummer or non-percussionist should check this out.

    Also, I find it really refreshing that they are including contemporary music as well (a 2012 track by Questlove, for instance). Despite the deluge of mindless, quantised loop-based EDM / pop / hiphop crap that is thrust upon us every day, we still have musicians making great new beats.

    Also, jazz/blues/funk groove is essential and I can see it’s the site’s focus, but I hope they can expand their library eventually add some rock and heavy metal patterns as well (according to the quote on the website, Jeff Beck, a rock guitarist, came up with the basis for Stevie Wonder’s Superstition groove totally by accident while messing around with drums – these things usually come from unexpected places).
    And needless to say, the African and Indian folk musical traditions are an endless source of amazing and complex rhythms.
    It would also be great if they could translate some rhythm-based electronic music from Squarepusher, for instance (that would be total madness for a live drummer to play).

    • disqus_nURY1n6kAG

      shut up, or alternatively if you want 15 year old IDM then rap is precisely what you should be listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7g5JADcrSo

      • Elekb

        Funniest trolling I’ve ever had on this board. But let’s keep the discussion within the realms of music, shall we? 😉
        Also what the hell is “IDM” supposed to be?

  • GLLRN

    Vulf

  • sublunar

    This is cool, but after you go through a few of them, the crappy sound files used for the drums really wears on you, making the drums sound stale after only a few listens..