Freeing yourself from rhythmic restrictions
I have recently been working on my rhythm, particularly sense of have been getting more interested in funk, and I am trying to free myself from all rhythmic restrictions (whether or not this possible I don't know). For now I am working on this by trying to become extremely comfortable with all four 16th note subdivisions (1-e-&-a) so that when I am jamming or in the moment I will have the ability to equally play upon any one of the subdivisions at any given time. As of now my most comfortable one is the 1, as it is or has been for a lot of people but my goal is to understand all the different subdivisions of the beat. I just wanting to know if this is the right path and if anyone has any other tips for attaining this freedom then I would love to know.
I'm also interested in anything that helps build one's internal clock, so comment anything that could help about that too.
I think that approach is excellent. Being able to start a note on any of the 16th note subdivisions, and hold it an exact number of 16th notes is something I would love to have complete intuitive command of.
Yeah the trick is you have start super slow, like ridiculously slow where doesn't even seem like eight notes and gradually build up til you can be proficient at tempos of 120-140 and you can keep going if you want too.
Well at least for me I started super slow, I don't know how advanced you guys are :).
Love this exercise. If you get the 16th subdivisions down playing any number of combinations won't be a problem. I can only do it when concentrating really hard lol, gotta shed moar.
Check out the link for the first of three exercises designed to make you aware of time within your playing. It is only five minutes of your time to watch, and there are another two exercises that build on thins one (again each one only five minutes long to watch ) if you follow the links in the info underneath.
I hope I don't sound too "Out there" with this post but here it goes anyway.
I think it's kind of interesting that in "Western" music that we think of harmony in a cyclical way i.e. how one chord goes to another, goes to another etc. then back to the first chord. But rhythmically we think linearly 1-e-&-a etc. Yet if you listen to Indian classical music they approach rhythm in cycles. 3 beat cycles, 4 beat cycles etc. I once went to a demonstration of Karathak (I hope I spelled that right) dancing which in some ways is like Indian tap dancing only it's done barefoot with beads shaking on the ankles and the guy doing the demonstration at one point started yelling out numbers and the dancers had to move their feet and accent these numbers. They were approaching it as rhythmic cycles. This was a revelation to me.
A couple of years later I took some lessons with Kai Eckhardt. In the first lesson I asked him about Konikol singing(again I hope I spelled that right) which is how they teach rhythm in India. Where you sing/speak out rhythmic groupings before actually attempting to play them. Here are four basic groupings:
From there to get into odd groupings you combine those 4 groupings into any combination you want to get the desired grouping.
Now try this. Start with a 3 sixteenth note cycle. Turn on your trusty metronome at about 40 bpm and start sounding out Ta-Ki-Ta against it. Assuming you are thinking about 4/4 time after about 3 bars or 12 beats you are back on the one. Repeat that until you are comfortable. Now add a rest. The syllable that gets the rest will be in parenthesis. Commas represent beats and lines at the end are bar lines:
Ta-Ki-(Ta)-Ta, Ki-(Ta)-Ta-Ki, (Ta)-Ta-Ki-(Ta), Ta-Ki-(Ta)-Ta|
Ki-(Ta)-Ta-Ki, (Ta)-Ta-Ki-(Ta), Ta-Ki-(Ta)-Ta, Ki-(Ta)-Ta-Ki |
(Ta)-Ta-Ki-(Ta), Ta-Ki-(Ta)-Ta, Ki-(Ta)-Ta-Ki, (Ta)-Ta-Ki-(Ta)|
Repeat until comfortable. Then move the rest so it's on the Ki. Repeat. Then on the first Ta. Then do 2 rests moving them. Then move up to subdividing 4, then 5 etc.
You could try just playing in different time signatures for a start - that will, at the very least, make you think outside the box. I do this when I'm writing songs that are going nowhere. Then I end up with a song in an interesting time signature that still goes nowhere. Ah well.
With a drum machine playing a simple 1-bar pattern, play your bass with this rhythm (could be one note)-
Another exercise (can practice this without a bass, too).
Tapping a Clave with one hand while tapping out the Pulse with the other-
Example: 3:2 Clave in 4/4
It's 2-bar phrasing (1/8th Notes)...you can 'doubletime this into 1/16th notes (1-bar phrasing).
To get a "7" feel, 'chop' off the last beat-
Practice it in the 2:3 Clave, too.
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