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In desperation of a strong beat...

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Why is it that I just can't keep in time with any jazz backing track that has the traditional double bass, piano, and them swishing brushes on the drums? It's like driving in a fog, I can't make out the road.

I think I'm going to have to give up on it all, move over to Rock and Funk and Blues. Sorry for the rant, but I've just spent a frustrating half hour bashing my head against the music stand thinking, am I half a bar out, or a whole bar? is this even the backing track to this tune, what tune is it anyway...

In desperation of a strong beat and a good reed,

Chris
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
Chris, may I ask what track in particular is causing you this misery?
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Chris, may I ask what track in particular is causing you this misery?
Oh, Taz, if only it were one track, you see I have a small collection of books (same series) that contain all I need for improvisation, yet I find them near to impossible to access.

Hey Chris, it can't be that one can it???

Chris...
Chris, now what would make you think that? And I'm not prepared to cheat and use the 'vibes' track, although I appreciate you sending it on to me. After all how hard can it be?

I've given up for the evening, switched half way though my practice to a new reed, and I can feel it now!

All the best,

Chris
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Try practising with a metronome on beats 2 and 4. Then listen for the cymbals (high hat? Sorry, I'm not a drummer) on your backing track.
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
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3,821
Chris, now what would make you think that?
Hmmm!! Could it be the lack of musical posts in a certain thread:shocked: or the odd comment from guys saying this isn't easy:confused:..Or the sound of laughter:))) from some where north of Munich>:). Where this tune came from. Or just an educated guess..

Chris..
 
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Dave Mac

Honest, I'm Trying
Subscriber
Messages
381
Yep,
I have the same problem with Jazz backing tracks (Jamie Abersold etc). Just can't get the feel of the beat. Gave up ages ago.

Dave.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,667
Here is an idea that Vic Wooten taught me at a workshop. I do this in bed sometimes just before sleep. I now use the tempo app on my ipad but any volume controlled metronome will work

put on a 4/4 beat. Strong 2 and 4 if you like or whichever you doesnt matter. Listen to the beat and get your mind and body grooving with the beat. After a minute or so set the metronome so it misses the fourth beat. This is really fast and easy with tempo and can be done on the fly.

Next use your hand or foot tapping and keep time making sure that you are right on beat one after missing beat 4. Once you have that down miss 3 and 4then 2,3,4. Keep extending out the time as long as you can but only move on when you can easily keep the time over the missing beats. If you have a flashing light that is even easier as then all you have to do is close our eyes for as many beats as you can keep good time.

i did this for months after my weeklong workshop with Victor and got to the point where I could go around 12 bars between glimpses and keep the time. Its way harder than it seems at first but once one gets it down, your internal metronome will get stronger and stronger. Eventually one gets to that point, one can keep a jam in time just by the strength of your rhythmic sense and note emphasis if they start to wander.

if you have a partner who sleeps in the same bed, they will think you crazy.......
 
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Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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2,148
I'm guessing here: you are reading music while trying to play along? To me it sounds like you haven't merged the discipline of reading with listening, so the metronome exercises may not help that much.

Try this with one of the "play along" pieces that you think you know pretty well. Sing the part you would be playing with your horn. Can you do this in time? If yes, then there there's no problem with your hearing and ability to respond in time. If not, then you have a problem (as you suggest) with hearing rhythm in this style. The fix for this is to dance, clap, or use anything that's handy as a rhythm tool to play with the beat until you get it. Once that seems to be a part of you try playing your (sax) part as just rhythm. Next try these as notes by singing them.

Unless you are exceptionally uncoordinated, rhythm problems (and most musical problems), are a matter of hearing rather than mechanical. Once you can hear what you want to play, then it's just a matter of practice. Practicing reading music, without in some way hearing what you are playing or feeling the rhythm, is like wishing for a fried chicken to fly through the window and land on your plate.

You've said that you get the rhythm in Rock. Getting the rhythm in jazz is about listening and imitating. Most have had a lot more experience in hearing and dancing to Rock, so this makes sense. Playing with a metronome isn't likely to give you a feeling for jazz.

Syncopation is also a big part of older style jazz (the sort of stuff in many "play alongs"). But that's another story, and another one that you won't get from a metronome.
 
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Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,089
They need to invent a metronome with a back beat.

They have quite a selection of classic albums on Amazon at low prices. Some second hand as little as 1p plus postage. Perhaps picking a couple of albums you wouldn't normally buy to educate your ear would help.

I load songs I want to learn onto the Mp3 player and stick them on when I'm driving and it seems to go in subliminally, no effort. Just bought a double CD of British Dance Bands from the 1930's, not really jazz but some good old happy tunes in a style I'm wanting to develop.

There's a Jerry Mulligan 8 album set on there which includes his album with just drums and bass, no guitar or piano. Makes good listening too.

Perhaps some dance lessons
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,947
Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced metronome that can drop beats like this ?
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Try this with one of the "play along" pieces that you think you know pretty well. Sing the part you would be playing with your horn. Can you do this in time? If yes, then there there's no problem with your hearing and ability to respond in time. If not, then you have a problem (as you suggest) with hearing rhythm in this style. The fix for this is to dance, clap, or use anything that's handy as a rhythm tool to play with the beat until you get it. Once that seems to be a part of you try playing your (sax) part as just rhythm. Next try these as notes by singing them.

Unless you are exceptionally uncoordinated, rhythm problems (and most musical problems), are a matter of hearing rather than mechanical. Once you can hear what you want to play, then it's just a matter of practice. Practicing reading music, without in some way hearing what you are playing or feeling the rhythm, is like wishing for a fried chicken to fly through the window and land on your plate.
Excellent advice IMO. Another thing is listen to the bass lines.
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
Messages
3,821
Instead of playing with a metronome or full on track use drum loops.No distractions..

Chris..
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
Why is it that I just can't keep in time with any jazz backing track that has the traditional double bass, piano, and them swishing brushes on the drums? It's like driving in a fog, I can't make out the road.

I think I'm going to have to give up on it all, move over to Rock and Funk and Blues. Sorry for the rant, but I've just spent a frustrating half hour bashing my head against the music stand thinking, am I half a bar out, or a whole bar? is this even the backing track to this tune, what tune is it anyway...

In desperation of a strong beat and a good reed,

Chris
You got to be even more on the ball playing with the beat with funk/rock playing to sound legit or get that straight hard vibe on your lines.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
Something I do with my students to help them internalise chord changes, the structure of the piece, and as a consequence - the tempo and beat, is get them to play the arpeggios (or just the root notes if they can't play the arpeggios quickly enough) of each chord, whilst keeping a strong foot tap and counting the time in their head as they play. hope that helps :thumb:
 

Bari251

Member
Messages
66
If you are fairly computer literate, get a copy of Band in a Box.
This lets you set up your own backing tracks with any sort of beat that you fancy.
Malcolm
 

muzza

Member
Messages
109
Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced metronome that can drop beats like this ?
Not as good as being able to drop a beat, but I found on a basic Metronome you can change tempo count to indicate only first beat of a measure or every 2nd beat.

For example, on Metronome that has Tempo (bpm) and Measure (first beat emphasised)
- to get every second beat in 4/4 time, set 1/2 the bpm. i.e. if piece is 80bmp, set 40bpm.
You can set measure "None" to just click every 2nd beat or measure 2 to have one strong and one weak click.
- to get just first beat in 4/4 time, set 1/4 the bmp. i.e. here it would be 20bpm.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
Excellent advice IMO. Another thing is listen to the bass lines.
This is very good advice.

Because I played cello when I was at school, I acquired the habit of always listening to the bass line rather than the melody line. I also acquired the habit if trying to work out the time signature of what I was listening to. Is it in 2, 3, or 4, or worse? Is it simple/duple or compound time?

Even now, I find I do this. It's a waste of time with most pop/rock music since about 99% of it is in 4/4 (serious lack of imagination if you ask me!).

You need to develop the habit of maintaining a steady beat / pulse going (this used to be called a 'tactus'). You need to keep it going regardless of what is happening - cross rhythms, syncopation, hemiolas etc, which are designed to put you off the scent.

Like all skills, it is one that will take time to master. There's a lot to do to translate notation on a page into both melody and rythm - they're two different albeit related skill-sets. It is worth practising tapping out rhythms. If you want a challenge, try the opening page of the Bernstein Chichester Psalms (bit over a minute in before the music starts) it settles into 7/4 after the first page... I have sung this four times now - it is REALLY hard!
 
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