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Groove Extraction

Wouldn’t it be great if you could extract quantise templates from other sources and use them in your own music?

Let's extract a quantise template using the Missy Elliot beat and then saving it to apply to our own music.

Most decent audio/sequencing packages like Cubase will offer you an ‘Extract Groove or Create Groove Quantise from Hitpoints’. Hitpoints are the same as markers. You apply these hitpoints to the peaks in the audio file and then use ‘Create Groove Quantise from Hitpoints’ in the audio menu. Of course, the software you are using will have different terminology or tools, but they all do the same thing.
You can then use this quantise groove template exactly as you would any other groove template within the quantise menu option.

This tool is extremely effective when dealing with drum loops as drum loops have distinct peak points (where the kick, snare, hi hats etc peak), so it makes it easier to extract grooves and create templates. Additionally, you can import groove templates from other sources and use them as exactly the same as using a pre defined template. There are many companies that now offer groove templates of your favourite quantise templates. MPC drum quantise templates spring to mind.

Here is an example of how to extract and create a groove template from a piece of audio.
The principles are the same for most software so try to transcribe the tools and terminology across to your software. I am using a very famous piece of audio; a drum loop from Missy E.

The image below is the opened audio editor menu. The sample is Missy E’s drum beat and you can see it clearly (marked in yellow).

Selecting hitpoints for groove extraction


I have selected the hitpoint function, set the slice markers to 16 (you can select what you like) and have used ‘Calculate Hitpoints’ from the audio-hitpoint submenu. I have named this drum loop ‘Missy-05 102bpm’, and that is what will show up in my quantise setup menu. Giving as much information as possible will help you in determining what the quantise characteristics are. Tempo is most crucial here.
And if you now open the quantise setup menu, the groove has been extracted and stored in the preset section (below).

Extracted Groove quantise

All the timing information is also shown in the quantise setup menu. Extracting groves, particularly for drum patterns, is a great function and will help you in not only getting your drum patterns to flow nicely, but in understanding how certain edits are made. And, it doesn’t end there either. You can also select a midi part and extract a template from that (image below).

Extracting groove from midi part

By selecting the part you want to extract the groove from, you simply highlight the part, go to Midi menu and select Advanced Quantise and click on Part to Groove. Much as the audio groove extraction, the extracted groove will appear in the quantise setup menu under presets.

Remember that the biggest problem when importing third party midi files of famous songs is that once imported the song defaults to the standard quantise setting within your software. By using the midi groove extraction, you are in effect extracting the midi note information as hitpoints and creating a template from that information.