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Rhythm and timing exercises

Discussion in 'Ask Anthony Wellington [archive]' started by ras1983, Dec 11, 2011.


  1. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi Anthony,

    just wondering what some of your favourite rhythm and timing exercises are? I'm not a slappity wizz bang player, I have a more supportive playing style (e.g. Anthony Jackson) and I've spent a lot of time in the past doing technical exercises, while spending less time on rhythm and timing exercises.

    I really enjoy listening to and playing genres such as latin jazz (e.g. Michel Camilo), urban soul (e.g. Eryhkah Badu - spelling?) and gospel (Kirk Franklin, Israel Houghton), which have some complicated time signatures, rhythms and feels. I've come across several timing exercises in the past, which basically amount to learning how to play the different subdivions of a bar in isolation (similar to your yardstick method), but I'm looking for exercises that are a bit more targeted than the basic timing exercises.

    What are your favourite exercises for improving feel with regards to the time signatures and subdivions that are a bit harder to nail than the usual 1,2,3,4 and "&'s" that most exercises focus on?
     
  2. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    Yo ras,

    You can subdivide time indefinitely. But it would be pointless the pursue that. With popular music we don't subdivide popular music smaller than 16th notes. 32nd notes will sound like 'out of time' 16th notes.

    If you get comfortable with yardstick concept you'll be comfortable with the subdivision used in popular music.

    I've never heard any of the artist you've mentioned use smaller subdivisions that 16th notes. Can you point out an example where an of those artist are using subdivisions smaller than 16th notes(not in the context of a solo)?

    peace,
    anthony
     
  3. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    Oh yea,...by the way, most of the thumpers and pluckers. Know are good supportive players too. It's not a case of one or the others. It's a case of 'how big is your toolbox'. Great craftsmen of any kind have large tool boxes. You have to have the tool that the person paying you wants you to use. If you don't have that tool you're less employable. I'd rather be able to do something and not need to do it than be in a situation where I need to be able do something but can't.

    peace,
    anthony
     
  4. ras1983

    ras1983

    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    It's not so much the typs of subdivions they use, it's the synchopation they use. I should have worded my initial question in a better manner :) A good example would be how some latin rhythms place the focus on the "&" of the 4 instead of emphasising the 1, or the way in which a Michel Camilo track such as From Within has the musicians accenting some unorthodox beats within bars. So I guess I'm asking how you'd work on developing feel for these more synchopated styles, which require the musician to be able to groove over up or down beats not usually used in pop or commercial rock?

    Having typed this out I can see that the yardstick method is actually a good way to practice synchopated rhythms.

    I know; was just prefacing my question with my skill set and where I'm at :D
     
  5. Ant Wellington

    Ant Wellington

    Jan 4, 2011
    Maryland
    I've charted out the tumbao, montuno, clave and other latin rhythms with the yardstick. They fall on the grid like any other rhythm. What I've found is that the tumbao, tradition funk rhythm and the 'second line' rhythm are all the same. The tumbao just uses 'ties' so that notes are not sounded on the downbeat. Of course it's impossible to type these rhythms out in a posting.

    You should just notate any rhythm that you want to learn. Thel remove any mystery surrounding that rhythm for you.

    peace,
    anthony
     

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