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Counting Beats - Far More Confusing Than I Expected!

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
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3,021
As it looks like my rhythm and blues band may be back on track (we're auditing two singers on Tuesday who may just be perfect - fingers crossed), I've been exploring the Detroit scene to find more songs the band can do. I'm absolutely adamant that we avoid the cliché cheesy songs as much as possible, and if we have to have a few in there because the audience wants them then the rest of the set is made up of incredible tracks that are instantly danceable even if only the most rabid Stax/R&B fan would actually know the song.

One of the songs I really like, that I think we can make sound great, is a track by Jean & The Darlings. As with all the songs I give to the band, I create an MP3 for them that has the exact arrangement (inc. a proper ending) we're going to play (at least initially) as well as a count-in so that everyone can practise to the song as though they were in the rehearsal studio. And when I've done that I then write horn arrangements. As I've been doing this for a while now it's starting to get easier ... until now. For the life of me I couldn't work out where the first beat of the first bar was.

It took me a while to realise that this song starts on the off-beat of the fourth beat of the count-in and that the hi-hats are also playing the off-beat, which is why it sounded odd when the main melody came in, not to mention making counting the bars impossible because I had no idea where they actually started.

Even now, I find counting the beats to be a challenge because of the off-beat hi-hats.

How Can You Mistreat The One You Love - tenor - Full Score.jpg

(If you dig out your tenor and find the above is wrong, it's because the above is in concert)

Check out the original song. It sounds simple until you try to count the bars in the intro and then... :D


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwoRpuLwz2M
 

jbtsax

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7,474
Interesting song and underlying rhythm. I'm not sure what notation software you are using, but the syncopated figure in bar 8 is generally written as shown below which I believe makes it easier to read.

1576370156150.jpeg
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,754
Interesting song and underlying rhythm. I'm not sure what notation software you are using, but the syncopated figure in bar 8 is generally written as shown below which I believe makes it easier to read.

View attachment 13757
This isn’t easier to read at all. It’s a five note grouping and one I’ve never read before. It will be better written with ties and grouped by crotchet beats.
 

jbtsax

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7,474
This isn’t easier to read at all. It’s a five note grouping and one I’ve never read before. It will be better written with ties and grouped by crotchet beats.
Is this what you had in mind? If so I agree.

1576422356029.png
 

jbtsax

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7,474
Hang on, what’s the 2nd bar?
The eighth notes/quavers were written with flags instead of beams to show another variation. My first post in the thread meant to call attention to the fact that the beam on the first eighth note/quaver was pointed in the wrong direction.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
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1,754
The eighth notes/quavers were written with flags instead of beams to show another variation. My first post in the thread meant to call attention to the fact that the beam on the first eighth note/quaver was pointed in the wrong direction.
The first bar only is correct. The second bar is incorrect as the 8th note stands alone. It should be beamed to the 16ths thus making grouping in terms of quarter (crotchet) beats.

Good grouping within a bar firstly allows the half-point of the bar to be easily seen, and then rhythms are grouped according to the type of beats implied by the time signature. Some groupings have been relaxed over the past 50 years, but only if they are still an easy, obvious read.

As an arranger or composer, there is no point in writing parts that are harder for your musicians to read than they need to be. This is why shorter, non-classical charts are often written with only 4 bars per line - it's far easier to read.
 

Zugzwang

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491
Firstly CONGRATULATIONS!!
Secondly - why not follow Snarky Puppy’s example and write nothing down - just make midi files of the parts and give people those. They’ll probably thank you.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,552
Have you ever been a lead vocalist?
Yes I have, and what I did/still do in vocals is only related to the groove the rhythm section has. I have sung in a few choirs and that is a very different experience form being lead vocal in a rock/pop/r&b band.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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13,265
Is this what you had in mind? If so I agree.
The problem there is the semiquaver tied across the beat. That would be fine if it was meant to be long, but in the original quaver (8th note) across the beat was staccato.

So it is better to write that as a semiquaver followed by semiquaver rest - which is basically the length same as a staccato quaver. (or at least within a gnat's crotchet of the same length depnding on how you want to define staccato)

Theoretically you mcould tie the semiquaver across the beat to another semiquaver, and add the staccato dot but that is not very elegant and superfluous. So, I would prefer as Veggie Dave posted:

 
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Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
1,754
The problem there is the semiquaver tied across the beat. That would be fine if it was meant to be long, but in the original quaver98th note) across the beat was staccato.

So it is better to write that as a semiquaver followed by semiquaver rest - which is basically the length same as a staccato quaver. (or at least within a gnat's crotchet of the same length depnding on how you want to define staccato)

Theoretically you mcould tie the semiquaver across the beat to another semiquaver, and add the staccato dot but that is not very elegant and superfluous. So, I would prefer as Veggie Dave posted:

Agree. I forgot about the staccato notes.
 
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