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Toughest Tempo?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Howard K, May 13, 2003.


  1. 40bpm - d o g s l o w

    28 vote(s)
    84.8%
  2. 80bpm - soft rock

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. 120pm - upbeat funk

    1 vote(s)
    3.0%
  4. 160bpm - drum & bass

    4 vote(s)
    12.1%
  1. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    So, which tempo is the toughest to groove at.

    Imagine a line made up of mostly quarter notes with the odd accent here and there. Nothing too demanding on the ol' brain, just a straight ahead bass line...

    So which tempo would use up most of your internal clocks batteries?
     
  2. I think slow tempos are the hardest to keep time to, but that's just me.
     
  3. I knew you'd make this poll, Howard.
     
  4. And it still doesn't make you right! Hehehe

    If 80% say slow tempo, then it only means 80% like slow songs, or play slow songs, or it's hard for them (not neccesarily anyone else). Still won't make it better, my friend, your beating your head against a wall now.

    (this controversy is getting amusing)
     
  5. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    ...Or maybe it is that you don't appreciate the challenging aspects to playing slowly.

    It's easy to play a slow song badly, and it may not notice that much. Whereas if you play a really fast tune badly, it might well be much more obvious that you can't play it.

    The thing is, slow songs can drag, really easily. Especially if your bassist and drummer aren't on the ball. You think "oh, this is easy", and you lose concentration, and it drags...
     
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Slow - obviously.

    There's more time to count in between beats in a slow piece.

    I'll take a fast tune anyday.
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It depends - there are two questions here really.

    So - one question is which is hardest to play accurately - slow, unquestionably!

    But there is also the question of endurance, stamina - whatever you want to call it. So this is a factor on fast tempos, but is not about musical ability or accuracy, but rather physical fitness - so how long can you keep up blazing tempos? Probably not as long as you could play slow ballads.

    I think you have set the fast end too low - so at Jazz Summer school on one session, as sax player asked about fast tempos and I got to be part of a rhythm section for the demonstration that included two Jazz pros (guitarist and drummer) and me ! :eek:

    So - we started just playing a 12-bar Blues at 260 and went up to 320. It wasn't hard mentally, although my nerves were frayed at being the weaker link in the chain and not wanting to mess up! ;) But it was definitely a physical challenge and I couldn't have played too many numbers like this!!

    But that's just because I'm unfit - my feeling was that the Jazz pros could have played this stuff all night and I have been to gigs at my local Jazz club where I have started counting the tempo and been amazed at how fast it is and how the drummers manage to keep it up without flagging on tunes that last 15-20 minutes at close to 300!!
    :eek:
     
  8. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I don't really think the bpm is the issue, it's the tempo feel - 1/4 notes at 240bpm is similar in difficulty to 1/8 notes at 120bpm and 16th notes at 60bpm.

    1/4 notes at 60bpm is very challenging in terms of the precision of the timing required to keep the groove really happening, whilst 1/16th notes at 240bpm is very challenging in terms of the technique required.

    The way I see it is that playing slow is hard on the brain and playing fast is hard on the fingers.

    Alex

    P.S. I see Bruce has pre-empted me in a less concise but more elegant way...
     
  9. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I guess it depends how you mean 'groove'... if it's 'play something that makes people want to move' then 40bpm is definitely hardest and, even if you just mean 'play so it sounds good', 40bpm is still a challenge, not least because of the difficulty of concentrating and putting every note in the right place - if you hit a duff note, it's going to be that much more obvious when you try to correct it.

    Vaguely related, check out the following article for a very slow tempo:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/arts/highlights/010911_cage.shtml

    Wulf
     
  10. I conceed that those are good points everyone.

    "But there is also the question of endurance, stamina - whatever you want to call it. So this is a factor on fast tempos, but is NOT about musical ability or accuracy, but rather physical fitness - so how long can you keep up blazing tempos? Probably not as long as you could play slow ballads. "

    However, you're calling stamina and agility non-musical qualities, but accuracy is? I always considered the prime quality that makes musicality with a non-percussion instrument to be note choice, and that has absolutely nothing to do with tempo. Accuracy by itself isn't inherently musical either.

    Also, since when is accuracy not important in fast tempos? Have you listened to an accurate fast tempo band, followed by a sloppy fast tempo band. It makes a huge difference. Timing and accuracy is of prime importance in all tempos, period.

    (notice I'm playing the devils advocate and defending fast tempo):bassist:
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I didn't say it wasn't important - just that it is harder to be accurate in slow tempos. You are more "exposed" and slight innacuracies will be more noticable - whereas at higher tempos, you can be slightly out and the difference will not be noticed as it goes past so quickly.

    Nobody will hear a slight innacuracy on a single 16th note at high tempo - but everyone will hear every innacuracy on a very slow tempo.
     
  12. Okay, I agree there. Truce. (i do in fact agree with your points, but there's another side to everything, so you can't disclaim fast tempo either)

    I think this subject is getting old, I need to think up something fresh.
     
  13. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Definitely slow....So what if I can play teen town at 180 BPM, that means diddly, I wonder if I could really play it at 40 BPM though....that would be a challenge.
     
  14. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    yeah, o.k.;)
     
  15. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I'm serious, I found a drum beat on the BNX3 that is very similiar to the teen town beat, so I spent a time practicing at how fast I could get it, roughly 180 was the fastest I could go....it was tough, but not nearly as tough as 40
     
  16. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    post it.
     
  17. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    This just goes to show you that speed isn't everything, I personally think teen town sounds dumb played this fast...but whatever.

    I should note ,this was recorded just a second ago, with no warming up, it was the first time I had picked up my bass today, so it's not perfect:ninja:
     
  18. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Sorry I asked.
     
  19. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    LOL, Teen Town on speed :D

    But, WR, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to insist that you stop playing so damn fast :D

    You're putting me to shame!! I can't play Teen Town at the same tempo as the HW version, let alone that crazy tempo.

    And you're right, Teen Town does sound bloody stupid at that speed. The MIDI drums make me laugh though :D
     
  20. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I love the cheap midi drums in the BNX3....great practice tools.

    but at anyrate, I STRONGLY believe in backing any claims I make, particularly if I am asked to do so, So no need to feel sorry ConU :p

    moley, yeah, teen town does sound dumb that fast, however ,It sounds sick really slow.