Body Percussion

Chest pounds, finger snaps, claps and a shaker made by rubbing the hands together

The story

A while ago, I was commissioned to write a tune for a cooking YouTube channel aimed at children. The first iteration of the tune was not approved, however I decided to keep it and add some live instrumentation to it, amongst which I had the idea of recording myself using some of my body parts to produce some sounds for the underlying beat.
I recorded myself clapping my hands (6 takes), snapping my fingers (4 takes), hitting my chest with both fists (4 takes), and finally rubbing my hand together to make a shaker (4 takes). All of the different takes were layered on top of each other to make the hits sound more “musical”. Despite my chest hurting quite a bit, and having some shortness of breath, too, I was very satisfied of the result and how it sounded in the aforementioned tune, that I decided to make a sample pack out of those hits.
I processed the various hits with a bit of EQ, the pounds were compressed a bit, as well, to give them a little bit of punch.
I hope these percussion will make the children within yourself come out and play along with you!

Reviews for Body Percussion

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  • Just when I thought I had heard it all...

    Percussion is interesting, but when it involves your body then most people struggle to get beyond clapping, finger snapping/clicking, and mouth pops. If pressed for an answer then you might get ways of making embarrassing noises using your underarm, maybe tongue clicks, chancers suggesting whistling, and then it seems to get difficult.

    Classic 70s and 80s drum machines had the ubiquitous 'Clap' sound. I can't recall ever having a drum machine with a finger snap sound, and definitely never mouth pops and tongue clicks. So you can see that I have obviously led a sheltered life when I reveal that I had never even thought about 'chest pounds' or 'chest slaps'. And that's what I like about reviewing sample packs on Pianobook.co.uk, there's always something that you haven't thought about - although, with almost 30 Kalimbas already available...

    Body Percussion does exactly what the name suggests: so not only claps and finger snaps, but the sound of people slapping their chest (apparently called a chest pound!), but a shaker made by rubbing your hands together. (Now, I would never have thought of that!)

    It is very significant that the drum machines of 40 years ago had fixed sounds, either as resonant circuits, or later, as permanent ROM data. So the sounds were the sounds. End of subject. Even when later drum machines allowed you to replace the sounds, or even 'record your own!' (you should gasp at this point!) then I was astonished at just how many variations there were of sounds for kick drums, hi-hat, and snares. Lots of snares. More than Kalimbas! And let's not forget a few very cliched clap sounds too!

    Nowadays there are lots of sample-based drum machines and sample players that can be used for live performance or studio use. For many of them, the management of percussion samples is their weak spot, and I much prefer the flexibility of a DAW when in the studio. But even now, I have no problem finding more snares than I could ever use, and apart from claps, I don't think I have a finger snap or a chest pound/slap readily available.

    But now I do! Four variations, arranged soft to loud across the keyboard from left to right, and four round robins for everything except the shaker (hands rubbing!) which uses velocity control. I have to say that I love the hand shaker - it sounds just like...a shaker! Best of all, the claps sound like real recordings of real hands clapping, which makes them different to just about every other clap sound that I have available!

    In summary, then, nicely recorded samples of real body percussion that hasn't started out as resonant circuits, or 8 or 12-bit samples that have been re-sampled over and over again, and a shaker that I reallly like. And because I mis-use everything, it seems to me that the chest pound sound could probably pass for a heartbeat sound... Thump thump...thump thump...

    synthesizerwriter29 July 2022