When should you use a Clap or Snare?
There isn’t a winner when it comes to claps vs snares. This is a common debate when you start producing music.
The only way to determine who wins depends on your preference. Music is hard to predict in that way because music doesn’t come with rules.
In music, there seems to be multiple exceptions to one rule. But, that’s the best part about music. You can take it wherever you want. There are no strict guidelines.
Differences Between Snare and Clap
A snare is sudden and sticks out a lot in songs. Producers describe it as having more punch and crispness. It's hard to miss when a snare hits because it pierces through the track.
Claps on the other hand give more room to the other elements on the track. Essentially, they’re more subtle than a snare.
Another difference between the two is in the type of music they’re used in. Snares are used more when the beat sounds grungy. If the atmosphere sounds dark, a snare can be a nice addition.
A clap is used more for upbeat party records. Claps are used in a lot of pop songs and are associated with happiness which is why it’s used in those types of songs.
One difference that doesn’t get noticed is the frequency each one is used on a track. A lot of tracks use a snare to dictate a “bounce” in a track while a clap is used more sporadically.
Producers say snares land more on the “2’s” and “4’s” which are terms for the grid/tempo. Although claps can be used to set a bounce too, you’ll often find snares setting the pace.
If your snare or clap were combined with drums, then it could boost the sound of your drums. Stacking sounds together creates a new sound and is one trick producers use to make a track stand out.
Some producers even use snares and claps to turn the metronome off. For those who don’t know, metronomes help with timing when you’re recording. If you’re annoyed by the metronome, snares and claps can be used as replacements.
Both snares and claps have their own distinct features. But, what happens when you combine them?
Layering Claps and Snares
Layering both doesn’t mean only placing them right on top one another. The truth is, you can place a clap less than a second behind, or a little ahead and you can still make something stand out. The same can be said for snares.
Most of the time you hear the snare and clap together you’ll think it’s one sound. But, if you’re consciously listening, then you’ll notice the delay if it's produced that way.
Layering doesn't make us decide whether to go with a clap or snare. We can combine both and make something different.
We don’t have a winner.
The only winner here is the one you pick at the moment. There is no arbitrary rule to deciding when to use each one. You can use whatever you feel like which is the basis for music. If you feel like a clap will do, then use a clap.
All you need to know in this clap vs. snare battle is they are tools to help set the tempo. What you do in between that is up to you.