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Feelin' it vs Knowin' it.

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by melodicly, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. melodicly


    Oct 22, 2008
    New Orleans, LA
    I used to be able to read well and sight read ok when I was doing it a lot, but an all original band has spoiled me a bit over the last few years. We've all played for a good while now and decided that we would never discuss scales, chords or even keys! It has been a blast and we have gone in directions that we never could have planned. Now I am getting back into filling in for people and the occasional recording session and have noticed that when someone asks for something on a specific beat, I have to kind of thump around and feel it out. I.e. "play that note on a-of-3," and while I know where the "a-of-3" is I have a hard time counting it out now a days. It's like I have to feel where in the groove that specific beat is before I can play it spot on.

    Anybody else have trouble with this? I play with click tracks very often (2-4x a week) so my rhythm is good and I have been told my pocket is great (a very appreciated comment) by drummers I never expected to get the opportunity to play with, but I just have to feel it out first and that gets frustrating to someone who wants to just be the spot on musician that can play it, no matter what it is (with-in reason of course, ala "play that Wooten solo :scowl:"). I keep meaning to break out the Real Books and just start sight reading again, but I remember everytime how much that can suck solo. Can be great fun with several people, but I get real bored, real frustrated, real quick just by myself especially on bass.

    So any suggestions? Or am I just becoming the proverbial "old dog"? :eek:
  2. Once we discover the joy of making music with other people we sometimes neglect those personal practice technical things because they seem to be a drag. OTOH those skills we develop as readers need to be nourished with regular challenge and practice. As a compromise i find myself reading melodies, working up bass lines and solos with real book charts in band in a box, keeps up my reading chops.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    do what i did when i was 34 and wanted to get back up to speed with reading...take lessons.
  4. Would someone care to explain what is meant by "play that note on a-of-3"? as I've never heard that expression before!!.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    when you subdivide beats into 16th notes, most of us were taught to count them 1-e-and-a-2-e-and-a-3-e-and-a-4-e-and-a. so the "a of 3" is a 16th note before you hit the 4 beat. and when you hear someone say the "and of 3," it's two 16th notes before the 4, which of course ends up being an 8th note before the 4.
  6. Don't you mean the a-of-3 is a sixteenth before the fourth beat rather than the third?. Saying "of the 3" would imply that it is part of the 3 to a British person.

    If so, as a Brit I'd call that a "semi-quaver before the fourth beat" ...

    Translation Table

    US = Brit

    Whole Note = Semi-Breve
    Half Note = Minim
    Quarter Note = Crotchet
    Eighth Note = Quaver
    Sixteenth = Semi-Quaver
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    sorry pete, you are absolutely right and i will correct my op.
  8. TheDarkReaver

    TheDarkReaver Banned

    Mar 20, 2006
    Lincolnshire, UK
    Holy crap, I just got a piano lesson flashback.
  9. Easy mistake, peace my friend :cool:.
  10. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    16th notes are only 4 divisions per beat in meters with a 4 on the bottom. your example is 4/4

    keep in mind that in 4/8 16th notes are only two divisions per beat, (1 and two and..) and 4/16 theyre the beat (1 2 3 4..)

    i know that seems anal, but IMO its a neccesary piece of information..
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
  12. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Sightreading has to be kept up to stay in shape, that's very true. When I played the alto in a bigband, it took me a year before I could sightread everything they put on the stand, even the complicated stuff like Basie, Stan Kenton etc. Then I got out of the bigband and into a small jazz group, with head arrangements all over. Six months later the bigband asked me for a one time reunion... I had to study like crazy for a week to get everything down again.
  13. melodicly


    Oct 22, 2008
    New Orleans, LA
    Ha! That's cool I have never heard that! My guitar player is Welsh so I might have to get little lesson from him.

    I had forgotten about the frustration of cut time and all that. It took me a good long while before I could sight read common time into cut time and back again. That's when I was aspiring for cruise ship gigs. :rolleyes: Not for me.

    I really need to just suck it up and replace some of my band in the box stuff. That really is the least annoying way for practicing those kinds of things solo. I have been really focused on rhythm, groove and tone for the last couple of years, but it would be good to sit down with headphones and sheet music to really get used to my newish to me pedulla.
  14. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    Part of your problem is that in some grooves, the beat isn't on a 16th or even a 32nd spot. We just use those as a convienent way of showing people what we mean. However, when groovin', some of the notes will be slightly behind, some slightly ahead....we're talking like 64ths or 128ths here. Would be a pita to notate, so writers just call em 16ths.

    For instance, listen to cakewalk or another software play a groove back. It's perfectly on the beat you tell it, but it just doesn't groove.....

    This is the reason you gotta listen to the music to play funk, the written page can't capture the groove. I've played percussion off of jazz charts where the writer tried to do the exact placement of each note. The page was a MESS and very frustrating to read. That's why you'll see charts written straight and a composers note to "Swing It!".
  15. And thus comes tha groove. Feeling it would be my choice, thanks.

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