Are you a fan of The Witcher's mesmerizing soundtrack? Have you ever wondered how to create percussion tracks that capture the dark, folk-inspired essence of the show?

ook no further! In this comprehensive guide, I'll dive into the world of Witcher-style percussion tracks, breaking down the process step by step. (or you can watch the video tutorial 🤘🏼)

Introduction to Witcher-Inspired Percussion

The Witcher is celebrated not only for its gripping storytelling but also for its captivating soundtrack.

To embark on crafting your own Witcher-style percussion track, it's essential to recognize the power of simplicity.

While many may associate "simple" with "easy" and "ineffective," it's quite the contrary.

Simplicity, in this context, implies a clear and focused approach, allowing you to capture the essence of the Witcher's world through percussion.

Choosing the Right Instruments

Selecting the appropriate instruments is pivotal in creating an authentic Witcher-style percussion track.

While modern drum machines might excel in some genres, they won't evoke the mystical, folk-inspired atmosphere of 'The Witcher'.

Instead, opt for instruments like taiko drums, which provide a deep, resonant sound that aligns with the show's theme and setting.

what instruments to use for a witcher style percussion track
Choosing your instruments before you start a project can be a great idea to inspire more creative production because you are limited in your sound palette.

This choice of instruments lays the foundation for your composition's authenticity.

Understanding the Rhythmic Pattern

At the heart of your Witcher-inspired percussion track lies a rhythmic pattern resembling the words "hamburger" and "caterpillar."

what rhythms to use in a witcher style percussion track
Keep your rhythms simple, almost tribal

Understanding this pattern is fundamental as it serves as the backbone of your composition. Breaking it down:

  • "Hamburger" symbolizes an eighth note followed by two sixteenth notes.
  • "Caterpillar" represents four sixteenth notes in a row.

This rhythmic pattern, and other similarly simple rhythms like it, is the secret sauce that infuses the Witcher's unique flavour into your music.

RP Witcher Style Percussion with ONE Rhythm Tambour

Creating Dynamics and Emphasis

While the rhythmic pattern forms the core of your composition, dynamics and emphasis are the brushstrokes that add depth and character.

Witcher style percussion can be made more interesting by varying note velocity
Use velocity to make your rhythm sound more real and interesting

Through careful manipulation of velocity and volume automation, you can breathe life into your percussion, making it more captivating.

What this does for your listener is make the rhythm more interesting and also make it sound more "human"; which makes it sound like it is actually being played live.

Orchestrating for Impact

Effective orchestration is pivotal in achieving the desired impact of your Witcher-style percussion track.

By distributing rhythmic parts across various instruments, you can create distinct nuances and evoke different emotions.

Smaller drums, for example, can handle intricate and faster lines, while larger ones carry more significant importance due to their commanding presence.

Orchestrating intelligently ensures that each instrument contributes uniquely to the overall composition.

Using layering to write a witcher style percussion track
Layering can make your simple rhythm sound so much more interesting
RP Witcher Style Percussion with ONE Rhythm Layers

Crafting Variation for Intrigue

To avoid the monotony of a two-bar loop, introduce subtle variations into your rhythmic pattern.

These changes serve multiple purposes: they maintain listener engagement, add complexity to your composition, and mimic the organic evolution of music.

A well-placed variation can surprise and delight your audience, keeping them hooked from start to finish.

This can be done in a few ways:

  1. Add a layer (another instrument) that has a slightly different rhythm
  2. Repeat the rhythm a second time but make it slightly different
  3. When you repeat the rhythm, add a new instrument to introduce a new timbre/texture
rhythm variation for a witcher style percussion track
In the different iterations of your rhythms, vary them slightly to make them feel new and fresh

See if you can hear the variations:

RP Witcher Style Percussion with ONE Rhythm Layers

Adding Grace Notes for Flair

Injecting flair into your percussion can set your composition apart. One way to achieve this is by including grace notes – tiny notes that precede the primary beats.

These subtle embellishments provide character and sophistication to your percussion, elevating it from a mere rhythm to a captivating musical experience.

Building Momentum

Crafting a compelling narrative with your percussion track involves building momentum.

Gradually altering the rhythmic intensity over time keeps the listener engaged and heightens the dramatic impact.

Like the rising action in a story, your percussion should lead to climactic moments, creating a sense of progression and anticipation.

Crafting the Final Composition

Now that you've built the foundation of your Witcher-style percussion track, you can expand upon it to create a full composition.

Add more instruments, layers, and elements to bring your vision to life. Experiment with orchestration, harmonies, and melodies to craft a holistic musical experience that transports your audience to the mystical world of The Witcher.

In the example, I have used a Hardanger fiddle to give it that medieval-folky feel. It can be developed further but this idea has laid the foundations for a nice Witcher-style percussion track.

RP Witcher Style Percussion with ONE Rhythm


In conclusion, crafting percussion tracks that evoke The Witcher's enchanting score is an art form that marries simplicity with orchestration finesse.

By understanding rhythmic patterns, selecting the right instruments, and carefully balancing dynamics, you can transport your audience to the dark, folk-inspired world of 'The Witcher'.

Embrace your creativity, experiment, and immerse yourself in the realm of Witcher-style percussion. Your compositions will enchant and captivate listeners, just as the original soundtrack does.