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Rihanna Clap

Let's have an insight into the production of the clap loop which was used by a multi-platinum producer Pollow Da Don in Rihanna's song "Fading" made by ThaLoops sound designer. This loop can be heard throughout the song as an answering rhythmic pattern to a main drum beat. Listen the song at 1:34, that's where you can hear it isolated.

Clap rhythm pattern 1.

At the beginning the main rhythmic 16th note pattern has been placed to grid using solo claps. These are single clap hits which are going to maintain the main rhythm.


Clap rhythm pattern 2.

The next layer are small layered claps. The multiple claps sample flam is short enough to match the loop tempo, we need to avoid a mess. The placement of these claps had to make a syncopated feel with the right accents to the whole main rhythmic solo claps pattern.


Clap rhythm pattern 3.

Let's listen to what we have at the moment. Solo claps group and small layered claps group together:


Clap rhythm pattern 4.

To get rid of the pause at the end we put a clap in mono, which is constructed out of 5 clap hits and makes it flam longer. It appears right after the 4th quater hit as it would connect to the very last anacrusis clap appearing at the very end of the loop.


Clap rhythm pattern 5.

And now is the most important aspect of the clap loop. We want to add live feel to it. In such cases a very useful technique is to record a new layer of a live performance. This last layer is a live recording repeating the same main 16th rhythmic pattern. Basically clap with your own hands over the preprogrammed sampled loop, that definitely adds the organic vibe to the whole thing. Listen here to the loop with an additional live clap layer added:


The recording is made in mono so we have added a HAAS effect to it to widen it up. "SuperTap 2-Taps Stereo plugin from Waves" is a great tool. This way we trick our ears and make mono sound like stereo. Take a look at the screenshot for the settings that have been used. The yellow tap (1st signal) is set to -45 in pan and the red tap (2nd signal) is set to 45 in pan. The Tempo section is set to "64ms" which means that the red tap (2nd signal) will be 64 milliseconds late.


The key aspect to make cool sounds is to have high quality recordings, plugins and creativity.