Keeping Time

(10 posts)

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  1. Well guys, I have some questions regarding keeping time.

    I recently got the Kurt Rosenwinkel Trio East Coast Love Affair transcription book and it's really great. I am slowly working my way through the solo to All Or Nothing At All. I have a slow down program on my computer so I can reduce the speed without reducing the pitch and this makes learning it a lot easier. However, when I am playing I cannot get out of the habit of tapping my foot on 1 and 3. Now, I know there is no right way but I am just curious as to how any musicians here keep time when playing uptempo stuff.

    I also find Kurt's rhythmic phrasing quite hard to emulate in some places, although I'm not sure if this is just a case of him being so unique or a time keeping issue. Normally I have no problems at all keeping time in rock tunes, but once the tempo's start going up past 180bpm I am in trouble!

  2. filters
    Member

    practice slowly.
    sing lines with metronome on 2 & 4 slowly. then play them with the guitar.
    be patient.

  3. Sandemose
    Member

    One problem I have is that I can play with a metronome decent. But, I dont think that means good time keeping. Good time is how well your sense of time is internelized. Having a good time bust seen as something independent from playing with a metronome? Perhaps one thing you can do is that you record yourself to a click track that is not audiable to you. You just hear the first four beats, then you are on your own. Then play it and listen how well you keep it with the click track? I think this could be done with Cubase or something...

    Best, Sandemose

  4. jazznan
    Member

    i think the biggest help here is playing with other people, this is where the practice room can stunt your growth, gotta play with others

  5. Quintricacy
    Member

    Time keeping can be learned even away from the guitar. I used to practice something called the "zen" metronome. Basically, set your metronome to a slowish tempo at first, something like 70-80. Try and clap along with the metronome if you're really locked in the sound of the metronome disappears and see how long you can keep it going. If I'm playing fast tempos, I usually just tap my foot on 1, it really gives you a bigger feeling of space as opposed to 1 and 3 or 2 and 4.

  6. Colonel Trane
    Member

    I think jazznan really hit the nail on the head.

  7. silverwater
    Member

    I tap my foot on the 1 and 3 too, Bingefeller, on up-tempo tunes. It's ridiculous to tap your foot on quarters if the tune is at 240bpm.

    It's easier to read charts in cut time at the speed as well: half notes become quarters, quarters become eighths, eighths become sixteenths. If I have to lay out for a while and keep the form, I'll 4 bars like "One, two, two, two, three, two, four, two."

  8. I appreciate all the input, but I have to agree with silverwater on this one. I have tried tapping my foot on 2 and 4 and I just can't keep time on guitar using this method - I am a rock player and have spent years tapping my foot on every beat for rock tunes.

    The cut time trick is what I do too when playing fast tunes so that's why 1 and 3 is helpful to me.

  9. arewolfe
    Member

    Try to learn to feel 4/4 so you don't have to tap your foot at all. This might sound extreme, but from now on for the rest of your life you should play to a metronome on 2 and 4 when you're practicing. It will become part of you at some point. Note: It's helpful to also practice w/ the metronome on other beats, for example "only on beat 2" or "only on beat 4." But as a basic point of reference I would recommend using 2 and 4"as your go-to metronome feel. I even use 2 and 4 when I'm practicing Latin tunes. Not all the time but often.

    You mentioned Kurt's phrasing is hard to emulate in some places on East Coast Love Affair. I think that's because the tempo is so slow on that tune. It gives him a ton of space to work with, so when you break it down and look at the solo on paper, you end up with some wild stuff that might not be played exactly as written. It probably doesn't have as much to do with your time keeping as it does with Kurt's rhythmic phrasing.

    You shouldn't have to tap your foot to keep time. At some point you'll get there if you practice w/ a metronome and play w/ musicians enough. I come from a rock and metal background too but I became possessed by the jazz demon about 7 years ago. I tend to feel everything half as fast as it really is. At a tempo like 240bpm I only think about the down beat on every other measure. If the song is really swinging hard I only think about the downbeat every 4 bars.

    I agree with Sandemose: Good time is internal. Some people are gifted with it, others like myself will always have a weak sense of time. Obviously if you're a jazz player you're likely to be working on your time sense much more than the average musician, but I think some people just "have it."

    Quintracy, that exercise you mentioned is really cool. I've always found it extremely difficult.

  10. I was told of a really simple way without using a metronome to develop your own sense of time. First you play a tune at a really fast tempo and comp for about 8 bars or so (you can do more if it feels necessary). then stop, bring the tempo down(without the metronome) the slightest bit and comp through the tune again. then stop and bring it down slightly again. etc etc. You can also start with a medium tempo and go up or down. or slow and up or down. whatever may be lacking awareness.

    This is so that you can become aware of the differences between slight tempo variations and give you stronger time feel without a metronome.

    It worked for me really well. but thats still only one aspect of keeping time. another thing i did was stopped trying be complex when comping, and to use that focus on my foot keeping time. this way I also payed attention to the time more than anything else to internalize it. then gradually I could start to use my phrases in time.

    Oh and another thing that I did sort of like quintricacies post. set the metronome at a random tempo then make a tempo for you to clap or comp a tune at. Keep time yourself while the metronome plays at a totally random tempo and learn to keep that from swaying you, so you don't get pulled around by other players playing behind the beat or some players that are slowing down.


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