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Playing the beat

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by chantezlebas, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. chantezlebas


    Mar 21, 2006
    Hi Janek,

    I´ve been told by a musical director that i was playing the songs always on top of the beat. this was new to me because i never though about it that way i just played.
    After this episode i´ve tried to concentrate on listenig to musica trying to identified if the rhytm section is playing on "top" of the beat, or on "centre" or "behind" the beat .
    Im a little confused with this concept and im guessing a lot on this subject....
    Could you explain how you listen and identified this rhytmic nuaces.

    Thank you
  2. Rockman


    Mar 2, 2006
    The best way is to listen to extremes. IN GENERAL (as in not always the case) in jazz the bass player is way the hell on the front end of the beat and the horns are not as ahead, in funk everyone is laying back, and in rock/pop and especially latin styles everything needs to be smack dab on the beat. So my suggestion is listen not to one instrument, but how that instrument is sounding compared to the others.
  3. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://janeksbassstudio.com
    I'm afraid I have to strongly disagree with the opinion put forth in the previous post about time being genre specific. In Jazz for instance you can listen to freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderley, and Miles Davis and the time couldn't be more different between all 6 musicians. Time is player and personality specific. Listen to Nate Watts, Rocco Prestia, James Jamerson, Wilton Felder, and Bootsy Collins..... all in the funk/R&B genre pretty much, and all so different as musicians with their time.

    You can identify where the time is by being in control of your own time. By that I mean you might want to try being very specifically in time with a metronome for instance. Something that's solid and isn't moving anywhere. Then try lagging behind just a touch, or playing in front of the beat just a little bit. A metronome is a great training device to force you to listen to a certain part of the beat, it's by no means what I would suggest to work with always to give you your own sense of time feel. I think of it as more of a tool to get the basics of time together and to force you to follow something structured. As soon as you find yourself more in control of these basic parameters then branch out on your own without the metronome and start bending the time, and being in control of all parts of the beat.

    You'll start to notice those people around you have unique time feels and all hear the beat in a slightly different place. This gives people personality and makes thing more interesting and challenging.

    There's no "right way" to play anything. What I've written above is just what works for me and how I hear it. Just being more aware and listening and paying attention to detail more than you have will help you on your way to developing your own unique sense of time.


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