Playing 'in time'

half diminished

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Well I've been working hard at my intonation, sight reading, jazz articulation, scales et al and am making some progress.

My 'grade 8 flute' of a daughter was up for the weekend and wants to hear me play something she knows. Well I have a book of TV tunes so I play the theme tune to Miss Marple. Not bad I thought. Apparently not!

"This note was a fraction too long, this too short, you were late there blah blah blah! In fact I think the only note on time was the first! Back to the drawing board!

Any way, got my own back - showed her Funghi Mama and asked her to play it. Sight reading not so good now eh.......
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
It's obviously the jazz improvisation 'play what I feel' that is doing the damage. The obvious solution is to only study 'classical and Victor Sylvester' music and play jazz for the last few days of your life.

How do you know when the last few days of your life begin? Change your user name again. >:)
 

Mamos

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She doesn't seemed to have grasped the concept of jazz and having fun with the music.

We use the music as a guide and give our own interpretation of the tune:)

or something

mamos
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
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It's obviously the jazz improvisation 'play what I feel' that is doing the damage.
Nah, she's right. I cannot seem to keep a steady pulse. My quavers and crotchets vary in length. Wish I could sort it!

Change your user name again. >:)
No.

She doesn't seemed to have grasped the concept of jazz and having fun with the music.

We use the music as a guide and give our own interpretation of the tune:)

or something

mamos
You are right and I think she waxes and wanes with her interest. Mind you that grade 8 piece she is working on is bloomin hard!

I cannot get her interested in jazz at all. Was playing her some Finn Peters this weekend - Su Ling - she was not that impressed. Shame....... :(
 

rhysonsax

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Any way, got my own back - showed her Funghi Mama and asked her to play it. Sight reading not so good now eh.......
Great tune ! That's my ringtone on the mobile phone, much to the embarassment of my children.

I've also got a backing track for Funghi Mama which is fun, but quite a challenge.

A couple of ways to work on the timing (and mine is no good):
  1. Take the study of rhythm away from your saxophone playing, so you only have to think about timing and not technique, pitching etc. So you could do exercises playing a percussion instrument like a wood block. I've got a set of bongos.
  2. Play along with a track that you have written out and make sure that you don't vary from the recording at all. Single instrument lines work best (less distracting) and the recording has to be spot on with the written music. You can do this by making your own tracks using Midi or Notation software.

Good luck

Rhys
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

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Get a metronome.
Yeh got one. And.............?

I guess I need to 'internalise' a steady beat which I am finding difficult to do what with everything else. I use one with my scales practice but I know I'm not really listening to it properly.

Great tune ! That's my ringtone on the mobile phone, much to the embarassment of my children.

I've also got a backing track for Funghi Mama which is fun, but quite a challenge.
Yes it is. I am playing this and also St Thomas which I love. Just love that syncopated beat!!

Was first introduced to Funghi Mama at the Jazzwise Summer school. No way could I play it hardly at all! Then I noticed it's in my AB Real Book and so I tried it. Obviously I'm a bit rubbish and I am 100% sure the timing if off but at least I can get through it. Certainly stumped my daughter!

Where did you get the backing track from?

A couple of ways to work on the timing (and mine is no good):
  1. Take the study of rhythm away from your saxophone playing, so you only have to think about timing and not technique, pitching etc. So you could do exercises playing a percussion instrument like a wood block. I've got a set of bongos.
  2. Play along with a track that you have written out and make sure that you don't vary from the recording at all. Single instrument lines work best (less distracting) and the recording has to be spot on with the written music. You can do this by making your own tracks using Midi or Notation software.
I have/am trying all of the above. I also have some exercises just playing single or multiple notes in specific timings.

The bottom line is though, as soon as I try to 'do it' properly, timing goes to pot. At best I'm 'slightly' - too early, too slow, too fast, too long, too short.

It's as real frustration. I guess the problem is that before August 2007 I had never really played an instrument before and I couldn't read music so it's a long way to come in a short time. At least I'm not trying to play jazz as well!

My daughter has been doing this for more than 8 years.
 

rhysonsax

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Yes it is. I am playing this and also St Thomas which I love. Just love that syncopated beat!!

Was first introduced to Funghi Mama at the Jazzwise Summer school. No way could I play it hardly at all! Then I noticed it's in my AB Real Book and so I tried it. Obviously I'm a bit rubbish and I am 100% sure the timing if off but at least I can get through it. Certainly stumped my daughter!

Where did you get the backing track from?
I got the Funghi Mama backing track from a guy called Skip Peck in the US. He is a really good piano player and was offering a service to record any backing tracks requested, for what was quite a reasonable fee. His son played drums and I think he did a sythesised bass track, but overall very good. Unlike most backing tracks he would do a couple of choruses of piano solo in the middle and it wasvery tasteful.

I don't think Skip found it very financially rewarding. He expected to do some common tunes and then sell the tracks many times over. But I think the common tunes have mainly been done commercially (Aebersold etc) and his requests were for the more unusual numbers, with less mass appeal.

He also did "The Everywhere Calypso" for me that is just a great tune to play on, and quite a bit simpler than Funghi Mama or even St Thomas. You should seek out the Sonny Rollins recording of it and there is also a good transcription of his solo in a book by Charley Gerard. Not to difficult.

All the best

Rhys
 

Mamos

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You can't learn everything at once

You need to chill out and just enjoy playing or you are going to burn yourself out.

A lot of these thing take a long time to get right

I can see that you are a very dedicated and focused person but learning to play an instrument is allowed to be fun as well

Have you tried recording yourself?

mamos
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

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Buckinghamshire
You can't learn everything at once

You need to chill out and just enjoy playing or you are going to burn yourself out.
Yep, well chilled in fact I think I can honestly say taking up the tenor has been one of the best decisions of my life. I just wish I could sort out this timing thing!

You can't learn everything at once

A lot of these thing take a long time to get right
I accept that it's going to take the rest of my life and I'll still probably be rubbish! I don't care, I'm loving it!!! :w00t:

I can see that you are a very dedicated and focused person but learning to play an instrument is allowed to be fun as well

Have you tried recording yourself?

mamos
I don't get much spare time so I generally 'go for it' if I am doing something. What's the point of not putting in the work. No pain no gain as they say!

Something I have now realised is that what I hear when I play is not what others hear. Just yesterday, I started playing close to/facing a solid wall. What a great sound and according to my wife this didn't sound much different to when I play facing her. Totally different to what I hear though. Interesting.
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
I've just enjoyed, along with the neighbours, a two month sabbatical from the tenor. Used to practise two-three hours a day but nothing seemed to be happening, so took time off, messing with the keyboard, MIDI and noodling stick to try and work out where to aim.

Seems to have worked, one or two half hour sessions playing what I want to play and how I'd like to play it, is far more satisfying than a 'must do it' session.

Put the horn down for a few days. See if you can find a cheap flute, a very good substitute and a superb noodling device.

Music should be enjoyable, including conjuring up all human feelings and that means the player as well as the listener. If it isn't then work out why and only then continue in a relaxed manner.

Now back to sleep...................................zzzzzzz........zzzzzzzz....
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
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Location
Buckinghamshire
I've just enjoyed, along with the neighbours, a two month sabbatical from the tenor. Used to practise two-three hours a day but nothing seemed to be happening, so took time off, messing with the keyboard, MIDI and noodling stick to try and work out where to aim.

Seems to have worked, one or two half hour sessions playing what I want to play and how I'd like to play it, is far more satisfying than a 'must do it' session.

Put the horn down for a few days. See if you can find a cheap flute, a very good substitute and a superb noodling device.

Music should be enjoyable, including conjuring up all human feelings and that means the player as well as the listener. If it isn't then work out why and only then continue in a relaxed manner.

Now back to sleep...................................zzzzzzz........zzzzzzzz....
I seem to have given the impression I'm not enjoying this..........but I am!

In another thread I've suggested I'm looking for a noodling instrument - a Xaphoon or some such. Not too keen on the flute though - tried my daughter's and couldn't get a note! Also want something smaller.
 

Semiquaver

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I would suggest using your metronome on a very easy piece of music and work hard at playing the notes in time with the ticks. You may say at first this is easy but sometimes we need to go backwards to progress.

Work up the difficulty slowly. Start to include dotted notes and other rhythyms. But still ensure you are keeping to time.

Use Cd's. if you have a recording of the piece you are trying to learn listen to it with the score. What will happen is that you will recognise the look of certain rhythyms that you find hard. Jazz is full of syncapation that can be tricky to the eye. Listen to them as well. They will sink in.

In previous threads we have talked about words or phrases that help us image the rythym in our mind.

amsterdam, humpty-dumpty are those that are commonly used. My son used words like coke-cola, lemonade.

so quaver,semiquaver,semiquaver = amsterdam.

I do hope this helps you because i know how frustrating this can be.
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
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1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
I would suggest using your metronome on a very easy piece of music and work hard at playing the notes in time with the ticks. You may say at first this is easy but sometimes we need to go backwards to progress.

Work up the difficulty slowly. Start to include dotted notes and other rhythyms. But still ensure you are keeping to time.
Sounds like a good approach to me. I have done some of this before but it just isn't something I've found easy. I guess I need to again! and again...:blush:
Use Cd's. if you have a recording of the piece you are trying to learn listen to it with the score. What will happen is that you will recognise the look of certain rhythyms that you find hard. Jazz is full of syncapation that can be tricky to the eye. Listen to them as well. They will sink in.
The problem with CDs is that it's only good (I find) for keeping in general time. It still doesn't help me that much with keeping note values constant and having that proper 'pulse' that you need. I do try but.....

And I find em all hard!

:verysad


In previous threads we have talked about words or phrases that help us image the rythym in our mind.

amsterdam, humpty-dumpty are those that are commonly used. My son used words like coke-cola, lemonade.

so quaver,semiquaver,semiquaver = amsterdam.

I do hope this helps you because i know how frustrating this can be.
Thanks, I'll try this as well :D
 

Pee Dee

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Dorset
Sometimes I think timing sucks! I was quite happy playing from my tune books, not worrying about correct timing, and considered the music to be ok, the tune was easily recognizable, and was quite pleased with the way I was playing it, with the little twiddly bits and improvs of my own. Then I joined a learning swing band, and went to a teacher, the leader of that band, who said it was very important to play strictly in time, if I want to play in a band.
Well, I guess she is right, but it has thrown me right out, I can't play the tunes as I used to, for trying to play all the notes exactly right! It's like having a split personality, one for the band, and one for soloing. Might have to quit the band so I can get back into playing music the way I want to.
So, unless you're in a band, don't worry about timing. I have various versions of the same tune on CD, by different artists, and they all sound different, and they all sound great;}
 

Semiquaver

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To the two gentlemen above. I would like to politely suggest you are talking rubbish.

I believe playing music is about connecting with others. It is the musician saying something and the receiver (listener) responding.

If you are going to hide yourself away from others because you find playing music properly too hard, you are missing a vital element in our craft.

And I am sorry but if you believe playing free jazz is the easy way out you are very much mistaken. Free jazz does not mean playing anything anyway you like.

Guys I know it is customary on this site to play nicely nicely but you need to rethink what you have said.
 

rhysonsax

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I have various versions of the same tune on CD, by different artists, and they all sound different, and they all sound great;}
ALL the great players have/had excellent time and know exactly where they want to play in relation to the beat. Some might choose to play behind the beat or on top of the beat, but they are doing it deliberately and not because it is "close enough".

Different versions of the same tune can be great and the performer makes it their own, by making variations (subtle or not so subtle) from the written music. If they played only exactly what was written, it would sound like a computer performance and be pretty boring. Changing note duration and placement in relation to the beat are ways of adding interest, but so are note pitch choices, articulation, dynamics etc.

For pretty much any style of music it's necessary to be able to play it "right" (and know what's right) before you start varying deliberately from that.

Rhys
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
ALL the great players have/had excellent time and know exactly where they want to play in relation to the beat. Some might choose to play behind the beat or on top of the beat, but they are doing it deliberately and not because it is "close enough".
For pretty much any style of music it's necessary to be able to play it "right" (and know what's right) before you start varying deliberately from that.

Rhys
Rhys,
What is correct?
One must realise that musical notation, like English, is not an exact matter but full of nuance.

The readings of 'classical' pieces vary according to the conductor, as to speed, dynamics and phrasing, yet might vary day to day as their mood changes. One conductor was notorious for taking items at a faster pace during the second half of a concert so that he could get to the pub before it closed and I AM being serious.

Playing or singing group music is being subjected to a benevolent dictatorship but as the dictators vary as to THEIR interpretation, which one is correct?

"Mine." seems the only answers.

Apologies for being serious.
 

Young Col

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I've had a similar kind of experience. I've taken up music again after many years absence of playing anything (but done plenty of listening) and started seriously on alto about a year ago. I've just got to the point where I feel I need some direction in my learning so I started taking lessons. My teacher is not a jazz player but I was really looking for help on my basic technique and probably self taught bad habits. I was really surprised at my first lesson when we had to go back to basics and concentrate on diaphragm breathing, proper tongue attack, reading - not putting slurs in where they weren't written and vice versa, note length... What I have been doing is putting my own interpretation on pieces, rather than concentrating on proper technique to start with and playing correctly (actually quite important if you ever play with an ensemble - all playing the same note lengths, slurs etc..). So I'm trying to correct these things gradually but still having some fun when I practice - and hoping that what I do will be underpinned by some good technique eventually.

I came across an interesting parallel yesterday when having lunch with an old friend. He has played golf for years, averagely, and wanted to improve his swing, so got some lessons. The pro who taught him started off correcting his grip faults, how to stand correctly, addressing the ball properly, head position etc, before he went anywhere my friend's swing problems. Much the same with music I guess - get the basic technique right.

Colin
 
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