Timing accuracy: objective criteria?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Oleg BassPlayer, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. Oleg BassPlayer

    Oleg BassPlayer

    Feb 4, 2016
    I've always wondered: how much the note you play has to be offset of click to be considered not in time? In other words, what accuracy should I aim at when practicing with metronome?

    Hence another question: are there any means of objective control of your timing? I've been practicing with a midi keyboard in DAW, there you can easily see the precise time when you hit the note, but how about the bass? Which part of the wave diagram is considered the time when the note was hit?

    The things are easier when slapping, the attack is sharp and loud and when you don't hear the click anymore it means it coincides with the time you hit the note, but what about fingers?
    ba55i5t likes this.
  2. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    The same. Bury the click.
  3. ba55i5t


    May 24, 2006
    I started a thread yesterday in reference to this on a metronome that can give you training input. In any case, I'm learning how to play drums and there is a program in the module that features a click and gives you real time feedback on whether you're behind, on, or in front of the beat.
  4. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    I do a lot of metronome work, both to build speed and accuracy and also switch between different not groupings. The click and your beat should be audibly indistinguishable unless you intended something else.

    You need to be able to hear that, not rely on a machine to tell you otherwise.
    SteveCS and AGCurry like this.
  5. The only metronome I ever played to was a conductor, but I maintain that tempo, timing, and rhythmic accuracy is an ensemble skill, and everything I ever learned about them was from tapping my foot with a hundred other people. Timing is more about listening than insisting or exerting your will. Timing is a contract you enter into mutually with all the members of your ensemble; it lives and breathes, and micro-adjusts in such small increments it isn’t even perceptible.

    And when it’s done right, it is never about leading—it’s about following.
    SteveCS and TheDirtyLowDown like this.
  6. TheDirtyLowDown


    Mar 8, 2014
    Hear hear!

    I think this is true whenever humans and not machines are involved in setting the tempo. For example: I practice with a metronome, or a drum machine, which is an unfeeling automaton. That's useful for me, but the metronome doesn't hear me pushing the beat forward and go along with me. It's much harder to play in correct time with an actual human drummer, or a human conductor, because their tempo is alterable. (Ideally, perhaps not, but in practice, it is) So the trick is to (as dreamadream said) listen and not assert your will. Metronomes are incapable of change due to the context around them, and so even though it's important to practice with one, the real purpose of the practice is to learn the feeling of being in time, so that when you're in a band you participate in that together.

    I'm an old banjo player, and I remember a story that Earl Scruggs told about how he and his brother (a guitarist) would start playing a tune together in front of their house, and then each would walk around the exterior in a different direction -- with the goal being to see if they were still in sync when they met at the rear of the house. So, lately, I've found running my drum machine through a footswitch has been a big help -- I can mute the drum machine for 4 bars, 8 bars, and so on, and re-engage it to see how close I am to it. Kind of like walking around the house :)
    IamGroot and Inara like this.