# syncopation counting

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by greekbassist, Feb 7, 2006.

1. ### greekbassist

Jan 5, 2006
Hi Everyone,

I have a question on rhythmn and syncopated notation...

Can some one help me count the following? It is written in 4/4 time...

The rhythm starts with

Quarter = 1

Dotted eight note connected to a sixteenth note =
2 e & ah

16 note rest = 3

Dotted sixteenth note connected to an eight note

e & ah

Dotted eight note connected to a sixteenth note=

4 e & ah

So am I right on the count: 1, 2 e & ah, 3, e ah, 4 e & ah

I wish I could show everyon the acutal notation...If this makes any sense am I correct in my counting?

2. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
Beat 3 has too many 'subdivisions'...
You say 1/16th rest on "3" followed by a "dotted 1/16th note connected to an 1/8th note. That comes out to '5' subdivisions vs. '4'. I'm assuming it's a 1/16th rest on '3' followed by a 1/16th note connected to an 1/8th note. (3)e&_

Anyway, maybe 'feel' this-
l1e&a2e&a3e&a4e&al

Count/play this-
l1___2__a-e&_4__al

3. ### greekbassist

Jan 5, 2006
Jim K that is correct!!!

However, I am confused because how can anyone count on beat and play correctly the following?

My question how can I play the dotted eight note hooked to sixteenth note accurately? When I tap my foot on the down beat for 2 and slowly lift up and say "e & ah" and playing "ah" on the up beat, the click on my metronome sometimes clicks before I play the "uh"

I can with out my metronome, by slowly tapping my foot...

I tap on the downbeat and say "uh" just as my foot his comming up...

Is there an easier way of doing this?

4. ### ryco

Apr 24, 2005
97465
Try tapping beats 1 2 3 and 4 with your foot and clapping the notes.

5. ### steve66

Sep 17, 2005
Boca Raton, Florida
+1

6. ### greekbassist

Jan 5, 2006
okay,

I hope this doesn't sound stupid....

But you mean instead of counting 2-e & (ah)....

Count 1, 2, 3 AND 4 as & 4?

I need a teacher I can read basic pretty well eight notes, sixteethn notes, etc., but syncopation is tuff...

I hear the example on the CD, but I WANT to LEARN the rhythmn notation wise....I believe both helps....

Thanks again!!

7. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
GreekB-
Certain rhythms that seem to always pop up...like a Dotted 1/8th note w/ a 1/16th note(1__a)-
Try to get that engrained/burned into your brain's hard disc.
Others-
1e_a
1_&a

Going sloowwwwwwwwww-
You can try using your foot to count the 1/16th notes-
Foot down = "1"
Foot up = "e"
Foot down = "&"
Foot up = "a"

...while clapping on the "1" and the "a of 1", etc.

8. ### ryco

Apr 24, 2005
97465
No. I mean count 1 2 3 4.

peace,
-Ryco

9. ### greekbassist

Jan 5, 2006
Thanks for all the response!!!! I guess I will just have to practice this slowly!!!!

10. ### seventhsonSupporting Member

Aug 12, 2005
Seattle, WA
it's like rubbing your tummy and tapping your head at the same time. some people have a natural gift for it. most (like me) have to work at it. it's strange that one's body can respond so well to syncopation (by subconsciously shaking your booty) but sometimes have a hard time reproducing it.

if it doesn't come natural, you have to break it down (as above), play it slow, then play it with a metronome, then it starts to become very natural.

playing 3 against 2 used to frighten me when i started out. these days playing 4 against 3 is a no-brainer. like anything it, just takes practice.

not that i would recommend this, but i have also heard that injesting a certain hemp product helps as well.

11. ### greekbassist

Jan 5, 2006
Exactly what it feels like...But I am slowly finding out by practicing slow I am getting it..

It's funny because I could by pass the reading notation and copy the vamp, however, I feel that learning to understand it in my brain is also important....

Thanks for response!

12. ### Kroy

Jan 19, 2006
I decided to dust off my Sibelius chops and mock you up a couple of things.

From your description and corrections I'm assuming the written notation looks like this. Pay no attention to the pitch since we're just talking rhythm here:

If that's the case, the slowed down version of it should sound like this:
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/160219

The clip sounds to me like it's an off-beat kinda groove, probably intended to be played at a good clip so here it is sped up:
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/160221

It also sounds like a repeated kinda off-beat groove so here it is repeated a couple times:
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/160222

p.s. Does anyone know of a better place to host small audio files? The OurMedia.org thing is pretty in depth. I just need a photobucket/Imageshack but for small (non-mp3) audio files.

13. ### Phil SmithMr Sumisu 2 U

May 30, 2000
Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
If you're having trouble with counting 16th notes, count them as eight notes, eight notes as quarter notes, quarter notes as half notes, etc.

14. ### jadviga

Feb 22, 2005
Ljubljana - Slovenia
Here is a simple exercise which might help ... at least for me it was very usefull

File size:
4.8 KB
Views:
36
15. ### bass349

listen to the advise in post #7..
hopefully i can clear it up a little. when counting 16th note subdivisions, tap your foot on the 8th notes (as well as the quarter notes)..
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & etc.

that way, no matter what, the 16th note rhythm is either going to be on the 'down' (your foot hitting the ground), or on the up (your foot in the air). for example, when counting:

1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a...

...your foot taps on the quater notes (1, 2, 3, 4), as well as the eighth notes (the "&'s"). which means, all of the "e's" and all of the "ah's" are on the up beats - when your foot is in the air...

i use this with my students, and they usually have it within a few weeks. It's just a matter of practicing it, and getting used to recognising some of the common 16th note groupings.

good luck with it!
Andy.

16. ### BassChuck

Nov 15, 2005
Cincinnati
This is all really good advice. What helps me is to keep a subdivision going in my head, even if the part that I'm playing is simple. (in reality, people will screw up long notes more than short.... not holding long enough, or getting lost in the count cause they don't have something to do).

Almost all music is subdivided in 2's or 3's. When playing a slow blues tunes, even if your part is just quarter notes, count them not as 1, 2, 3, 4, but with a triplet sub-division. Now this next part is going to get some people up in discussion, but I generally use words to sub-divide, not the e, &, a stuff. So, with triplets I'm just counting Beau-ti-ful, beau-ti-ful, etc... any word with 3 even syllabols. For 2's 1&,2&,3& works, but for sub-divisions of 16th notes (four subs per beat) I say, al-ka-selt-zer, al-ka-selt-zer etc. etc. And again, any word with 4 even syllabols will work.

Subdividing 5, (not at all common in dance music, but useable for some jazz things) you could use Pen-cil-shar-pen-er or if you are somewhat perverse you could use In-tra-u-ter-ine... whatever.

The point is to keep your mind moving in subdivisions, then you are ready for any rhythm that comes your way.

17. ### greekbassist

Jan 5, 2006
Wow, alot of great information...You guys are great...

Kroy, that is exactly the rhythmn I am looking at...I CAN'T post the image...

However, am I counting this rhythmn correctly?

1, 2 e & a, 3 e a, 4e & a

If I am then I will practice the advise that so many of you have posted

I REALLY APPRECIATE this wealth of information!!!!

18. ### Kroy

Jan 19, 2006
You're close, really close, here's how it should go.
1 e & a, 2 e & a, (3) e & a, 4 e & a

Bold = play the note, parenthesis = rest

Notice what I did? I subdivided every beat (even the long quarter note) down to the smallest division used and counted from that. BassChuck gets 5 cool points for suggesting subdivision. The three most important things to do when you're learning a synchopation is: Subdivide, Subdivide, Subdivide. That's the key to playing any hard synchopation. That and play it slow, like snail slow, like quarter = Thursday. Give yourself time to think through each subdivision until it's automatic and from accuracy will come speed, once it's comfortable.

Edit: One more thing, don't just practice doing it one measure at a time. Practice looping the bar over and over again (kinda like my third little clip) as I'm sure you know repetition is the heart and soul of practice. It sounds to me very much like a rhythm that wants to be repeated anyway.

Edit Edit: BassChuck's advise is great but I have to stick with the traditional 1 e & a for sixteenth subdivisions,
1 & uh for triplets, etc. I think I'd probably get too involved in thinking up neat words to help with subdividing then start dropping beats. Example: Al-a-ba-ma, Chi-nese Dra-gon, Mi-ne-stro-ne, Ce-re-bel-lum for 16ths; Whip-per-will, Du-ra-cell, or Mam-ma-ry for triplets. That's probably just me though.

19. ### greekbassist

Jan 5, 2006
KROY,

YOU ARE AWESOME......THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR EXPLAINATION....It makes sense!!!!

AND AGAIN THANKS TO ALL THAT RESPONDED, I don't know what I would do without this cool forum and the AWESOME bass players who have helped me...

20. ### JimK

Dec 12, 1999
I think I got this from Ed Friedland-
I really, really like "hig-a-dee" for triplets & "hig-a-dee bog-a-dee" for two triplets in a row.

I think Bruce Lindfield suggests "Engelbert Humperdinck" for two triplets in a row...IIRC.