Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by aceshigh, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. aceshigh


    Nov 6, 2006
    This might be a far fetch but did anybody at this forum read the book "HOW TO SIGHT READ JAZZ AND OTHER SYNCOPATED TYPE RHYTHMS" by Mike Longo?

    Here's the link to the author's website:

    I bought this book a few weeks back, read everything and found it poorly written/edited but very interesting nonetheless. In the middle of the grammar mistakes and the misspellings he makes some very good points. Really interesting stuff.

    But when it comes the time to apply his techniques, I'm really failing to see how is that any different than counting the traditional way. He talks a lot about additive rhythm. Instead of counting "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &...", he tells you to count "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8" and then gradually replace the numbers by drumming sounds such as "Ah wop bop bop did did did bop..."

    I wonder if I'm missing the point here. Did anybody read this book?

  2. I can't say anthing about that book, but I've been working with Dan Fox's The Rhythm Bible sparingly for only a couple of weeks now, and it seems like it works really well.

    For example, although Fox has you count straight eights by the numbers, he has you count swing eights "Da-ba, Da-ba, Da-ba," and that worked instantly for me. Triplets are counted "Da-na-ba" or "da-Na-ba" or "da-na-Ba," depending on the accent. Etc. You get the idea. Somehow, these nonesense syllables are making it a lot easier for me.
  3. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    I haven't read the book - actually I've been looking for something in that vein. A way to build a vocabulary of syncopated rhythms, which I think might ultimately be the only way to really be able to sight read some of that stuff cold.

    At first glance, I think the difference in his counting system and the "1 & 2 &..." is the latter really reinforces the accents on the 1, 2 etc. when you read it aloud (or in your head) - especially if you've had a few years of counting swing, rock, and other standard 4/4 beats under your belt. That isn't to say you should abandon that way of counting/subdividing... but I think of the "1 2 3 4..." way as a tool to defuse the ingrained habit of hearing accents in the standard places in the bar, in a situation where obviously they need to be somewhere else.
    I do something similar to this myself (only without any of the numbers, &'s, or anything) and it works fairly well.
  4. aceshigh


    Nov 6, 2006
    I think you've hit the nail right in the head. Counting syllables or alternate numberings help you put the accents in places other than the 1, 2, 3, etc. As jazz is syncopated music, most of the accents fall on the upbeat anyway.

    So, let's say you're counting "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8" or "Ah wop bop bop did did did bop" instead of "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &". Let's say you have one bar with one eight note, one punctuated quarter note followed by 2 quartes notes. So, you will count them "1 2 3 4" or "Wop bob did bop". How do we know where to place the beat just by numbers or "bops"? In the back of my head, I still have to count "1 & 3 4"

    How is this method you use?
  5. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    I'm not so sure I can really explain it well enough to be clear - I'll try though...

    It's not so much that I actually count "1 2 3 4..." etc. - but after learning how to "feel" bars, and not have to rely on actually counting them, it came more naturally than that.
    By feeling bars, I mean can internalize (and I assume most seasoned musicians do, maybe everyone is different though) the balance or imbalance in time as they go by. Playing through one bar feels lopsided, the second bar balances it out, but now your top-heavy...three bars fills out half the bottom but now your lopsided again...four bars completes a "cycle" of bar 5 starts a new cycle, but it's sort of tacked on to the previous 4, so as you move through bars 5 6 7 and 8 your completing a cycle which in a larger way feels like 2 you need to fill in the bottom two "spots" to make up 16 bars.
    Sometimes I actually envision a clock, or circle divided into four pie-shapes. Counting an odd number of bars is fine, because you know you need to finish in a particular state of unbalance.

    I probably sound like a lunatic at this point. That's okay - I've gotten over that :D

    So back to the syncopations...I guess in the same way, I don't really need to count 8 eighth-notes - I can feel them. It makes it easier to just tick them off as they go by in time, and place the accents in your head as the notes to be played appear on the written music.

    So as the eighth notes are going by "tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick..." you'd sing the rhythm of the notes' starting points, length and rests, in their proper places.

    Uh, not sure if I'd recommend anybody necessarily strive to do it this way - it seems to work out okay for me though. I'm still not at the point where I can nail everu piece of music cold with it right in front of me, but I think it's good that I can sometimes circumvent having to stop and count out the beats (or even pencil in the "1 & 2 &..." like I see on some charts I play), and I often surprise myself by playing things right, off the cuff. It's all a work in progress for me anyway at this point.
  6. You don't sound looney to me, Moles. I think I know what you mean by feeling the eighth notes rather than counting them.

    It's kind of like: You suddenly get a flat tire and it starts "wop-wop-wopping." Without counting them, you can say later that it "wopped" 40 times because you felt them in cycles of eight wops each, and you also felt that it went through five cycles before it stopped.

    That happens in the morning alarm on my cell phone, which I place across the room at night. I know by now that the @#$% thing's going to ring 48 times before it gives up and automatically goes into snooze. I don't have to actually count the rings to know when it will stop because I can feel them as six "bars" of eighth notes.

    I figure that if this happens to me, a rank amateur, it must be extremely common among real musicians. (I wish I could do it with music better than I do, though.)
  7. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    That's funny - the bit about your cellphone. When I was taking my Audio Production/Recording course, we had a day or two of collecting sound effects in the field. One was to get a recorded sample of a car's left/right turn signal being turned on and off. My instructor noted to me that I seemed to be having a problem letting it go for anything other than 8 or 16 beats...
  8. 1and 2eanda 3anda 4 or as Ravi Shankar teaches tak a takadimi etc. whatever syllables you like. If you read "Jazz" your reading figures maybe 2 or 4 bars at a time. Key word is "figures." You commit all these figures to memory. You see them and you recognize them eventually. I learned on guitar first by reading all the trumpet and sax books by Charles Colin, Bugs Bower and Lennie Niehaus. Also, the Hindemith books. The Berkowitz book for solfege as well. After a few years of this you read fly ****. It's a drag at first but you'll see the light eventually and it all makes sense.

    EDIT - Rhythm Book Vol.1 and Vol.2 (BASS CLEF)by Bugs Bower published by Charles Colin. This book when thoroughly digested, helps provide a strong foundation in sight reading and in recognition of syncopated rhythms. Also, Bugs Bower- Bop Duets in bass clef, good for 2 basses to sight read together. Niehaus has a good duet book in bass clef too. I know these books are old but they are really nice.
  9. Paul Warburton

    Paul Warburton In Memoriam

    Aug 17, 2003
    Denver, Co.
    Those little Boppity-Bookkity sounds are fabulous for learning the rhythms and musical language of jazz. Some guy named Dizzy came up with that a while back. :smug:
    Why, you ask? Because those sounds have an edge to them.
    I listen to a ton of Brazilian music for that reason too.
    Why, you ask? Because they sing in Portuguese.
    Do you speak that language PW, you ask?
    No and that's why I like has a very rhythmic clip...even guttural sometimes, to it. On slow ballads it's sometimes the opposite....real smooth and silky like, but that edge is still in there.
    Sit back and check out a real Brazilian samba by Joao Bosco on youtube some time. That's where you can find some amazing stuff to internalize rythyms. Also Ivan Lins (pronounced Evon Leans), Simone (the beautiful Brazilian Simone..pronounced Seemoanie), Elis Regina and Toninho Horta.
    I told Ray Brown one time that his time edge was so great (obviously)....he said "You ever been to Brazil?"

    EDIT: can't get that edge out of a book. Most of those people down there don't read music real good.
  10. carolina12


    Mar 25, 2010
    As you conversation about the discussion,
    a suggestion my side is that there should be
    a separate discussion forum related to it
    and we must joy the time.
  11. Paul Warburton

    Paul Warburton In Memoriam

    Aug 17, 2003
    Denver, Co.
    I really can't explain, but I do have an idea why Rubens made you think of Elvin. That common groove. I used to think of the groove (as Victor Wooten calls it, or as my friend Art Lande calls it, The Party. That place in the music where everybody feels like they're breathing together). as some almost mystical, wispy place. I even thought it was a rare thing to find it with another player, but have changed my mind because of time spent listening to Brasilero.
    I was listening to an Ivan Lins Samba. The feel was so alive and these things I noticed first. The bass player was playing a kind percussive ghost note on beat one....the tonality was more or less implied because he didn't let it ring out. He did let beat three ring out and sustain a bit. He was basically being the parade bass drum in a Street Samba. The big thing is though, at least for me, was that he seemed to be leaning into the beat. I can't explain it in words any more than I could explain a true Jazz swing feel. I then checked in with everybody in the band, including the singers and they were all right there with him. What really woke me up was that some time later the balance knob on my Onkyo receiver had been moved by somebody. Before I adjusted it back to it's former setting, I heard a clave player over in the right speaker playing one hit every two bars and his groove was as intense as the people clapping ther hands with 16ths and triplets on top of that.
    Bottom in the world can one guy with a clave groove as hard as an entire band. I have a low B on my bass and I'd rather find that groove on a Samba down there with a hip drummer than swing hard all night with hard core Beboppers. (maybe, kinda?...well, too?)
  12. Paul Warburton

    Paul Warburton In Memoriam

    Aug 17, 2003
    Denver, Co.
    I've dropped this clip @ TB about four times now. It's one of my favorites because I feel that it speaks volumes about this music. You may get it or's alotta fun either way.

    mrgoodbass likes this.