What I’ve Done – Linkin Park


"What I've Done" was the first single from Linkin Park's 2007 album, Minutes to Midnight. It also featured as the main theme for the original Transformers movie, released several months later.

The above pattern is heard in the verse sections of the song. The hi-hat states the quarter-note pulse, ‘barking’ on the first beat of the two-measure groove. The bass and snare drum pattern is the same as the second measure of a bossa nova rhythm — the snare sounds on beat 2 and the ‘and’ of beat 3, while the bass drum is played in a consistent heart beat rhythm.

What makes this drum track particularly interesting is the use of sampling/looping to create a multi-layered drum part. Sampling is the recording a sound; looping is the continuous replaying of the sample. Guitarists commonly use loop pedals to create the sound of multiple players, however it is much less common to hear drummers use the technique.

When the drums first appear in the song, drummer Rob Bourdon, plays a simple eighth note pattern alternating between the hi-hat and a cymbal stand (see below).

The pattern was sampled and looped alongside the following pattern (Loop B), which was also sampled and looped. The looped drum parts sound distorted and appear lower in the mix.

As it is not possible to play all of the layered patterns simultaneously, for the sheet music we notated the patterns when they first appear and marked them as Loop A, B, and C. Otherwise, the notation represents the primary drum part. Don’t worry, it is simpler than it sounds!

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