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#1134929 - 04/20/05 12:41 PM rhythm questions
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
I've seen post after post on this page about theory and scales etc, but haven't really seen anyone address the topic of rhythm. Specifically the rhythm involved in jazz, blues, and r&b types of music. You can buy a fake book and you can "voice" the songs and play the melody. But how do you make it your own? I would imagine that rhythm is the best way to do this. How do you manipulate the rhythm? What kinds of methods do you use to broaden your grasp of rhythm? What are some of the basic patterns that one might use? Do you great jazz musicians count while their playing? I'm really interested in hear any responses. Personally I think my rhythm leaves a lot to be desired. But at the same time I can see the aptitude seems to be there to really improve. So I look forward to any suggestions or comments.

Thanks,

Thomosh

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1134930 - 04/20/05 01:46 PM Re: rhythm questions
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
I am staying out of this one.
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1134931 - 04/20/05 01:54 PM Re: rhythm questions
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
the heck you say

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#1134932 - 04/20/05 01:55 PM Re: rhythm questions
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
I think that's why rhythm is such a taboo topic. No one wants to talk about it. C'mon it will be therapeutic....

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#1134933 - 04/20/05 09:10 PM Re: rhythm questions
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
It is so much easier to use a condom.
_________________________
Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#1134934 - 04/21/05 06:57 AM Re: rhythm questions
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
I can see I've touched a nerve with my quesion. I thought the question itself was a pretty solid one but I guess it's too sensitive of a subject about which to have an intellectual discussion. Thanks anyway.


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#1134935 - 04/21/05 07:55 AM Re: rhythm questions
markb Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 2593
Loc: Maryland
A basic ryhthm pattern that I've been introduced to for LH chords is called the Charleston rhythm. It's dotted quarter, eight note. This rhythm is used throughout the book The Jazz Pianist by Fred Hughes. It's not too difficult to implement along with fairly easy RH rhythms, but when the RH does more complex and syncopated rhythms, it gets tricky. I'm in the very beginning of the book and have so far focused more on chord structure rather than rhythm and melody, but I peeked ahead and listened to the recordings on the CD. Looks like, pretty soon, I'll have to do a lot of counting!
_________________________
markb--The Count of Casio

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#1134936 - 04/21/05 08:56 AM Re: rhythm questions
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
thomosh,
The question you pose is a valid one. However it is at least as complicated as "How do I harmonize chords?" I was hoping to avoid a treatise on the subject, but...

For starters, when learning to fake, you should start with even quarters (or slower) in the left hand. What you need to acquire first is the feeling of HARMONIC RHYTHM. How fast are the chords changing? Are you keeping up with the tune?

Once you're past that you can try a Charleston rhythm (as suggested) which is quite common in the jazz/bebop idiom. It is easy to rush ahead trying this out though, so it's critical to develop good 'time' at less complex rhythms before going to this.

It's like anything else -- start simple at first and GRADUALLY increase the complexity and make sure you're in control and KNOW what rhythm you are playing.

When you got a good feel for the HARMONIC rhythm, you might try playing some of your voicings an 8th early. Try some of them an 8th late. Not too much now -- it'll start sounding like your 'off'. Get back on the pulse.

Practice your voicings on 2 and 4. Can you switch back to 1 and 3 when you want to?

Variety is key. Don't even ask about articulation!

No, I am kidding! Most of the time rhythm and articulation are best picked up by listening to how the greats do it. Unlike the difficulty of trying to hear every single note as it sounds with all the others, rhythm and articulation is a bit more one-dimensional and a bit easier to acquire aurally.

--------------------------------------------

If nothing else take the HEART AND SOUL test. Go ahead and play the tune.

1) Change the rhythm/phrase of the RH while MAINTAINING the rhythm of the LH.

2) Change the rhythm/phrase of the LH while MAINTAINING the RH rhythm/phrase.

Lather, rinse repeat.

The point of the exercise is developing the ability to change one WITHOUT changing the other. It will also develop some improvisation skill.

1) When you get tired of playing HEART AND SOUL, change the IV chord to a II chord

2) Add the sevenths to the chord

3) Toss in some inversions

4) Transpose to all 12 keys.

5) Change the V chord to a V7b9

6) Now you're playing jazz!
_________________________
Haywood
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#1134937 - 04/21/05 09:53 AM Re: rhythm questions
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
Haywood,


What an awesome answer! Thank you very much for your insight. I will try your suggestions when I get a chance. I'm afraid to say I probably have trouble with the simple harmonic rhythms. But I am sure in time with much practice I can start incorporating some variety. I just basically wanted to know how rhythm should be viewed. How it should be cultivated. What types of things to keep in mind... you answered all my questions. I can see how your suggestions will begin to help foster hand independence also. And I think that's going to be a significant challenge.

THANK YOU

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#1134938 - 04/21/05 10:07 AM Re: rhythm questions
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
thomosh,
Remember you can practice rhythm without being at the piano...
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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#1134939 - 04/21/05 11:27 AM Re: rhythm questions
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
Many of my students have problems with rhythm and I have been able to quickly correct most of their problems with some simple information, some of which I can pass along here.
The most important thing you can do to fix your timing is to take a drum class. I started out on drums first, had a nasty car wreck when I was young, and learned piano by ear during high school. The drum background I had made working with jazz,rock,and latin music rhythms very easy.
Be sure when you find a drum teacher that you listen to them play first so that you know that their drumming is groovy or you will be wasting your time. Sign up for three months with a teacher and you will be amazed at how good your piano playing will get.
Secondly, understanding swing timing is a challenge for many, and I solve that by just having any student play the first two bars of the mickey mouse theme and then applying that rhythm to whatever jazzy piece they are working on.
Best of luck!
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Two openings in my private lessons program starting in Nov.

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#1134940 - 04/21/05 11:36 AM Re: rhythm questions
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
Hmm a drum class eh? I have pondered that possibility for months now. Will that really improve your piano though? I mean you still have to have the technique and know the hand shapes etc...I suppose it can't hurt. I want to get a drum machine to jam with also but maybe I really should take the drum lessons first. I will have to find time to squeeze it in.

Oh and how do you practice rhythm away from the piano?


Thanks

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#1134941 - 04/21/05 11:51 AM Re: rhythm questions
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 309
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
Yes-it will really help. Just do it.
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Two openings in my private lessons program starting in Nov.

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#1134942 - 04/21/05 02:52 PM Re: rhythm questions
Sweep88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 190
Loc: Ohio
hey thomosh...great thread. Rob and hgiles both gave great advise, even for some veterans. one issue not addressed so far is the most important of all when it comes to rythm, is the development of your "internal" pulse. Its impossible to develop a rythm of any kind unless your "pulse" is rock steady. Drum lessons would solve that real quick, instead of the years it took me to know mine. I occasionally STILL have a tendency to speed up the beat, which is a big no no. It seems like you have a deep commitment in learning to play the piano...dont lose your fire!!!
_________________________
I try to live, love and laugh as much as I can every day, because every day may be my last

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#1134943 - 04/21/05 09:27 PM Re: rhythm questions
thomosh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 125
Sweeps, I think I am a little too fast on the beat too. I usually am just slightly ahead of the click when playing with a metronome. But over time I think I am getting better which I guess is all you can really ask. I'm going to check into those drum lessons though. Eventually I want to buy a drum machine so that I can play along with that until I'm ready to jam with other people.

Take care,


Thomosh

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#1134944 - 04/29/05 06:44 AM Re: rhythm questions
Bill Cushman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 13
Loc: Nashville, TN
Playing in an ensemble can help immensly. Perhaps a little trio or quartet with a kit drummer. Other musicians will bring out the best in you. Far faster than you could ever accomplish alone.

On the other side.. i've always felt that composition can really help with rhythm.

I do a little bit of improvisational piano composition where I sit down and just record the first thing that pops into my head.. cold turkey, no practice.

On this piece, I tried to keep the core 8th note rhythm at the same tempo the whole composition.. while continually trying to throw myself off.

Have a listen.. click here [give it time to load].
It's called "Where\'s the Juice?" click here [Ghost Notes blog] for other stuff.


-Bill

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#1134945 - 04/30/05 02:30 PM Re: rhythm questions
gregjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 316
Loc: CA
Rhythm is extremely important. In more groove-oriented music, sometimes it can be more important than the notes you play. Really the key to rhythm is feeling it. Maybe you delay some notes a tiny bit for emphasis, and maybe you play a certain phrase slightly ahead of the beat.
_________________________
Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples
http://www.orangetreesamples.com

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#1134946 - 05/16/05 05:28 PM Re: rhythm questions
hgiles Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 736
Loc: Charlottesville Virginia
 Quote:
Originally posted by thomosh:
Oh and how do you practice rhythm away from the piano? [/b]
1)Get out a hymn book or a rhythm exercise book or a sheet of music or just write out your own rhythms.

2) Read two voices

3) Tap out a tempo with your foot

4) Sight read the rhythms tap one voice on LH and the other voice on RH
_________________________
Haywood
-------------

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