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"Feel" vs. Sheet Music

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by grifff, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. grifff


    Jan 5, 2009
    Towson, Maryland
    1. When I'm reading a piece of music while playing along with other musicians I don't necessarily count out all the rests, I just sort of "feel" where they go and the sheet music just acts as a visual aid. Does anyone else do the same thing? Is it a problem?
  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Well, I guess it depends on whether you are "feeling" the rests correctly. It reminds me of the story about Frank Foster:

  3. grifff


    Jan 5, 2009
    Towson, Maryland
    Feeling the rests has never been a problem. It seems like I'm listening to the other instruments more than myself.
  4. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    It's messed me up. Better to count, if I'm not familiar with the music.
  5. Well, whether feeling the rests or listening to others, SOMEBODY outta count it out! I count the beats in my head. I 'know' when to come in! I find others 'hanging onto' my rhythm.
  6. grifff


    Jan 5, 2009
    Towson, Maryland
    I do count out the basic 1 2 3 4 in 4/4, but when it gets down to the eighth and sixteenth note rests I find that it's much easier to just feel where the rests are than to have to count those out. If I had a problem and I kept coming in too early, you bet I would count it all out. Maybe I'm just lazy?

    Take Jaco's "The Chicken" for example. I can't possibly count those rests out, it's easier to just feel where they are supposed to be.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you're asking about something you see as a potential deficiency, then you should work on it. No reason you can't count out rests if you can count out notes. Knowing how might save your ass one day ;)
  8. bassplayertom77


    Sep 24, 2008
    I count the rests. On the other hand, if it's something really simple I will count the rests until the rhythm is internalized, and then have a better handle on how it feels.

    Subdividing helps with more complex rhythms.
  9. Landshark


    Jul 1, 2009
    Strangely enough, i count the rests with my teeth, in 16th notes, helps me alot :) just a small movement..
    my dentist does not like it though..
  10. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    I don't count, just play

    I know when to come in etc... but everyone is different
  11. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Brand Identity & Development, GHS Strings, Innovation Double Bass Strings, Rocktron
    I guess that depends. If you're playing something that has specific parts for you to play that other people are depending on, then yes, it's a problem. If you're reading a piano chart and "faking" the bass part, probably not.

    That said, you really should try and do both. Jazz eighth notes look the same as classical eighth notes on paper, but they're definitely felt and played differently. For example, last summer I was in the pit for RENT. The song "Santa Fe" is pretty much a bass solo with some vocals over top of it. The sheet music was written in 3/4.

    Listen to the CD of the original cast recording; the song is FELT in 6/8. The sheet music was correct in the notes, but the feel was all wrong. It took a compromise between the feel and the sheet music to really make the song "sing" and get the singer to do his thing.
  12. xk49w


    Apr 13, 2008
    It does depend. If you play my gigs, where the other guys use sheet music to wipe up oil in the garage (assuming they have a garage, much less care about the oil on the floor), then it doesn't matter. OTOH, if you are recording a new theme for NPR's Morning Edition and you don't care about where the rests are then there will be a new bass player after lunch.
  13. pj-mike


    Nov 22, 2005
    Bridgewater, MA
    Counting came first. After counting over and over, feel came easy. Now I can count or feel or both.
  14. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    Why wouldn't you count the rests?

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