#1
So, I was talking about music with someone(big shock that a music question comes from that!), and they mentioned the beat either driving the music or lagging behind it. I don't...quite know what the heck that means. Can anybody explain it(and maybe provide a helpful example)?
#2
If its "driving" its ahead of the beat, usually causing everyone to rush, or speed up. Then vice versa.
#3
Driving(which I call rushing) is going faster than the tempo. Dragging is going slower than the tempo. Both of these are bad and you should try to stay "On beat"
Edit: Damn it
Last edited by sexybacon at Apr 20, 2011,
#4
Well, you an either rush or drag, but you an also be on the beat, ahead of the beat, or behind the beat and still be in tempo. Most people consider the "coolest" thing to be laying back behind the beat, but a guy like Jaco Pastorius was always ahead of the beat a little beat and grooved to no end.
#6
Quote by UnbrokenGlass
Well let's say in tempo then. Any examples of behind or ahead of the beat?


Well Frank Sinatra always sings behind the beat, same goes for Robbie Williams.

As for ahead of the beat, I'm having trouble thinking of when it would sound good.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#7
Quote by UnbrokenGlass
Well let's say in tempo then. Any examples of behind or ahead of the beat?


Jazz -- Bille Holiday was master of sitting behind the beat. Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon were also fine examples. The way that Ray Charles would phrase melodies was in that classic blues/jazz tradition f sitting behind the beat.


Latin -- Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" brilliantly uses anticipation -- getting an 8th or 16th note ahead really changes the feel of the song and plays with the Afro-Cuban based syncopation.

Any Brazilian music -- A. C. Jobim uses anticipation and syncopation in almost all of his compositions ... Aguas de Marco is effective at syncopating the simple melody and anticipating the chord changes.

You will also hear this in certain West African styles of music -- Toumani Diabate from Mali is a Kora player who knows how to employ polyrhythm and anticipation.

One can play perfectly at tempo and learn to anticipate or lay back ... this are basic and important rhythmic idioms that can take a very simple melodic phrase and make it really draw the listener in. Many great guitar players know and use this while soloing. Jeff Beck lays back on Brush With the Blues, Carlos Santana in Samba Pa Ti anticipates. Playing straight tuples and triples can be very boring. Playing swing, dotted rhythms and Afro-Cuban syncopations can add a lot!
#8
Driving(which I call rushing) is going faster than the tempo. Dragging is going slower than the tempo. Both of these are bad and you should try to stay "On beat"


not true
you should be able to play on, ahead of and behind the beat. first, you should practice being on the beat, perfectly, then practice laying back on it, then practice pushing it. the best way to get a feel for this stuff is to play with recordings of great players.
all the best.
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#9
this get's into "feel". There are reasons why you might want to be behind the beat a lil.. depends on the song, style of music.. etc.. You can play the same song at the same tempo and play forward, behind and right on the grid... they will all have very different effects on the emotion expressed. It really comes down to what you're trying to say with the groove.

There are different ways to think to help this.. For instance if I want to be "on top" of the beat I think in smaller sub divisions. For instance... I'm playing an 8th note groove but I want it to be tight and on top... push a lil... In my head I'm thinking 16th notes instead of 8th notes. Effects how I'm attacking the hits. If I want it to pull back and I'm playing an 8th note groove I may think quarters in my head. By "hearing" these subdivisions it makes you play different even if you're playing whole notes.

--m
www.knobtwiddler.net
#10
Old thread but I didn't want to create new, playing behind or ahead of beat is imo very nice and powerful ability to make your playing interesting,

Here is my attempt at very simple level:
#11
I usually think of it as being "on top" of the beat or behind it. Anything with a swing feel is typically a little behind it, and anything more straight ahead/aggressive is right on it. The distinction so tiny that it's a matter of feel rather actual timing. There's plenty of really funky music that's on top of the beat, such as most Michael Jackson songs. Older (pre drum machine) music like Funkadelic or a lot of Motown is a bit more of a relaxed feel.

I'd almost say that being behind the beat is undesirable for really funky stuff because it doesn't drive the groove. Plus most funk guitar parts are heavily syncopated, where you really do want the precision of an "on top of the beat" feel. James Brown is the godfather of funk and had Bootsy driving the tempo with those tunes. It's pretty hard to play behind the beat at higher tempos, or when the drum part is really busy.

And that's all pertaining to rhythm playing. It can be really useful to play with the feel in melodies and solos to create contrast with the rhythm section.

But yeah, whether you're behind or on top of the beat, you're still in tempo and should never be audibly ahead or behind it.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 5, 2017,
#12
Nile Rogers plays super behind the beat, especially in the verse here:
#13
It means start practicing with a metronome. lol
"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." -some dude
#14
It's actually pretty easy to play behind the beat on busy pieces (I don't mean playing off tempo either). You simply play half-time (bassists sometimes do this during complex patterns that get too fast and/or blast beats). If you're wanting the piece to feel faster/frantic, this isn't such a good idea (better for more relaxed beats). Half-time might not even be what you mean.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Feb 22, 2017,
#15
There is a concept called beat width... some musicians play a narrow beat width and will sound like they are playing "on" the beat. Others, especially some horn players, may have a "fat beat width" and may play well behind or in front of the beat... it is an expressive feel kind of thing. In some kinds of music a fat beat width is expected, others it would just sound weird.

Excluding vocals, with Blue Grass, Country, Funk, and Pop the articulation tends to be precise and narrow beat width. For Blues, Jazz, and some Rock, the beat width tends to be wider.

Vocals tend to have fat beat widths, drummers with fat beat widths tend to get thrown out of bands not playing jazz (where a fat beat width is highly prized and considered one of most difficult and desired skills in a drummer, unlike in almost all other forms).
Quote by reverb66
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#16
Quote by PlusPaul
There is a concept called beat width... some musicians play a narrow beat width and will sound like they are playing "on" the beat. Others, especially some horn players, may have a "fat beat width" and may play well behind or in front of the beat... it is an expressive feel kind of thing. In some kinds of music a fat beat width is expected, others it would just sound weird.

Excluding vocals, with Blue Grass, Country, Funk, and Pop the articulation tends to be precise and narrow beat width. For Blues, Jazz, and some Rock, the beat width tends to be wider.

Vocals tend to have fat beat widths, drummers with fat beat widths tend to get thrown out of bands not playing jazz (where a fat beat width is highly prized and considered one of most difficult and desired skills in a drummer, unlike in almost all other forms).
This reads as "attack", btw
#17
Yes, good point. I should have mentioned that the variability of attack comprises most of the sense of beat width.

The envelope is Attack, Sustain, Decay, and Release so the sense of where a note "is" with respect to a beat is heralded by the "front" of the note - the placement of the Attack, because it starts the note's duration and it is the registration between the beat and the note's front start from which we hear whether it is behind, on, or ahead.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#18
Learning how to use rhythmic phrasing adds a lot to the emotional cues in a song. Many of the greats were mentioned who were masters at flexing rhythmic passages to create a mood or vibe and engage the listener. There is a time to be right on the click track, and a time to push it or lay back a bit. Knowing when separates the masters from the average Joes.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

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