Difference between Swing and Shuffle

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by champbassist, Nov 7, 2010.


  1. champbassist

    champbassist

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    I found this in the Wikipedia article for Swung Note:

    But, like most of us, I wouldn't want to rely totally on the Wikipedia definition. So, is this correct?
  2. S. Katz

    S. Katz Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Correct. Another way to think about it: A shuffle is an implied triplet (the middle note is omitted, and the first note held through it). Swung notes are long at the top of beat, shorter on the back of the beat, to give that propulsive feeling into the top of the next beat.
  3. pbasswil

    pbasswil Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    I hadn't thought about it that consciously, but that sounds like a really good summary.

    A couple of things to note:

    - The actual percentage of swing (relative time duration ratio of the on-the-beat and off-the-beat hits) can vary hugely, depending on the style of groove, and the tempo. And in some styles, shuffle timing can vary significantly too, even if it _is_ implying triplets.

    - The feel is further finessed by how much or how little accent is applied to off-the-beat parts. That's a big part of making it feel right, for a given style and tempo!
  4. S. Katz

    S. Katz Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    True. I can't imagine playing a shuffle (or about anything else) without swinging.

    By the way, this is what I think is Jeff Berlin's point when he advises against practicing with a metronome. (And then gets flamed from a million different directions.) Time breathes when music works--beats get longer, beats get shorter--metronomes don't. If you played everything straight up and down the beat it would sound stilted.
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  6. 80'sRocker

    80'sRocker

    Joined:
    May 15, 2010
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    only 2 letters difference
  7. champbassist

    champbassist

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    And that means?
  8. cgnortheast

    cgnortheast

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Location:
    The Frozen North
    I've got a close friend is a fantastic drummer. All his beats have real life in them...perfect timing etc....pertinent to this thread he is an excellent swing and shuffle drummer.
    His suggestion to me was practice with a metronome sometimes, sometimes without. BUT when playing with the metronome, feel the beat and play around it....then turn it off. Of all the advice I've ever gotten, this is the best piece.

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