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Playing with a backing track
But can’t hear the beat
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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katie m
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October 31, 2021 - 9:54 am
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I’m playing a piece with a piano banking track but I really find it impossible to hear the beat I’m supposed to play along with. Like if I had the metronome going .

Dan can instantly hear the beat but I’m lost does anyone have any suggestions please?

Thanks,

 

katie

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Jim Dunleavy
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October 31, 2021 - 10:07 am
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My suggestion would be that before you try to play your part with the backing track, just clap along to it to get familiar with where the beat is.

Then once you are confident with that, try singing/humming the violin part with the backing track.

Only once you can do that, try playing the violin part with the track.

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ELCBK
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October 31, 2021 - 10:17 am
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@katie m -

Jim has great suggestions for you! 

I would also ask Dan to help you clap or tap with it, so you can watch him while listening.  Do it more than just a couple times - as long as it takes, then listen even longer. 🎃

Loop it, so you hear it over & over - maybe even while you are doing other things around the house. 

 

- Emily

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ABitRusty
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October 31, 2021 - 11:51 am
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Is it a backing track you have to use for a concert or something?  I was wondering if it isnt the backing track itself being a little off.  If so you could find another to play with.   I guess my question is do you have a problem with any backing youve tried or just that one?

For sure, Jim has the answer on playing with them for otherwise.  repetition as emily said is another thing i like in my own practice.

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katie m
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October 31, 2021 - 2:44 pm
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Thanks for the suggestions!

ABitRusty no my problem is I’ve never done this before so yes any backing track would be a problem. Maybe I’m getting there I have got to get used to hearing the beat in the music 

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ELCBK
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November 1, 2021 - 1:11 am
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@katie m -

Fiddlers and other musicians tap their foot for a reason & read there is some scientific research on the subject, too (very interesting). 

There's a cool video here that might be of help - even though this is in reference to guitar players, it still applies to us. 

Tapping Your Foot While Playing - Why and How

Tapping your foot is essential to create a relationship between you and the music, and it'll help you develop your internal sense of time. 

 

 

- Emily

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katie m
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November 1, 2021 - 6:41 am
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Thanks Emily that’s helpful.

I’m trying to find the beat in the below which is pretty much what my teacher has done for me.

thanks 

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ABitRusty
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November 1, 2021 - 9:07 am
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It sounds like theres some mixed time signatures going on in some of the measures which would make it a little more tricky.   idk didnt listen all the way though.   it sounds like it slows down or something at times across beats..hard to explain.

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Jim Dunleavy
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November 1, 2021 - 11:56 am
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You could try listening to the bass notes, as there is a very distinct pattern in most of that piece (starting in the 2nd bar), where there is a strong low note followed by a higher note (a perfect forth higher in most cases) with a strong accent on it - the second note is the first beat of each bar. The notes are both 1/8 notes by the way, and the speed is at about 112 bpm.

Sometimes the bass pattern goes down for those 2 notes, but that doesn't happen till bar 8, so you should be following the beat easily by then.

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katie m
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November 1, 2021 - 2:45 pm
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Thank you for the suggestions!! 

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SharonC
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November 1, 2021 - 3:33 pm
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Don’t know if the visual of the sheet music while the piano plays is helpful, but here's one:

It’s in 4/4 time, but there are a couple of places where it switches to 2/4 for a measure, then it returns to 4/4.  During the 2/4 measures, there is a ritardando, and then it returns to normal tempo on the 4/4 (so what aBitRusty noted is true).   

Piano base notes mostly 8ths, so counting is “1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &. . . .

Pretty piece—

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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katie m
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November 1, 2021 - 5:46 pm
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Thanks Sharon

This is my music. So I get that it’s in 4/4 but I’m really stuck on how I count the notes. So even though it’s in quavers I want to count crotchets because it’s 4/4. But then I have to play my part and listen to the piano. Basically I’m completely confused and don’t know how to count the 4/4, the notes for my violin part and the notes for the piano! I’m basically completely confused !

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katie m
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November 1, 2021 - 6:25 pm
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Actually thinking about it I can easily hear the beat if I’m counting in quavers so 8th notes like you say. I was thinking I should be counting in crochets 1/4 notes because it’s 4 beats to the bar. 

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SharonC
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November 2, 2021 - 9:26 pm
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@katie m 

It can be confusing.  Like you don’t have enough to do on the violin, you’ve got a piano doing a whole different thing—and somehow, you’re supposed to fit your part in.  I get it. 

When I was first trying to play duets with my teacher, I found myself confused by what I was trying to play, & hearing her play something different threw me off.  Like all things violin, you’ll get better at it with time.  But at the root of it is the rhythm thing—it’s your anchor.

In your version, it looks like the piano just maintains a steady quaver pattern for most of it, which can make it easier to focus on counting just your part. 

The problem with trying to play with a pre-recorded track is that you may not know your part well enough yet to play at the recorded tempo.  A lot of practice time is spent 1) slowing things down, 2) breaking music into chunks-- a few measures (or a few notes) at a time.  It can be really difficult to play at tempo if you haven't got the tune under your fingers yet.

Before playing it, I’d recommend counting your part out loud while tapping the beat out with your hand.  Since the beat is in crochets, you should always count the numbers, and any quavers upbeats you play.  So, for the first 11 measures of your version (bold is the notes you play, unbold you have rest, underline is sustaining note), it would sound like this: 

1  2  3  4 | 1  2  3  4  &| 1 & 2 & 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 & |

1 & 2 & 3 4 & |1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 & |1 & 2 & 3 4 &|1 & 2 & 3 4 |

1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 & |etc.,

While you’re counting it out loud, you should tap you hand on a table (or something) the 4/4 beat 1 2 3 4|1 2 3 4|  So, you’re hand is always tapping on just the number—the beat. 

After you've done that, you should try to play the first few measure, saying your counting out loud just like you did above.  If you get confused, slow the tempo down. 

After (after) that, then I'd try to play with the track.

smile

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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katie m
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November 3, 2021 - 3:41 am
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Brilliant thank you Sharon !! I will do everything you said it makes more sense to me now!!

Yes thats exactly how I feel so much going !! But thanks for explaining I get it :)

Katie

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Gordon Shumway
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November 3, 2021 - 6:43 am
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Backing tracks are pretty horrible.

If you play a duet with a teacher, they will pause if you pause. Backing tracks don't know you exist.

There are two possible problems: - a) the backing track has a beat but you can't hear it, or b) the backing track lacks a beat. Backing tracks with rests are awful, as you have to count the beat in silence and hope your timing hasn't drifted. To avoid that, a click track in addition to the backing track is useful, but the whole thing then becomes a bit mechanical with no chance of rubato. So the music genre matters.

I'd suggest starting with something with a strong beat but slowish. Too fast and you will panic when you get lost. If you are relaxed you'll be able to pick it up again.

If it's very slow (e.g. Bach largos), then counting quavers is often the best approach.

Walking on the Air - the problem is perhaps partly that the piano's arpeggios don't have a strong beat and partly that it might not be slow enough. I wouldn't recommend counting quavers. Also of course you have to have the backing track at the right volume so you don't drown it out.

Andrew

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katie m
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November 3, 2021 - 3:37 pm
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Thanks Gordon! I think I might pick up walking in he air again when I’m a bit better at playing and yes I think it’s too fast for me. I’m going to stick with not listening to the piano and work on my timing ! Thanks for replying ! 

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Fiddlerman
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November 16, 2021 - 2:58 pm
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Best way might be to listen to a performance of the same piece with the solo and piano over and over. Then you should be able to figure it out. 😁

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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katie m
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November 26, 2021 - 4:57 pm
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Thanks for the advice Fiddlerman! Will do 😀

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