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Old 12-03-2012, 09:32 PM   #1
CryogenicHusk
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Rhythm is my weakness... and weakness is bad

I'm glad it didn't take overly long for me to realize this, but rhythm is my weakness. I used to think I had a good sense of rhythm (I mean, never thought it was extraordinary or GREAT, but still) cause I played in bands and I hardly ever got out of sync with the drummer... I can also stay perfectly in sync with a metronome. But this feels like it was an illusion...

Since I started classical lessons back at the end of the 1st quarter of this year, I've been evaluated 2 times and both times rhythm has been the weaker part of my playing. Another thing that points towards having a terrible sense of rhythm, I believe, is that I suck at dancing. So, besides metronome, metronome, and more metronome, is there a way to improve overall sense of rhythm? I feel like metronome alone helps with a particular piece, but when learning a new piece, it's back to square one with the metronome. As I learn trickier and trickier songs, I feel I need to address this urgently, if possible. Any idea?
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:50 PM   #2
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Tap solid quarter notes on your chest with your hands, and then sing the melody to your piece. Then do eigth notes. Then sixteenths. It'll make you feel in subdivisons, which is helpful to rhythm. Its also like being the metronome for yourself. Do that for a while, whenever you have a free moment and from there your rhythm will improve.

Advice a la Dr. Doyle, one of the conducting professors at the school I attend.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
CryogenicHusk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will42
Tap solid quarter notes on your chest with your hands, and then sing the melody to your piece. Then do eigth notes. Then sixteenths. It'll make you feel in subdivisons, which is helpful to rhythm. Its also like being the metronome for yourself. Do that for a while, whenever you have a free moment and from there your rhythm will improve.

Advice a la Dr. Doyle, one of the conducting professors at the school I attend.


sounds promising! Exactly what I'm looking for too: something to do when I'm away from the guitar but have a spare min or two... I'll do this as often as possible.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
Another thing that points towards having a terrible sense of rhythm, I believe, is that I suck at dancing.


Ever considered taking dancing lessons? Believe it or not, it can help, it'll work the sense and feeling of rhythm into your body. I'm not telling you to do ballet or become a pro dancer, but a few jazz lessons for beginners or ballroom or tango can help a lot

EDIT: Plus, it's also a great way to meet the ladies... or guys who are interested guys, if you are that sort of fellow
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:16 AM   #5
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This sounds kind of stupid, but it's helped me a lot. Set a metronome really slow (55 at the fastest - for this, the slower it is, the harder it is) and play a repetitive pattern (I usually just use pick scratching) in sixteenth notes. Every two measures, (assuming we're in 4/4) switch from straight to shuffled sixteenths and back again. Do this without stopping for about 5-10 minutes a day and you'll see your time feel improve.

Another thing you can do is take the idea of subdivisions to the extreme. This time set the metronome at 40. Choose a pattern to play (I usually use scales). While playing your pattern, work through all possible subdivisions: start with one attack per pulse (quarter note), then two (eighth note), then three (eighth note triplet), etc. Some of the odd groupings, like 7 notes to a pulse, can be difficult at first, but you'll get them with some practice, and they'll do great things for your deeper understanding of rhythm. You can take this as far as you want. Of course, after a while, the subdivisions will be so small that the exercise will start to be about speed instead of rhythmic accuracy, which can be counterproductive. Also, don't skip the quarter and eighth notes because they're slow. In fact, because they're so slow, they're actually much harder than most of the smaller, faster subdivisions.

I shouldn't take credit for these ideas. Both are from teachers I've had; the first one is from David Fiuczynski and the second is from Julien Kasper.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:24 AM   #6
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I think it was Slash's wife thats quoted as saying that a LOT of great musicians are terrible dancers.....
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:25 AM   #7
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If you want good rhythm, start relying on the metronome less and less, for example keep the metronome at half tempo, so at full tempo it will be clicking 2 times a bar, count so that you place this two clicks in obscure location throughout the bar such as the upbeat of 2 and the upbeat of 3 (edit: I meant upbeat of 4, oops). Now play a tune, it should be difficult.

Last edited by GoldenGuitar : 12-06-2012 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:52 AM   #8
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i also scat sing a lot when i'm at work to the machines clicking and buzzing. but i work graveyards so that might not fly for normal people
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:05 PM   #9
CryogenicHusk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkeka
Ever considered taking dancing lessons? Believe it or not, it can help, it'll work the sense and feeling of rhythm into your body. I'm not telling you to do ballet or become a pro dancer, but a few jazz lessons for beginners or ballroom or tango can help a lot

EDIT: Plus, it's also a great way to meet the ladies... or guys who are interested guys, if you are that sort of fellow


I've considered taking dance lessons. What genre of dancing do you recommend? Like, would tango be more rhythmic than salsa, for example? Although I currently have a girl, meeting ladies is ALWAYS nice, even if just for conversation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mattrusso
This sounds kind of stupid, but it's helped me a lot. Set a metronome really slow (55 at the fastest - for this, the slower it is, the harder it is) and play a repetitive pattern (I usually just use pick scratching) in sixteenth notes. Every two measures, (assuming we're in 4/4) switch from straight to shuffled sixteenths and back again. Do this without stopping for about 5-10 minutes a day and you'll see your time feel improve.

Another thing you can do is take the idea of subdivisions to the extreme. This time set the metronome at 40. Choose a pattern to play (I usually use scales). While playing your pattern, work through all possible subdivisions: start with one attack per pulse (quarter note), then two (eighth note), then three (eighth note triplet), etc. Some of the odd groupings, like 7 notes to a pulse, can be difficult at first, but you'll get them with some practice, and they'll do great things for your deeper understanding of rhythm. You can take this as far as you want. Of course, after a while, the subdivisions will be so small that the exercise will start to be about speed instead of rhythmic accuracy, which can be counterproductive. Also, don't skip the quarter and eighth notes because they're slow. In fact, because they're so slow, they're actually much harder than most of the smaller, faster subdivisions.

I shouldn't take credit for these ideas. Both are from teachers I've had; the first one is from David Fiuczynski and the second is from Julien Kasper.


I'm not familiar with Julien Kapser, but you've been taught by David Fiuczynski? Freakin awesome! He's a most excellent guitarist. This is one of my all-time favorite solos. I'll work on those exercises too.Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 91RG350
I think it was Slash's wife thats quoted as saying that a LOT of great musicians are terrible dancers.....


Haha, well, whether he's a terrible dancer or not, I'm pretty certain Slash has a WAY better sense of rhythm than me (now that he's sober anyway). At least where guitar playing is concerned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenGuitar
If you want good rhythm, start relying on the metronome less and less, for example keep the metronome at half tempo, so at full tempo it will be clicking 2 times a bar, count so that you place this two clicks in obscure location throughout the bar such as the upbeat of 2 and the upbeat of 3. Now play a tune, it should be difficult.


That's my goal... To improve so that I can play accurately and not feel completely blind without the metronome when starting a new piece: to get to a point where the metronome is only necessary to polish things up and perfect them. I'll try setting it at a slower tempo like you suggested. Thank you. I've got several things to work with now.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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This is a useful video for metronome drills, a little more sophisticated than the basic stuff.

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
This is a useful video for metronome drills, a little more sophisticated than the basic stuff.


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Old 12-05-2012, 12:47 PM   #12
CryogenicHusk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
i also scat sing a lot when i'm at work to the machines clicking and buzzing. but i work graveyards so that might not fly for normal people


Never tried scat singing. The other day I was doing something of the sort at my parents' and they asked me what I was singing and I just laughed and said nothing (I was just randomly coming up with it and singing along to it at the moment, lol).

I've been also trying to tap my foot like a metronome along to songs while being attentive to the melody and rhythm, and trying my best to keep a steady tempo with my foot.

And holy crap, thank you, that video. My teacher explained to me how conductors do it, and this seems to complement that perfect. I mean, despite that I still had trouble understanding what EXACTLY a downbeat was, for example. Putting 2 and 2 together I think I get it now! Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
This is a useful video for metronome drills, a little more sophisticated than the basic stuff.


That might be a bit too advanced for me. I could get started doing that with some of the simplest pieces from my book that I can play in my sleep by this point, and go from there.

Last edited by CryogenicHusk : 12-05-2012 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Hail





Oh my god, I watched that in class and almost burst out laughing.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
I'm not familiar with Julien Kapser, but you've been taught by David Fiuczynski? Freakin awesome! He's a most excellent guitarist. This is one of my all-time favorite solos. I'll work on those exercises too.Thanks.

Yeah man Fuze is great! I actually just came from a lesson with him. We're working on some microtonal stuff - it's ****in' hard, but so interesting! I feel SO privileged to be studying with him.

Julien is not quite as well known (outside of Berklee anyway) but he's great too, although he's a totally different type of player. Check him out if you like the idea of an instrumental Hendrix/Beck type vibe mixed with some interesting jazz elements. He's also been a great teacher, and is largely responsible for keeping my "rock" chops up while I'm in school for jazz composition.

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Old 12-05-2012, 05:36 PM   #15
CryogenicHusk
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^Really digging it!
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:31 PM   #16
mrkeka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CryogenicHusk
I've considered taking dance lessons. What genre of dancing do you recommend? Like, would tango be more rhythmic than salsa, for example? Although I currently have a girl, meeting ladies is ALWAYS nice, even if just for conversation.


Any kind of dancing will help you really. The focus of it is not to work on any particular rhythm, just to develop a good sense of rhythm in your body and internalize it. Tango has a lot of accents, for example. Salsa has a different kind of feel. Samba will get you thinking in subdivisions. But these are my personal experiences. You might even just benefit from dancing alone in your bedroom, just moving your body to rhythm.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:43 PM   #17
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no joke, i cook all the time and people are legitimately impressed while i air-chiffonade basil and nod my head back and forth



dancing is dancing
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:43 PM   #18
CryogenicHusk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkeka
Any kind of dancing will help you really. The focus of it is not to work on any particular rhythm, just to develop a good sense of rhythm in your body and internalize it. Tango has a lot of accents, for example. Salsa has a different kind of feel. Samba will get you thinking in subdivisions. But these are my personal experiences. You might even just benefit from dancing alone in your bedroom, just moving your body to rhythm.


Either sounds like they would help a lot. I'll just look and see what they offer in my area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail
no joke, i cook all the time and people are legitimately impressed while i air-chiffonade basil and nod my head back and forth

dancing is dancing


I'm terrible at doing things like that. I've been trying to slowly get the hang of that (do something with my hands and bob my head and/or tap my feet at the same time).
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:48 AM   #19
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it takes a while, but eventually you'll learn to swag and cook simultaneously
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Old 12-06-2012, 11:12 AM   #20
CryogenicHusk
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Originally Posted by Hail
it takes a while, but eventually you'll learn to swag and cook simultaneously


Hah! The perks of being knowing how to play bass.

Sometimes I think I should've rather picked the bass when I was younger. I remember when I was in middle school, it was the sound that stood out for me (I really liked Iron Maiden and then at 14 Mudvayne's L.D.50 was probably my favorite album, and with both, especially the latter, I usually found the bass-centric passages to be the highlights). Maybe at some point I'll sell my guitar gear and pick up the bass.

Last edited by CryogenicHusk : 12-06-2012 at 11:17 AM.
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