My sample naming system

Hello! I want to share with y'all a sample naming system that I've developed for my own custom needs.


I follow the same exact conventions as I did with tidal-drum-machines.
However, there's some additional "modifiers". Most of them I'll share later on.

But I want to point out that sometimes I have multiple sections of a particular drum element on my kits. So, apart from "sd", I might also have "sd2" for secondary snare drums. These are common in UK Garage for example, placed in syncopated times.

Additionally, some drumkits may have unique elements. For example, both my Reggaeton and RKT (Argentinian subgenre) drumkits have a timbal element for timbals. And another kit from a song I once made has an element called chime.

Drum Abbreviation
Bass drum, Kick drum bd
Snare drum sd
Rimshot rim
Clap cp
Closed hi-hat hh
Open hi-hat oh
Crash cr
Ride rd
Shakers (and maracas, cabasas, etc) sh
High tom ht
Medium tom mt
Low tom lt
Cowbell cb
Tambourine tb
Other percussions perc
Miscellaneous samples misc
Effects fx


I always think of bass separate from instruments since it's a fundamental element for the style of music I code (Footwork hybrids). So my bass samples don't follow the same conventions as instrument or synth samples. I simply have a collection of basses which are all named identifier + bs. So I have my trapbs, sawbs, iaibs. Some of them might have the same identifier as some drum kits, which is useful. For example: trapbs and grmbs are totally correlated to my Trap and Grime drumkits.


My instrument samples are quite varied, and not necessarily all of them are abbreviated. However there's something very particular with some of them: if I have various samples with different octaves, I put that on the sample name. So for acgtr (acoustic guitar), I actually have acgtrc3 and acgtrc4. This helps me be more aware about what's going to play out when I evaluate my code.

Now you might also notice how acoustic guitar was formed from ac + guitar. If I have these sort of differences I also put them in the sample name. el + gtr is electric guitar instead, for example.

Some other abbreviations I use:

Instrument Abbreviation
Guitar gtr
Piano pn
Rhodes rh
Strings str
Pizzicato Strings pz
Trumpet trump
Saxophone sax
Trombone trmbn
Organ org

... etcetera.


For loops, I always put the length of the loop (in bars, or cycles, however you want to call them) next to the loop's name. For example, my samples from the song called "Bien Loco" are called bienloco2 and bienloco8. It so happens that the former is an instrumental sample while the latter is vocals. And I'm ok remembering that! But if some samples may clash I point it out by having vocals be, for example bienloco8vox.

If I want to separate loops based on aesthetics rather than an instrumenral-vocal logic, I simply use numbers: dnb28 (dnb2... 8 bars). I put the modifier 2 before the bar length here cause it's not referring to the same section of a song. Yes, this means that sometimes I have dnb22 which is kinda ugly but I don't mind. I think it's obvious I won't have 22 bar samples too.

My drum loops follow the same logic. And they might use the same identifiers as some drumkits. However there are some drum loops of which I have 2 versions, one that has bassdrum and snaredrum, and one that has only the hi-hats and other percussions. This is common and useful for genres like UK Garage and House. So here again I add some modifiers after the identifier, as they refer to the same samples. For example, ukg4hh and ukg4nh (for hihats and no-hihats respectively).


I've been talking about modifiers for a bit. The idea is that all elements, be it identifiers or drum elements, might be modified with a suffix. Here are some of them:

Modifier meaning Abbreviation
Soft sf
Hard hd
Dark dk

For example. I have different UK Garage drum kits, such as ukg , ukgdk, ukgsf. There's also some loops with these names, ukgsf4. But also some drumkits that are very broad also have elements being modified, for example my House drumkits has bass drum, hard bass drums and soft bass drums: hsbd, hsbdhd, hsbdsf, etc.


It's also nice to try to have sample numbers be related across folders. For example, my ukg samples are actually 3 very thought out sample combinations, related to # n 0, 1 and 2. And some extra elements after 2. Same for my drum loops that have hihats and no hihats versions.

Closing note

This is the system I just mentioned to Julian on his post Bank (new tidal feature: what do you think?). As you see his proposal is very useful for coming up with own sampling naming systems.