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Emily's Exploration - Swing, Syncopation & Other Uneven Music
Still learning to communicate what I feel in music.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (21 votes) 
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ELCBK
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February 20, 2024 - 12:52 am
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Geez, seems like such a simple concept...

 

...yeah, just add syncopation! 

Like the tip about testing a melody out using only ONE pitch.

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I read something a couple weeks ago & got too sidetracked to share it back then, but it was a discussion at Gearspace (too old for me to join in) - "Irrational Tempos to create Groove and Swing"

I 'think' they are talking about when we count in different swings and uneven rhythm, we probably aren't going to be in an exact BPM, maybe say 95.65 not 95 & if quantized to '95 BPM' it loses the 'feeling'.  They might also be talking about some natural variation in tempo that might happen in a small ensemble/band that puts some extra expression in their music (?) 

Maybe it IS worth comparing good old recordings to a metronome (not Classical) - if just to understand music used to be played by small ensembles/bands that sounded GREAT, but NO click track was ever used & maybe they sounded so good because their groove was more important than a nonfluctuating tempo!  

Listening to old recordings (pre-DAW), maybe it's important to reference, "The first stereophonic recording with two separate channels on one magnetic tape were made in 1943" (A History of Audio Engineering and Magnetic Recording Before 1943).  The 1st multiband equalizer was made in the US by Bill Putnam in 1958 at Universal Recording (Wikipedia).

 

🤔... it still seems weird the Gearspace thread doesn't talk about 'irregular tempo', instead of 'irrational rhythm', because (to me) even if a BPM is a fraction (and BPM is NOT rhythm) - if it's kept constant... who's going to feel the difference vs a tempo that's not a fraction? 

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February 24, 2024 - 3:36 am
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@ABitRusty -

In some ways it actually helps feel the space between beats more. meaning all the swing and syncopation comes more naturally when referenced to something. It doesnt mean that clock isnt there without it but its helpful when practicing so when you are with others youve practiced playing with something other than your own internal clock...or perception of it. it helps to exercise listening to something other than what your doing along with what your doing. it helps to show where maybe rushing notes or letting them sound too long. and id probably say that people that have been playing with others and same tunes for a long time may have those tunea so well inside them that THEY are the clock. they become the metronome for others in a way. but i doubt that was the case when just starting.

 

Yes - so if folks (who play well together) know what they want to express and happen to vary the tempo and rhythm a little - maybe there's a reason.  Does it have to be 'fixed' in editing & processing? 

Maybe a 'one' beat is being stretched in places.  What if they aren't messing up, but the groove ends up taking them somewhere better?  To me, waves of water can have a 'groove', but that kind of movement or 'feel' might require adjustment in tempo & rhythm - which (to me) can't be wrong if everyone is riding the wave.

Maybe I took it wrong... the general feeling I got from the guy that started the discussion at Gearspace - was 'before' the time of mixing & processing, folks were playing great music together that maybe had more soul because it wasn't being edited, shaped & stuffed in a box. 

 

I like to look back listening to 'old' recordings as a glimpse of not only talent, but a feeling of connection to folks in the past.  I've wondered if we are in danger of losing that connection with all music recorded in the near future, maybe even all live performance recordings, if they always have to be made 'perfect' - processed perfectly... nothing out of line... geez, no sign of human life... 

 

When listening to old 78's, does anyone ever think to clock any of these with a metronome? 

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ABitRusty
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February 24, 2024 - 3:53 am
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idk.. i think of a metronome as a tool.  at some point there wasnt a violin and someone made one.  things progress.. but that doesnt mean use a violin in all music. 😉🙂 music can have life and feeling with or without a violin.

Yes - so if folks (who play well together) know what they want to express and happen to vary the tempo and rhythm a little - maybe there's a reason.  Does it have to be 'fixed' in editing & processing? 

maybe...maybe not..  depends on them i guess.  

all im saying about time keeper devices is they can help keep time.  and just because their used doesnt mean the music wont have life.  It will depend on the person(s) for that.  the time and its divisions are already there.  the metronome or click doesnt create it..it shows where it is.

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ELCBK
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February 26, 2024 - 1:06 am
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Well, I can drive myself a little batty subdividing beats with a metronome, but I can see it is necessary when trying to make sense of off-beat rhythms! 

Think his approach could apply/help us learn to play with ALL uneven rhythms! 🤗

 

...too much thinking before bedtime! 

 

fb4ebc871b3e30cf7d7fdabbfffa58d9.jpg

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Worked on a few tunes today, with a little different rhythms. 

A tune in 5/8, an original from folkviola, "Lullaby of The Holly Tree"

I'll be saying goodbye to Winter with this one! 

 

 

...got plenty of practice in on my Maezarine, earlier today! 

DONE. 😊

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stringy
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March 6, 2024 - 4:07 pm
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I have real trouble with slip jigs myself.

That Haas tune is really odd rhythm  reminds me of something else but I can't put my finger on it

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@stringy -

The only way I can remember the rhythm for Slip Jigs is to think of hearing "The Rocky Road to Dublin" - and I have to think of hearing "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" to remember the rhythm of Slides

Irish Polkas mess me up! 🥴 

 

One of the best Jacob Collier interviews I listened to yesterday has a great little section on why he likes to make grooves with uneven subdivisions (starting at 10:58). 

Jacob Collier has a fabulous perspective on understanding & being creative with music! 

 

Something for everyone in the video! 

Especially LOVE about his tuning piano to JUST Intonation - for the pitch drift effect I was concerned about when I was first tuning my 6-string Violin in 5ths!  ...he plays many instruments, NOT violin - possibly inspired to consider this by his Mother, or Grandfather, both Violinists.   

...also LOVE (starting at 9:15) that Jacob talks about the difference in sound/feeling a key (D is the example) sounds when A is tuned to 432 vs A440! 

 

1. Negative Harmony again (0:07)

2. Tuning (5:35)

3. Groove and Subdivision (10:58)

4. This Thing on the Harmonizer (16:24)

5. Crazy She Calls me / Voice Leading (18:03)

6. Emotion vs Information (22:16)

7. Close to You / Voice Leading (31:02)

8. The Human Voice (32:53)

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ELCBK
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March 7, 2024 - 2:42 pm
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Okay... NOW I don't feel so bad about what I hear in quite a bit of 4/4 music I LOVE! 😳 

Be nice if more folks would consider how much help rests can be when notating, or maybe even use time signature changes - IT WOULD MAKE MY LIFE MUCH EASIER trying to interpret them!  ...probably would drive sight readers crazy.

 

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So, the last few videos got me back thinking about Freemount Bypass - on Sharon Shannon's Renegade album by Jim Murray & Dezi Donnelly. 

I don't have any problems playing the melody, on violin & in rhythm, because I first heard how the tune was played - by those who created it.  If I would've learned Freemount ByPass from the notation at thesession.org (as a Reel in 4/4 time & a different key), I would have missed out on learning the rhythm correctly! 

I love this video, "Syncopated Emphasis for Reels: 12312312 - Free Fiddle Lesson"... but it's ridiculous to believe there's only ONE way reels can be, or are, syncopated!

Btw, it's one thing to take a reel, jig, or waltz, etc... and DECIDE to play it syncopated.  I think it only becomes a travesty if a tune's original intent IS syncopation (or if someone wants to convey syncopation), but it's not notated as such. 

As I've learned more, while here on the forum, I believe a time signature of 2/4 better serves "Freemount Bypass" and some other 'syncopated reels' - with maybe a few bars of 4/4 in places.  A bunch of sixteenth notes won't seem so bad.

"Songs that use 2/4 time" (David Bennett Piano) - explains why 2/4 is used.

 

It's hard to see the whole picture without paying attention to the percussion rhythm.  I hope that it won't be long before I'm able to get what I'm feeling/hearing (in these types of tunes) down in notation - but by using more than a melody line! 

I'm pretty sure I would be able to see more of what's going on with "Freemount Bypass" by using PreSonus Studio One.  First, I'd like to try to notate the relationship of the melody rhythm to the percussion rhythm (which has TWO different 1 bar rhythms that alternate) so I can compare it to what I see with Studio One.  

Even if I notate Freemount Bypass in 2/4 time, when listening to the original video it can still just feel right to drum my fingers in sixteenth triplets, plus there's a different overall groove - AND some swing felt, but hard to tell the percentage.  So, I'm not sure exactly how many rhythms are working together in this tune - AND, I don't know enough yet to tell (by hearing) whether, or not, if there's a rhythm 'nested' within another... maybe giving me more reason to see what I can find out in Studio One.

Creating energy by subdividing beats - I still want to learn more about Nested Rhythms vs Metric Modulation

Nested Tuplets Rhythm (Jonathan Curtis) 

 

So, I can handle Polyrhythm & Polymeter, but POLYTEMPO? 

...idk, this is maybe getting too messy for me! 😕

"Polytempo Music" - teaser from Brian Baumbusch! 

 

Let's Compose... A String Quartet Playlist (Edward Caine) - the one video on figuring out the metric modulation - completely broke my brain. 🤯😖 

facepalm Jeez, guess I better order the extra memory for my new laptop (forgot to do) & get all my stuff transferred... probably going to run out of time to use PreSonus before Fiddle Hell (too many family plans), especially if I want to keep up with practice, but we'll see!

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Even if I notate Freemount Bypass in 2/4 time, when listening to the original video it can still just feel right to drum my fingers in sixteenth triplets, plus there's a different overall groove - AND some swing felt, but hard to tell the percentage. 

I really need to talk more about this 'tapping thing' I've started doing to some 4/4 reels I feel are syncopated, because it can't be a coincidence this triplet 'roll' is working so well!  

Btw, I am definitely drawn to these types of reels! 

Only recently started doing this 3-finger, sixteenth triplet tapping with my right hand while listening - not sure why.  Something just 'clicked'... maybe because recently I've been practicing a similar fast, but 4-finger action using my left hand, running down all 6 strings - just 1st position, but fast. 

 

idk... it's probably NOTHING, but 'feels' like I'm on the edge of discovering something important about these rhythms!  Not sure why I'm feeling the need to subdivide these beats into triplets - or if I'm recognizing a polyrhythm in these tunes I LOVE... don't know if it will make me want to change how some reels are notated (or just how I think of them). 

I've been practicing "Farewell to Miltown" - by Junior Crehan & learning from this video.  FEELING THE EXACT SAME THING WITH THIS REEL!  

 

Sorry, I'm probably not making a lot of sense - can't think about this anymore tonight, but it's not going away...  

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March 10, 2024 - 3:47 pm
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@elcbk said

Btw, it's one thing to take a reel, jig, or waltz, etc... and DECIDE to play it syncopated.  I think it only becomes a travesty if a tune's original intent IS syncopation (or if someone wants to convey syncopation), but it's not notated as such. 

I reached to a group that tours internationally about a tune they played on an album.   Wasnt really expecting this but one of them replied and said it was an original tune and attached a notated version.

it was reel and they notated it in 4/4 without any ornamentation..just like youd see on thesession.  I was excited they responded and elated they actually sent a copy.  how cool.

It is what it is..an aural tradition mainly.  we do our best.

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I slowed the last video (Farewell to Miltown) WAY down... like I'd normally do just to learn it. 

Okay, this 'triplet thing' I'm feeling is NOT even... it's kinda limping, like a horse's canter, but faster yet - the sound of Galloping, but a little more subtle.  Maybe I'm just latching on to a groove.  It's just hard to tell when reels are played so fast.   

Jeez, hope it's not just the 'power of suggestion' kicking in - because not only have I been watching a lot of Jacob Collier videos lately, but last week I also spent time looking at Drunk Rhythm/Drunken Beats (a type of swing popular in Hip Hop). 

Compared to the Collier video at 12:19 (post 68), where he describes a '4-2-3/4-2-3' 6/8 groove ratio... I think I'm feeling '3-2-4/3-2-4/3-2-4/3-2-4' in 'Farewell to Miltown'!  So, for a reel - I can't say it's 12/8 time, because the accent's wouldn't fall right. 

Why not just drop the feel of a pickup & go with '4-2-3/4-2-3'?  ...nope, just not quite the way I'm feeling it. 🥴

Had enough thinking for today, but think I should take a closer look at the strumming pattern Ben Williamson is doing on the bouzouki - as he accompanies Grace Broadhead in the "Farewell to Miltown" video.  I'm sure it will tell me something.

 

 

Really like this "'drunken' backbeat with septuplets' feel (at approx 3:19 in the video)!  Maybe this would be great to push in a reel like "Farewell to Miltown"!  Like the video talks about what to do in DAW electronically for the 'dubstep' feel. 

 

 

Couple of good articles: 

Drunken Beats - Beat Production

Attack Magazine shows how to get an extreme "Drunk Drummer-Style Groove" - Don't know if I'll ever have any use for this extreme, but the process of getting it is interesting & it does give  a much more random feel - may come in handy when going for a 'swarm effect'.

I'm probably thinking of too much at one time, but still think I'm on to 'something good'. 😎  

 

Whoops... almost forgot - for syncopated reels, I want to recommend practicing not only the earlier bowing video (1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2), but the Hooked Bowing video - only, play sixteenth notes (jump-start speed)!  Christian Howe also has an excellent video about how to prepare bowings that work out better for fast syncopation Jazz Violin Bowing - Groove 2 Ways (all videos posted in the SynCoPAtiOn! thread). 

For me, it's not so much going FOR a pattern of bowing as it is feeling the groove & being prepared with the moves FROM those patterns.  ...once I've learned a tune, I take time to chose fingerings vs string crossing effects & refine bowing for the smoothest, quickest changes.

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March 11, 2024 - 4:33 am
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@ABitRusty -

I don't know how I missed your reply! 

Was the tune played in a syncopated way? 

 

All my foolin' around here is only to help me see how things fit together & help explain why I like certain things. 

Jeez, sooooooo glad I looked over the SynCoPAtiOn! thread - forgot all about using 'IMAGINARY barlines' (post 59) for helping to see & notate syncopation better! 

I'm sure this is what has held me up with some music I've wanted to notate!!! 

Saw that Sibelius has a Renotate Rhythms feature - which can do some of this automatically.  I have more to explore in my Notion Mobile app

 

 

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