The organization of sound in a temporal framework

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21
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How can I teach a student who seems to have no rhythm?

I've been teaching a highschool kid acoustic guitar lately and even though everything related to the left hand is progressing well, he is having major problems with his rhythm. To give you the full ...
17
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3answers
524 views

What is this beat and why is it so popular

In many concert etudes, along with several rock songs, there is an accented pattern that often serves as a link to a new section of the music. It also works as a great fill. It usually comes from the ...
16
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6answers
312 views

Varying rhythms on bass

I've gotten into something of a bad habit in which I either play things in a steady rhythm, in triplets, or galloping, but without much variation, and I feel like I'm stagnating. What are some good ...
16
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3answers
2k views

When playing drums behind the beat, what instruments define the actual beat?

As a drummer, I'm trying to improve my micro-time to put more feeling in the grooves I play. For certain songs (ballads for example), you usually try to get a "laid-back" feeling by playing slightly ...
16
votes
1answer
272 views

How to learn to play 'out of phase' with yourself?

There's a Piano piece by Steve Reich called piano phase, in which the same notes are played on 2 pianos (usually by different people), but over time, they shift out of phase with each other. Here's ...
15
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5answers
515 views

Teaching Bandmates to Count

I started out as a classically trained guitarist and spent my high school years playing bass in a (school) jazz ensemble, so I have some (limited) formal musical training. Playing rhythm in Jazz ...
14
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8answers
2k views

How useful is a metronome for playing the piano?

I've been learning to play the piano for over a year and a half now, and have never used a metronome to date. My rythm and tempo are usually decent, at least after playing the piece properly a few ...
14
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4answers
1k views

What exactly is the act of playing behind the beat?

I am a guitarist trying to improve my rhythmic feel and have been told to play a little more behind the beat. This is in a studio setting. How should I approach this to be more consistant in playing ...
14
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3answers
745 views

How can I develop an interesting or challenging 8-Beat rock rhythm?

The band I play with generally wants a simple 8-beat rhythm but I can find it a bit boring to play! So I'm looking for suggestions/tips/sheet music/video on how to develop a standard 8-beat drum ...
13
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4answers
516 views

How to develop rhythmic sophistication in writing music?

Often times when I'm writing or producing some music on my computer I tend to follow the usual and annoying pattern "standard" beat pattern, like when you have a metronome that ticks and you start or ...
12
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8answers
8k views

What exercises can I do to improve my timing?

I recently made a recording consisting of overdubs in GarageBand. Playing it back, I was horrified to hear that while I felt as if I was in the groove while recording, I had actually been wildly ...
12
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1answer
231 views

Four dotted sixteenths in a triplet

The following excerpt is from a piece called Brincado by the Brazilian composer Alberto Nepomuceno from the collection 5 Little Pieces for the Left Hand (imslp) How should I count this?
11
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5answers
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Teaching rhythm to a beginner

I'm teaching viola to a beginner high school student. His progress with technique and reading are pretty good, but one thing he has trouble with is rhythm and tempo. He tends to want to work on ...
11
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2answers
4k views

How to work out a strum pattern?

Annoyingly most guitar players seem to 'just play' a rhythm/strum pattern and it sounds like a song. What advice can the community here give someone who is trying to go beyond playing 4 downs to ...
11
votes
3answers
272 views

Is there a name for this sort of ambiguity with respect to the rhythm of a piece, and/or is this a recognized technique in composition?

If you listen to the first 40 seconds or so of Veridis Quo by Daft Punk, you'll probably feel like you have a pretty good idea of the beat of the song, each of the chords starting on the first beat of ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Performance practice of Viennese Waltz

Occasionally, when I listen to an orchestra playing a Strauss waltz or something similar, I hear something interesting in the background rhythm of 'boom chik chik' in that the first 'chik' happens ...
11
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3answers
563 views

Basic Punk Rhythm Guitar--Snare Feels Like Down Beat

I'm a pretty good guitarist, and I can play some tricky rhythms (weird time signatures, syncopation, some of the easier djent stuff) but I've always had trouble when my drummer starts to play anything ...
10
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5answers
513 views

Keeping rhythm when performing live without a drummer

I'm a member of a small band, and a common problem that arises when playing faster-paced music is keeping everyone in sync, rhythm wise. It goes without saying that one person falling out of time can ...
10
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4answers
420 views

What's this rhythm called?

I often hear this rhythm in accompaniments in contemporary music: |x---x---x---x---| Beat |--x--x--x--x--x-| Lead 1.:.2.:.3.:.4.:. That is, it's a 4:3 polyrhythm but with a single quarter note ...
9
votes
5answers
5k views

How to tell the time signature of a song by listening?

Every song has some kind of time signature even if different parts of the song have different time signatures there is always a time signature. When learning a song by ear and no score, knowing the ...
9
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6answers
657 views

Triplets in 9/8 time

How do eighth note triplets work in 9/8 or 6/8 time? I know in 4/4 they take up the space of two eighth notes but haven't been able to figure out how they work in 8.
9
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2answers
1k views

Making sense of 5/4 time signatures

Normally, we're told that 5/4 is usually 3/4 + 2/4 or 2/4 + 3/4. (At the very least, it's unusual to have a meter that large without "secondary stress" beats.) However, how do we make sense of the ...
8
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6answers
351 views

English translation for “rubato”

Most italian musical indications and concepts are easy to translate in one or two words (largo, presto, crescendo, ...) but it is difficult to find even an approximation to rubato. Any suggestions?
8
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4answers
332 views

Samba percussion for songwriters

I'm a song-writer (a guitar player) and I need to write drum parts for myself. I discovered how cool the brazilian samba carnival percussion is (not the watered down European jazz-samba), but haven't ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the best method for learning how to play triplets over quavers?

I've always struggled to play pieces where one part is in quavers (or any multiple thereof) and another is in triplets (or any odd number). I'm going to have to finally conquer it, as I am attempting ...
8
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3answers
5k views

Rhythm/Drum exercises without drums

I am a 24 year old computer engineering student who just have started playing drums. I spend on avarage 1 hour on bus to school and 40-60 min on exercise like running, biking, etc every day. My point ...
8
votes
2answers
157 views

What is a good way to train one's mental resources for improvising?

I find improvising to be the most challenging and rewarding part about music. When I first started to improvise I found that the ideas I had were limited to the dexterity of my fingers, but now I am ...
7
votes
2answers
507 views

Understanding the rhythmic structure of a song

I have played drums for a few months. Currently, I play for myself. I do exercises from stick control, but I also want to 'play along' to songs. Given a song A, how do I start playing along? By ear? ...
7
votes
3answers
812 views

What is and what is not syncopation

I'll often hear tunes in which the first note is upbeat and the second is downbeat. When is it sycopation and when is it not? For one of many examples, take "Amazing Grace." The "A-" is a weak beat ...
7
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1answer
2k views

What kind of acoustic guitars are good for rhythm playing?

I have a Takamine EG260C guitar. It is fundamentally a steel string acoustic optimized for fingerstyle playing (as I gather from Takamine's official site). The strings that I have put on is D'Addario ...
7
votes
3answers
166 views

Intended shift of meter in certain songs?

In pop music, there are some songs that pretend to have the beat accent at a certain time in the intro but with percussion coming in, the beat (apparently) shifts the meter such that you have the ...
7
votes
3answers
430 views

How do you compose tuplets against straight notes?

I would like to know how to compose tuplets of odd numbers against even numbers on the piano (ie. 3 against 2). How would you go around composing something like this? I have been composing for some ...
7
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2answers
134 views

When transcribing a song and the speed doubles or halves, is it best to change the tempo and note values to reflect that or keep them the same?

This is something I've struggled with for awhile now, and applies to both transcription and composition. So, let's say we have a song at 160 BPM. The main subdivision is eighth notes, and the beat ...
7
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5answers
613 views

Strumming, picking patterns for unusual time signatures

If the time signature is 8/8 or 4/4 and let's say we have 8 eighth notes in a bar the picking should just be down up down up down up, etc. But what happens if we have 7/8? Particularly in the next ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How does the Risset Rhythm work?

Many people know about the Shepard-Risset Tone/Glissando, which is a tone that starts low and seems to continue ascending(or descending) when you listen to it, even though it actually is playing the ...
7
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2answers
159 views

What's so off about the intro to Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights?

Now this question is by no means an attack on any conductor or orchestra, nor Prokofiev himself, but why does it seem that it's hard for everyone to get right into time with one another with this ...
6
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9answers
2k views

Why can some people play music well who don't “know music”?

I have seen people who can play instruments well, but can't: 1.Read sheet music. 2.Do not know anything about music theory. 3.Do not know the structures or rhythms of sound, acoustics, or the such. ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Rhythm guitar techniques for a great Blues/Blues Rock player

Firstly, let me say that I've been playing guitar for a couple of years now. I know a few scales (Major, Minor, Blues, Harmonic Minor) and the basic chords with it's different shapes. I've also ...
6
votes
4answers
427 views

When is it proper (if ever) to extend time signatures (8/4 vs 4/4)?

When listening to most contemporary music, in my experience, time signatures tend to be in "common time", or 4/4. But sometimes it feels like the phrase or measure extends beyond the four quarter ...
6
votes
3answers
436 views

How do I make funk rhythm guitar sound fuller and nicer?

Christmas is coming and I'm the rhythm guitarist for our school production of 'The Wiz'. I'm not amazing but I consider myself quite good at guitar but I can't get funk. It just baffles me! I am a ...
6
votes
2answers
402 views

Tips for using complex time signatures in a “catchy” pop song?

I'm looking to write some music in the vein of a band I discovered recently called Icarus The Owl, who use some pretty wacky time signatures (anything from 21/16 into weirder territories) but always ...
6
votes
2answers
234 views

Who plays the chords during a live performance when lead guitarist is soloing? for example Stairway to heaven

I recently watched the live performance of 'Stairway to Heaven' by 'Led Zeppelin'. I had a question while watching that song but it even applies to other songs. See during the section of the song ...
6
votes
3answers
574 views

How can I develop mastery of polyrhythms in playing guitar?

(I am asking this question because someone just posted a question which misused the term "polyrhythm", and subsequently, on realizing the mistake, edited the question to reflect their real question -- ...
6
votes
4answers
359 views

What are the various ways of vocalizing rhythmic figures?

I know of the standard western technique where the beats (quarter notes) are numbered and eighths are vocalized as 'and' and sixteenths are vocalized as 'ee' and 'uh' (One-ee-and-uh Two-ee-and-uh). ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Does this rhythm (dotted 8-16 8 8, hot po-ta-to) have a name?

It is used in some earlier songs of Antònia Font: ...
6
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4answers
631 views

How does “triplet feel” for eighth notes affect non-eighth notes?

I'm a software developer creating a MIDI player that can play with "triplet feel" -- that is, when it sees two eighth notes, it plays them as if they were a triplet of quarter note + eighth note. This ...
6
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2answers
148 views

What is the meaning of the song “Solid Four”?

There is a song by the Andrews Sisters from the 1940s whose lyrics talk about a difference between eight-beat rhythm and four-beat rhythm. For example: The boogie woogie was never like this, ...
5
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5answers
490 views

Keeping a drummer in time with my keyboard

I'm a keyboard player in a party band, and I'd love to be able to use the kind of loop-delay sounds so common on modern processed recordings to fill out the sound. However, I face the immediate ...
5
votes
2answers
555 views

3/2 Time signature

So a bar's duration is measured in beats. A bar's duration can be represented using the whole note, so bar duration in beats is a whole note. Isn't a 3/2 measure just spilling over? 3 half notes is ...
5
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4answers
573 views

Limb independence for non-drummers

I'm a beginning cellist, and one of the things I struggle with is limb independence. The simple act of trying to keep a steady beat with my foot while playing subdivided beats (i.e. 8th notes) with ...