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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby analogika » 15 Apr 2018, 14:00

Yes. And both of those things (playing a feel against a beat — pushing or pulling, etc. — as well as having a feel for steady tempo) can be trained by playing with a metronome (or a programmed beat or loop, I guess).
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Re: Improving precision against the beat


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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby sweelinck » 16 Apr 2018, 03:33

analogika wrote:Yes. And both of those things (playing a feel against a beat — pushing or pulling, etc. — as well as having a feel for steady tempo) can be trained by playing with a metronome (or a programmed beat or loop, I guess).

A metronome may help develop an inner sense of rhythm, but once that is established, the metronome must be relegated to the trash heap if you want to play expressively.
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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby sweelinck » 16 Apr 2018, 06:24

analogika wrote:With all due respect: that’s horseshit.

Playing expressively, grooving “in the pocket”, is all about control and precision.

Learning that is a lifeless and boring task, but so is sitting down and learning the melody for “Freedom Jazz Dance”.
It’s just gotta happen, because in order to play it “with feeling”, you’ve got to be able to play it at all.

Not all music should be played with subtle liberties with the tempo. For a lot of music a precise rhythm is called for, but there still should be things like ritards at the end of a song or section of a song so the listener doesn’t feel an abrupt ending. This is hard to do at best when practicing with a metronome.

Liberties taken with tempo to add expressivity are very subtle and do not break the rhythm, but shape melodies with emotional expression, or define sections of pieces. The more musicians that are playing together the harder it is to achieve, and maybe just ritards at the ends of sections and use of rubato and stretto in solos. A note being off by .05% as noted by the OP will not be felt as out of rhythm by the listener.

Other nuances besides just rhythmic precision define a rhythm. A mazurka is a Polish dance in 3/4 time with accent on the second beat. If you accent the first beat, it will sound like a waltz.

A polonaise rhythm is in 3/4 time and has a pair of 1/16 notes that lead in to the second beat which is accented. The customary style is to delay the start of the sixteenth notes and rush them. The first and second beat is still played on time, but the twin sixteenth notes that lead in to the second beat are rushed.

It is true that it is important to be able to play something straight up at will without any expressive nuances before adding expressivity, or such playing will just become a form of not playing in time at all.
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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby analogika » 16 Apr 2018, 08:13

sweelinck wrote:
analogika wrote:Yes. And both of those things (playing a feel against a beat — pushing or pulling, etc. — as well as having a feel for steady tempo) can be trained by playing with a metronome (or a programmed beat or loop, I guess).

A metronome may help develop an inner sense of rhythm, but once that is established, the metronome must be relegated to the trash heap if you want to play expressively.

I think the question of whether it is possible to play expressively to a metronome has been conclusively settled since the click-track recording discussions of the 70s.

This is music. Any absolutist argument has already lost as soon as it is made.
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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby Tracii » 16 Apr 2018, 18:01

analogika wrote:This is music. Any absolutist argument has already lost as soon as it is made.

Haven't you been listening to the drummers who insist that B8 cymbals can NEVER sound as full as B20s? :D Or the guitarists who swear to God that solid state amps will ALWAYS sound harsh and/or dull? :lol:

It's just human nature.
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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby sweelinck » 17 Apr 2018, 05:38

To provide a few examples:

Alot of blues and rock is played with a straight-up tempo, the "in the pocket" groove mentioned above. You won't hear many liberties being taken with rhythm in, say, the music of Dire Straits.

But listen to Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin and there is a big rallentando in the final verse when they sing the final line of the song.

The jazz album Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet has the famous "Take Five" which is played rhythmicly straight up to showcase the rhythm in 5, but on the same album "Strange Meadowlark" is played with lots of syrupy rubato.

I think alot of intros to songs sound best with a ritard at the end of the intro, leading into the main verse.

Most mid-nineteenth century piano music is played with a fair bit of rubato.
Last edited by sweelinck on 17 Apr 2018, 05:47, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby analogika » 17 Apr 2018, 10:01

So, you’re saying that Dire Straits is not something worth aspiring to, or that they just never advanced beyond steady timing into “expressive playing”?

And that “Strange Meadowlark” is a better piece than “Take Five”?

I’m a little confused about what your point is.
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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby CountFosco » 17 Apr 2018, 11:06

Pretty cool that your first post nailed the OP's DAW latency problem though. :thumbup:

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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby sweelinck » 17 Apr 2018, 20:00

analogika wrote:So, you’re saying that Dire Straits is not something worth aspiring to, or that they just never advanced beyond steady timing into “expressive playing”?

And that “Strange Meadowlark” is a better piece than “Take Five”?

I’m a little confused about what your point is.

My point was that different music has different interpretive demands. Some is intended to be rhythmical precise, some is intended to be very emotional.
Last edited by sweelinck on 17 Apr 2018, 20:12, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Improving precision against the beat

Postby analogika » 17 Apr 2018, 23:17

CountFosco wrote:Pretty cool that your first post nailed the OP's DAW latency problem though. :thumbup:

Heh, yeah. Thanks!

This thread was actually done after two replies.

The rest of the thread has been questioning of why one would play to a click, which has morphed into “well, some kinds of music work better without a click”.

No s***, Sherlock.

For all the other music on the planet, the OP has a training method that works, whose effectiveness is easily checkable (since it’s recorded), and that he had a technical issue with, which has been resolved.
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