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Timings?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by boofis, May 16, 2005.


  1. Hey
    Lately I've been trying to figure out complex timings and I was thinking how many possible ways is their to play rhythms/timings. 3/4, 5/8,4/4, and then stuff like Triplets, etc. i.e. dream theatre have a fair few.
    Thanks
    Troy
     
  2. *ToNeS*

    *ToNeS*

    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    Uhhh... there's a zillion different things you can play in different metres. I'm not quite sure what you're asking, but if you want to construct riffs/phrases/etc. within time signatures outside of conventional 4/4 you should tap your foot at whatever tempo you desire, and count the time in your head. Even better, count it all out loud because it's probably new and scary.

    Say you want to do something in 7/8. Tap your foot, and each time you thump the ground, that is one beat. When your foot leaves the ground, be sure to count the 'and' (offbeat) of the beat as well. Count all the way up to 7, then repeat from 1. Grab your bass and whilst counting, play whatever you like that fits within this time. Your counting should go like this -

    1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4... etc.

    It'll be weird and uncomfortable for a while. Just like anything worthwhile :)
     
  3. burntgorilla

    burntgorilla

    Jan 24, 2005
    Belfast
    How important would you say counting time is? Some pieces I have to learn have notes with really short time values, and I don't think it's practical to be going 1ea&a2e&a3e&a etc while trying to play some tricky thing. Has anyone heard Pyramid Song by Radiohead? People say that it has very tricky timing, but I find I can get it ok just be judging gaps, instead of trying to break down times in my head.
     
  4. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    Pyramid song is in 4/4.

    EDIT:

    (to be a little more helpful)

    Think in 16ths instead of 4ths to begin with. The rhythm is played...

    |1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, |1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4... etc.

    It's easier to count...

    |1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3, 1,2,3, |1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3, 1,2,3, |
     
  5. burntgorilla

    burntgorilla

    Jan 24, 2005
    Belfast
    Yeah, but people have trouble with the dotted eighth notes, or something. Listening ot it, you have to admit it's odd timing, but it doesn't seem too tricky to me.
     
  6. *ToNeS*

    *ToNeS*

    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    I think learning to count is extremely important to every musician (drummers, of course, need to drill this to death) because sometimes things will need to be so, so accurate and are just way too tricky to 'feel' your way through. Hitting the studio will make this especially apparent - being that split-second behind or ahead just will not cut it, whereas you can probably get away with that in a live setting.

    Depending on the placement of notes, tempo, values, etc. you're right; it isn't always practical to subdivide absolutely every segment of the beat mentally whilst playing. But having a basic running account of where the one is, and where the downbeats and the offbeats are, is absolutely essential IMO and IME. What happens if you're faced with playing complex polyrhythms, and you're all by yourself without anyone to keep time for you (in fact, everyone else will be distracting you)? If you can't count and understand your rhythm, you're stuffed.

    burntgorilla, you say you can get that Pyramid Song 'ok'. if you want to get it perfectly, start counting the bastard! If you find you're continually having to guess your way through a piece, you need to get back in that woodshed. :)
     
  7. conk97

    conk97

    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    I tend not to count when playing bass...i dont know why but i dont and it never affects me.

    Maybe i should but i can play fine without counting :eyebrow:
     
  8. burntgorilla

    burntgorilla

    Jan 24, 2005
    Belfast
    Cheers Tones, looks like I've got something else to work. I've noticed jazz charts are pretty good for this, because they're usually not that complicated. I got some to learn notation, they've taught me about a dozen things. How far would you go to divide a bar? Saying "1and2and3and4and" seems simple enough.
     
  9. *ToNeS*

    *ToNeS*

    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    You would not last five seconds in my band.

    Spot on! That way you are counting almost every space where your notes are likely to fall, and that's a huge part of why you're counting in the first place. Now, when you run into pieces where the notes slip between the cracks (I write a lot of grooves like this), then it's time to get to grips with counting the e's and a's. Have a listen to the new Mars Volta album; they are very fond of this kind of thing.
     
  10. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I count bars in whatever the smallest division that appears in the groove is. So if I'm playing over a riff in 4/4 that has a 16th note run on the last beat, I'll count the whole riff in 16ths.

    At least I try to do this, sometimes I get lazy but something usually pops up and bites me on the a$$ when this happens.

    I play doom and black metal with progressive influences, so counting is something I have to really keep up on.
     
  11. conk97

    conk97

    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    thats why im not in your band :D
     
  12. *ToNeS*

    *ToNeS*

    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    Think about it. If I would refuse to have you in my band because you don't know your rhythm (and I didn't even have to meet you to make this call, either), other people will reject you for the same reason, too. Work on it.
     
  13. conk97

    conk97

    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    just cause i dont count doesnt mean i cant keep time or know rhythm.

    I know I really should count when playing so i might start doing it soon.
     
  14. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    An ability to count music is hugely important for any music on any instrument in any genre. If you're not counting, you dont know the rhythm. You're geussing.

    After you do it for a long time, you stop thinking about counting 1e+a2e+a3e+a4e+a in your head, but don't think you ever stop counting.
     
  15. conk97

    conk97

    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    fair point.

    I have done counting while playing bass b4 but didnt like it. Do you count when playing with your band or do u rely on the drums?
     
  16. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    The band takes the time from our drummer, but we don't rely on him.

    Neither of the guitarists in this band count, and trust me, you can hear it. We all play in time, don't get me wrong, but they aren't tight with me and the drummer. That's what it comes down to really. They won't listen to me when we talk about it. Hopefully recording will be an eyeopener for them. You can really hear the lack of tight counting when things are recorded.
     
  17. conk97

    conk97

    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    well im gonna try and start counting while practicing at home.
     
  18. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    Counting while practicing with a metronome really helps your time and your ability to stay tight in the pocket. It takes patience though, but it's worth it. :D
     
  19. conk97

    conk97

    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    I practice with a metronome all the time.

    Just a question: when counting with a metronome will this make counting in a band situation easier?
     
  20. PunkerTrav

    PunkerTrav

    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    I think so. It makes sure your are counting right on the beats. So if not easier, more accurate. The tendency is to rush your playing as you subdivide the beats further. The metronome keeps you right in time.

    Since you already practise with a met., I don't think you notice it being easier or harder at all.