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How do you count 32nd notes?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Tom Lane, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    For 16 notes, I'll say to myself "1 ee an a 2 ee an a 3 ee an a 4 ee an a" but a God-gle search turned up no serious answers in the top 10 search results, just mostly advice about NOT counting them and "feeling" them instead.

    I think drummers are usually pretty smart about the phrases they use but the drummer I came across recommended "1 a moma 2 a momma" which I don't like because it's impossible to say at even a moderately slow pace and doesn't help me keep my place in the measure.

    I've been working on playing the Footprints bridge the way he does and a few times he further doubles the rhythm to 32nd notes, 8 notes to a beat. I want to ensure I'm rock solid on the compound measure timing in case my bandmates are not.

    Surely classical players have a good phrase?
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
  3. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    That's not bad! 1 ee shigga digga boodee 2 ee shiggy digga boodee 3 ee shiggy digga boodee 4 ee shigga diggy boodee

  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    tikataka bakataka here, but "shigga-digga-bigga-doody" is pretty epic, too. :D
  5. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    1 ee taka baka laka 2 ee taka baka laka 3 ee taka baka laka 4 ee taka baka laka.... that's good too!
  6. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    I guess "twice as fast as 1/16th notes" isn't the answer you were looking for. That type of answer comes so easily to those of us not burdened with actually knowing anything about theory, timing, cadence etc.
    basspraiser likes this.
  7. I'm a drummer.

    Once I understand the rhythm, I often deal with them as more of a feel, aiming for that midpoint between the 16th notes.

    When working out sheet music and trying to vocalize them to understand something new I'll kind of do an evenly-spaced double grunt of the syllable I use for the 16th's.

    So if 16ths are:
    One - Ee - And - Ah
    Two - Ee - And - Ah

    The 32nd's will sound as:
    Wah-un - Ee-Ee - A-And - Ah-Ah
    Two-oo - Ee-Ee - A-And - Ah-Ah

    Looks ugly now that I see it written. But works for me for getting rhythms from the page into my head!
    Atshen and Groove Doctor like this.
  8. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Many of the drummers I've spoken to have a variety of syllabification analogies and I frequently find them a very compelling way to internalize a rhythmic phrase. Like "bucket of fish" is Steve Barne's way of naming the common 3 8th notes on the snare followed by cymbal crash. Once I heard it, I always recognize it.
    Maple likes this.
  9. 4 on the down, 4 on the up. No need for verbal representation.
    Jeshua likes this.
  10. Taka dimi taka jonu, or da din din da da din din da na tin tin na tete din din dah

    South Indian Solkattu and North Indian Tala has been really influencing how I approach rhythm and how to feel it. The rhythmic solfege both sides of Indian Classical music use is IMHO an extremely effective way to learn, translate, and understand rhythm. It helps make it internal, more so than just seeing it in ink. Plus it's really hard to get your tongue tied when counting these fast rhythms.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    mtto, bass183 and longfinger like this.
  11. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Words Fail...
    I know the Suzuki violin method for children uses (for example) the spoken phrase "mississippi hot dog" for four 16th notes and two 8th notes, and while it may be an easy entry into verbalizing simple rhythms, I think at some point of complexity "spoken language" may not be capable of accurately conveying precise, complex rhythm(s).
    I'm a big fan of (hand) tapping/clapping/slapping to physically grasp and play rhythm, not using spoken-word as S.W. does not utilize the muscle groups (associated with the hands/fingers/arms) that will ultimately need to accurately produce those rhythms. (Singers are the exception here.) The spoken-word approach will, at some point, need to be converted to actual tactile, muscular, cerebral AND visceral understanding/feel of physical movement.
    I also own a pair of drumsticks - NO drums yet.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    RBrownBass likes this.
  12. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Ah, but the flip side of that argument is that "spoken language" is the most intuitive way of conveying precise, complex rhythm(s)! Because

    When We
    Try To
    Have A
    Con-ver-sa-tion... (imagine that spoken sentence strictly married to a 120bpm martial beat, quarter notes, then eighth notes, etc.)

    We talk like this, which, if you juxtaposed this entire sentence against a metronomic beat, would have to be transcribed as some elaborate series of nested tuplets and over-the-barline syncopations.

    The first time a musician encounters 16th-note quintuplets after a lifetime of simple [sic] metric subdivisions, their head explodes; how do you even derive five of anything from duple or triple rhythms?!?!
    Easy; you speak it: Say "deuteronamy".

    "Mississippi hot dog" (or "David Baker Jazz Lick") is a brilliant reduction of the sound-object made by that simple rhythmic phrase, because it makes the language of music familiar to people who are more intimately connected to the language of speech. Apply that same approach "up the food chain" and you wind up with music like the Lutoslawski string quartet, or Frank Zappa's early 1980s guitar improvisations (which, when transcribed, look more dense and rhythmically complex than a Brian Ferneyhough or Elliott Carter composition, but are actually just note mappings onto conversational speech rhythms).
    jazzcat_13 likes this.
  13. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    How ma-ny times do I count this x4
  14. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Lots to consider here.
    My first question then, regarding the OP's question, is - what "spoken-language" device would you use to convey continuous/even 32 notes at 120bpm?
    Thanks for your interest, Bob.
  15. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Asked & answered in post #2: "shigga-digga-bigga-doody" ...or post #3: "tikataka bakataka"

    (Whether the musician can get their lips/tongue around that at tempo is sort of irrelevant, given that it will take practice to get their fingers around continuous/even 32 notes at 120bpm on their instrument also.)
  16. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    I had no idea that these were serious responses. Live and Learn.

    I thought the "relevant" point of this method and device IS to be able to vocalize the rhythm so that the speaker is able to accurately produce the rhythm?

    Different Strokes, Mileage, Maternal Army Boots, etc.
    And, finally, in the words of Sly Stone - "Boom Shaka-Laka-Laka, Boom Shaka-Laka-Laka!".
    Thanks for your interest and civility - I appreciate both.
  17. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Interesting.... so, Don's right that I can't, as of now anyway, say any of these syllabifications at 120 bpm, but, I don't mind because I can say them fast enough to help me improvise lines without losing my place or fooling myself that I'm playing in 4 when I was really in 3, and probably as they become more familiar to me, I'll be able to increase the speed some.

    So, I'm still grateful for the suggestions!
  18. basspraiser

    basspraiser Jammin for the Lamb! Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Chicago - NW Burbs

    Ahhhhh.. That's me as well
  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I still don't fully understand the ask. Why do you need to count in 32nds?

    And who are you referring to playing the footprints bridge?.Ron Carter ?
  20. mc900ftj


    Jan 21, 2014
    Q: "How do you count 32nd notes?"
    A: Quickly. :)
    Atshen likes this.