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Trouble with sycopated rhythyms and counting

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by greekorican, Apr 1, 2009.


  1. greekorican

    greekorican

    Mar 12, 2009
    I just got a copy of Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and I am trying to learn Whats Going On?, but the syncopated 16th notes are giving me quite a bit of trouble. I am doing the obvious counting and clapping, starting slow with a metronome, etc. Are there any exercises I can do to improve my ability to count syncopated rhythms, or just counting in general? A book that you would recommend perhaps?

    Thanks
     
  2. JtheJazzMan

    JtheJazzMan

    Apr 10, 2006
    Australia
    firstly, thats a great book to work through. it will really help your rhythm and feeling.

    secondly how are you counting the bars?

    try splitting problematic bars into the most basic pulse ie

    1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a

    then count out each semiquaver. so take a tricky bar like the Amaj7/B bar just above "CHORUS 2" (6th line down on second page)

    1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a

    play/clap the notes in bold while saying the pulse
     
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Its been recommended to use beginning snare drum books.
    Maybe get a teacher to help you out to start with.
    Latin music has syncopated rhythms as well.
    Check out: http://www.teoria.com/exercises/ritmo.htm
     
  4. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    break the bars down into the smallest chunks possible... if you approach a full bar you're not familar with and try go "ONE ee AND ah two EE AND AH THREE eh AND AH FOUR EHH and AHH" etc, it's a recipe for disaster... break each bar down into single beats

    there are a finite number of ways you can break up 1 beat into 16th notes... so learn to recognise the different ways a beat can be divided up... then learn to deal with how these rhythms 'hang' as they're tied to each other

    you ultimately shouldn't be counting these when you recognise them - you should be beyond that and be instantly, subconsciously knowing what to play... the same ones crop up with Jamerson time and time again.. he frequently starts a bar with two eighth notes.. the second one tied into the second beat

    if it helps, sit down with your copy of Standing In The Shadows of Motown, without your bass, and TAP through the rhythms without having to think about the pitches
     
  5. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    I agree that you should get to the point of seeing the patterns and recognizing the sounds based on sight... but you should also count out the tough ones. And even if you're sight reading and relying mostly on recognizing patterns you should be counting 16th notes and keeping track of where the big beats are. that way if something is notated oddly you can still sight read it.
     
  6. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    +1000
     
  7. paul_wolfe

    paul_wolfe

    Mar 8, 2009
    London
    Two tips.

    There's a book by Louis Bellson - Modern Reading Text in 4:4 Time for All Instruments - that's literally full of bars of different rhythmic combinations. Set your metronome going and TAP through these will improve your reading of rhythms massively (all the notes are at the same pitch, so it just concentrates on rhythm).

    It's pretty cheap, here's a link on Amazon
    http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Readin...bs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238793581&sr=8-1

    The other thing you could do - which I first saw posted by JimK - and you'll need some kind of drum machine, or midi software for this, is to break down the tunes into 4 bar or 8 bar sections and program some drums to match the rhythms of Jamerson's lines.

    JimK did it for some of Muzz Skilling's lines from Living Colour's VIVID album - here's what he wrote:

    Hopefully either or both of those things will help.
     
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Get yourself a metronome (if you don't have one) so will know if you're counting in proper time.
    Go slow at first.
     
  9. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Braintree
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    As all here have stated, great book and so much can be learned from it. When learning such techniques it is all ways good to start at the basics. if you understand that with in a beat there are 3 ways to deliver it, before it, on it and after it. Understanding this and using it in time signatures and rythmns will give you the feelings desire and hear. for example we all know 4/4 is:

    1-2-3-4-2-2-3-4-3-2-3-4-4-2-3-4 or beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat beat

    as an example of 4 bars of 4/4 which is 16 beats. If we use the word beat as a way of spliting up our beat into the 3 ways mentioned of before, on and after, then on the beat would look like this if we use the symbol of ^ to show where the beat or accent is:

    be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at be^at

    with the accent or beat played firmly in the middle of beat.
    If we play before the beat it would look like this:

    b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat b^eat

    with the accent or beat played just before or ahead of the beat as the name suggests.

    And if we play after the beat it would look like his:

    bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t bea^t

    with the accent or beat now played later or after the beat as the name suggests.
    The blending of some or all of the techniques will give you basic variation or syncopation on a straight simple rythmn or beat, making it seem more complex than it is for example.

    be^at be^at b^eat b^eat be^at be^at b^eat be^at b^eat b^eat be^at b^eat be^at b^eat bea^t bea^t

    Whether these are true notes, muted, or ghost notes will add to the variation and syncopation or what you play. Country, blues and folk music have great examples of playing before, on, and behind the beat which are quite easy to follow when you have the idea down.
    Then you can move to spliting the beat a bit more adventuresly as in

    b^ea^t b^e^at^ be^at bea^t^ b^e^at be^at and so on

    by spliting the beat within itself with muted, ghost and real notes, with in triplet and so fourth.
    Hope this visual representation helps rather than confuse when you come to play them. LOL :)
     

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