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the good, the bad and the ugly - or: how to get a good, stable and reliable timing?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by ctrlzjones, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. ctrlzjones


    Jul 11, 2013
    I am not sure if this is the correct forum for this issue …

    so the burning question is:
    how does one get a reliable sense of timing?
    I am pretty aware of what are the inflicting parameters are (beat, pulse, polymeric groove and swing; playing before and after the beat etc …).

    But still I find it difficult to internalize the tempo, so that it is there and stays forever, even if the metro is off (or everybody else stops playing).

    I tend to speed up, in slow tempos and speed down in fast tempos.

    I programmed a metronome (with a couple of flaws, but basically useable) that can be turned on and off for measures that can be downloaded here:

    os x only, sorry.

    And it should be a good tool for training. (you learn by repetition, right?). But I find it a kind of frustrating to miss the 1 after the metronome paused for 16 beats …

    So I still do wonder if there are any shortcuts or tips/tricks that help you to engage in the feeling of a correct timing ...
  2. pnchad


    Nov 3, 2005
    internalizing is an interesting term you here often in this thread

    a couple of old school techniques

    always hum the melody - it makes timing more musical and less of a effort

    always use the metronome on the off beats - the ANDS or on two & four

    the more you concentrate on having perfect 'internal' timing the more disappointed you'll be - time is a relative thing and a well played interactive jazz performance will have wide variations within a tune (sic breathes) - perfect time is for sequencers not musicians
  3. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    My 2 cents: you need to be able to feel the time in your body. Tapping your foot, swaying, whatever you have to do to get it internalized to you, do it.
    Play with other players who have good time.
    Practice with a metronome. Play the *beat* game. Play with the metronome on 2 and 4 until you're solid, then have it play on a single beat per measure, beat 1 or 2, then have it beat every other measure. If you have BIAB or Finale, you can have it play a single blip every 4 or more measures.
    Next step is to keep your time when the rest of the band isn't. Try playing over a tune with very different time and see if you can keep your pulse. I find that sometimes you have no choice but to be the pulse of the band even if the other players are all over the place in relation to the beat. It happens more often than I'd like.
  4. mimaz


    Mar 1, 2005
    Wheeling WV
    Endorsing Artist: Crook Custom Guitars
    In a word...subdivide. Example: if you are a foot tapper, keep time w/ the eighth notes, not just the quarters. Very often, I will be tapping "toe-heel" eight notes (as drummers sometimes do w/ hi-hat) especially at slower tempos.
  5. JSpradBass


    Mar 3, 2013
    Columbus, OH
    A metronome, foot tapping, or even chewing gum works for me. Downside to gum chewing is the next day after a show my jaw often hurts.
  6. ctrlzjones


    Jul 11, 2013
    Thank you all for the answers.

    Internalizing is the word. I know …

    I'll be practicing with the metronome, shifting one click per measure (2 4 8 16 measures) around in be head on all the beats thinkable and see with patience where that leads me.

    Chewing gum is not an option. I detest this. I have a basic rule: any girl, being as attractive is she can possibly be, is definitely out of the game when what she is chewing is a gum …

    @tcl: what you are describing is a war situation …

    Happy days,
  7. nomadh


    Feb 6, 2008
    Chewing gum can imply an oral fixation.

    Just sayin....
  8. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    War? I don't think of it that way. Most typically drummers who aren't listening and have poor time, and then they'll mess up the players with a weaker sense of time. I just get through the gigs practicing my zen time because it's not possible to stretch or do anything interesting.

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