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flaws in bass notation and bass instructors

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by harley_ou812, Dec 1, 2001.

  1. Ok everyone. I am fairly new to bass but i have been playing drums for 15 years and teaching /composing for a local highschool for 4 years. So I am up on rythym but it seems anytime i see some "bass" music in standard notation and they are looking for a swing feel they write it as eighth notes and tell you to swing it!?!?! Standard notationg is suppose to tell you everything but they dont write out the correct notation. Wich leads me to instructors i am currently going to 2 different bass instructors. And they know their stuff but yet they tell me to "swing it" instead ofthe correct notation.

    Furthermore what is up with the whole Te Te Tah Tah method of counting music?!?!?! that is what they are teaching kids in my area now that down beats are Te and up beats are Tahs!?!?! Maybe i am so offended by this because i have to teach these kids at a highschool level and they are saying TE TE and Tah tah.
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Ok, there are two answers here. First of all, the 'swing feel' eighth notes are a tradition. They used to be written as dotted eighth - sixteenth, but since that's not really accurate either they began to write in 8ths, noting at the top of the chart that two 8ths equal the first two parts of a triplet tied and then the last part. This has become standard practice to this today..... so, in effect, the swing eighth is correct, at least in a jazz context.

    The second answer is that by using "T" type sounds to count is more rythmically accurate that the old "one-e-and-a" method, which tends to rush.
  3. Ok I can understand the eightth note feel part a little I mean i dont understand why they dont do it correct but if it is how it has always been one i can understand why they wouldnt break from tradition. But when you have them count T and Tah that is ridiculous i mean i can say to someone who has learned 1 e and ah method of counting i can say something like 1 and ah 2 and ah 3 e ah 4 and ah 1 and so on and so forth but while t and tah it gets so much m,ore confusing due to not defining down beats as well as measures.. Its kinda like why dont we have just one string on a bass i mean you can still have 2 octaves worth of notes and it will sufice but it doesnt make any practical sense. I cannot nor will i ever warrant using T and tah when the drumers in my school district reach 9th grade when i get them they will learn the 1 e and ah method of counting. Jut because som people rush when counting this way doesnt make it bad it means you have to work on this. just like everything else
  4. I realise i may have seemed a little hostile in that towards you but it wasnt meant towards you I am frustrated over the fact of the whole countin g thing not your response. I appologise if you took it as an attack upon yourself
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    FWIW, I prefer the 1/8 note Swing vs. the Dotted 1/4 + a 1/16th Swing.
    The latter is closer to that of a Shuffle feel(the 1st note receiving 75% of the beat, the 2nd garnering only 25% of the beat).
    Two 1/8th notes are a 50/50 split.
    Swing is somewhere between the aforementioned extremes.

    So, how can one accurately notate Swing?
    IMO, on paper, you can't...IMO, it's a feel/interpretation kinda thing; everyone feels something a little 'different'. That's "OK" with me; that's what makes the world go round.

    As far as the phonetic sounds for rhythms...
    I learned, & for the most part, prefer the "1e&a" thing.
    At times, especially for triplets(1/8th & 1/16th), I use the "hig-a-dee", "bog-a-dee" thingees.
    So, if a beat = two 1/16th notes + one 1/16th note triplet"
    "1-e-higadee". Whatever works, right? ;)

    BTW, a drummer pal of mine(sez he doesn't 'count')will use phonetics to 'count' out Indian Ragas/Tallahs. Sounds pretty cool, IMO. ;)
  6. Well as far as how it would be written it would be the first and fourth note af a seventuplet if i am not mistaken. It has been many a year since i had to notate but it can be done. If you want to be technical about it anything you can think of can be notated. That is what is so beautiful about standard notation. It may not be the easiest to comprehend when you start getting into some really crazy rythyms but if you take a second you can work it out.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    OK, a "seventuplet"...I don't know about you, but that's a little much for my pea brain to assimilate.
    Maybe I'm slack; even with a drum machine/computer, I'm gonna enter 1/4 notes & then 'shift' 'em by a certain percentage as I hear it.

    So, I still prefer the nebulous(yet crystal clear/simple)-
    "1/4 notes in a Swing feel". ;)
  8. I know that sventuplets arent something that would be very familiar to most bassist.. or most musicians but when you start to get into them as well as five tuplets and many of other things it really opens the doors as far as rythyms and notation go. But I guess i just feel that this way they can notate things more exact ya know what i mean.
  9. As an x-drummer too ... that T, tah stuff makes NO SENSE!! Seems like taking the 'easy way out early, and running into problems later on' method if you ask me.
  10. I totally agree about it being the easy way out. I was always a firm believer if you can count it using the number system you can plkay it due to the fact of knowing where everything is but i cant imagine being able to do that going t t tah tah
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I don't see anything inherently wrong with doing things ala 'the easy way'...whatever works, right?
    Again, what's easier for me is the "1e&a"...Ed Freidland, a fine bassist/educator(IMO), did a column somewhat recently in a Bass Player mag that dealt with 'phonetics'.

    BTW, how do you suppose the African cats in those percussion choirs count out time/rhythms?
    I'd bet it's not "1e&a". ;)
  12. CtheOp


    Oct 11, 2001
    Toronto, Canada
    I recently came across this "Ti - Tah" thing just last week. I think it is best used as a verbal simulation of the "swing" feel (not to be confused with "Swing-8's", which is a different structure).

    Instead of saying ti-ti-tah-tah, say "ti-tah". This gives the music student a simple verbal tool for hearing the swing feel of the beat. Obviously, you have to shorten the sound of the "ti" and prolong the sound of the "tah" to get the idea, but it works and is effective. And it is not the same as a dotted eighth/sixteenth - I believe it is more of a grace note to each quarter note.

    I don't think it can (or should) be used it to replace the "1e&a-2e&a" method of counting beats. It's just another tool to illustrate a feel to the music. If the tool (whatever it is) works for any particular student, then it has merit. I wouldn't discount it altogether just because it sounds a bit silly.
  13. I am not saying to dismiss it as a tool i grew up hearing and singing quite a bit when it comes to drum parts where i would vocalise (ie. uh ga ga uh ga ga u ga uh ga ga uh ga gahugadiga gat) wich is a marching band drumline rythym I know your probably like what the hell after seeing that but if you put the uhs on bass drum and gas on sname as eight notes and the hugadiga gat as a both it really grooves and is how i will teach it cause they can feel it better then saying play the counts
  14. So I was talking with my mother on the phone the other day, and she's an early-music instrumentalist and instructor, and she says that writing straight but playing swing goes back to 16th centrury France if not before. She had some funny name for it that I've forgotten.

    Anyway, as everyone else has said, notating the swing feel correctly leaves you with in-between 16ths, so it's easier just to write it out in 8ths and swing it yourself.
  15. In my neck of the woods we are still using the 1e&a method. At least thats what my band instructer for jazz band teaches us. He was a drummer (Blue Devils) so maybe the whole anti -Teh Teh Tah Tah or whatever is because it doesn't work for drumming.

    When i first started playing ANY instrument (sax way back in the day) I learned with the 1e&a method. Now I use it more as a guildeline, I just kinda *feel* the groove. Granted, on some of the difficult and strange funky rythems the 1e&a method is the only way out, but I found that if I can feel my way outta it, it usually works. LoL.

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