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Timing


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Posted (edited)

I used to visit somebody who loved to play music for me, unfortunately most of what he played I had difficulty in understanding what tune it was because his timing was so bad.

Timing can be practiced without playing the concertina. A Morris tune for example is almost always 32 bars long .It usually consist of an A part played twice and a B Part played twice .  So therefore singing the tune and counting each bar is easy to practice anywhere. Each bar will not necessarily consist of eight notes and counting out the bars will help you sort your timing and playing  out.

Dance music of any kind is normally fairly strict tempo and as a musician you are responsible for the speed they dance at.

Watch John Watcham concentrating on the dancers as he plays ,he is not just playing the tune, but lifting the dancers up in the air and dictating the speed at which the dance is being performed, within the limitations of the dancers.

I hope experienced players join me with this discussion .

Al

Edited by Alan Day
32 not 36 Bars A senior moment'
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4 hours ago, Alan Day said:

I hope experienced players join me with this discussion .

 

I agree with everything you said, Alan. Humming (or thinking) tunes to yourself while walking is a valuable exercise. I credit decades of frequent contra dancing with helping to create my rhythmic style.

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Yes David it is getting a feel for the music.

Walking is good because every eight steps you should have hummed a quarter of the tune (unless you have short legs ).😊

Al.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Alan Day said:

 

Timing can be practiced without playing the concertina. A Morris tune for example is almost always 36 bars long .It usually consist of an A part played twice and a B Part played twice .  

 

 

 

Al,   should  this  not  read     '32 bars  long'   ?

 

For  the  effect  of  good  Timing  to  come  across  to  the  listener  or  dancer  the musician  needs to add  Emphasis  and  Phrasing .  Adding  these  factors  to  the  tunes  we  hum  or  whistle  whilst  taking  a  walk  can   be  beneficial.

 

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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28 minutes ago, Geoff Wooff said:

Al,   should  this  not  read     '32 bars  long'   ?

 

For  the  effect  of  good  Timing  to  come  across  to  the  listener  or  dancer  the musician  needs to add  Emphasis  and  Phrasing .  Adding  these  factors  to  the  tunes  we  hum  or  whistle  whilst  taking  a  walk  can   be  beneficial.

 

Modified Geoff many thanks .

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When I wrote my tune; "Dance The Gannet"  recently, I had in my minds eye the image of the great bird's and their big feet stomping about; that kept the idea going in imaginary alternative way! Thinking of their massive feet moving about [dancing the rhythm in the mind/ imagination].😊

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On 7/5/2022 at 7:56 AM, Geoff Wooff said:

Al,   should  this  not  read     '32 bars  long'   ?

Alan was just testing the audience.

Anyway, I didn't notice .....

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Perhaps off topic but germane. One evening I was responsible for counting the gate at the Baltimore Folk Music Society's English country dance. I guess because I was busy chatting during the break, I ended up having to count the money as the first dance was in progress. As usual, I sorted the bills into piles of twenty, ten, five, and one dollar bills. Then, because there are so many ones, my usual practice is to count them into piles of ten each; that makes checking easier if there's a problem with totals. As usual, I started doing that. Except, I suddenly realized, with the band playing, I was counting them into piles of eight! The band was doing its job!

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On 7/4/2022 at 4:55 PM, David Barnert said:

I agree with everything you said, Alan.

On 7/5/2022 at 1:56 AM, Geoff Wooff said:

Al,   should  this  not  read     '32 bars  long'   ?

5 hours ago, Leonard said:

Anyway, I didn't notice .....

2 hours ago, Alan Day said:

Nor did I when I wrote it.

 

I can’t believe I didn’t notice it either. Better start writing some 36-bar dances. :ph34r:

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Timing is a strange thing.  Some people either get it or they don't.

 

I teach Morris dancing. I have met individuals who can clash sticks in time with a heavy beat, but cannot do a simple step in time with a tune, even after many weeks of practice.  Some cannot even clap in time.

 

Pop and rock music is often underpinned by a heavy percussion beat or bass riff.  Folk and traditional music often has a rhythm that is implied within the tune: a rhythm that is found within each triplet, or each bar, and each phrase, and each section, and is expressed through the volume and attack of the groups of notes and the timing of the chord changes.  It seems you can either hear that or you can't.

 

A nervous beginner musician may be able to hear and respond to the rhythm when listening to a recording, because it is an unconscious skill, but when they are trying to lay, they may be overly focused on the mechanics.  The determination to "play all of the notes, necessarily in the right order", may cause them to set aside the needs of the rhythm.

 

Another common mistake is to slow down for the tricky bits and speed up for the easy bits.

 

The best way to develop any skill is to do simple things well, but unfortunately many people are impatient and want to move on to the next tune or the next skill as soon as they "know" the one they are learning.

 

As Bruce Lee famously said, "I fear not the man who has practised a thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick a thousand times.  By the same argument, I would rather listen to the musician who has played one tune a thousand times than a thousand tunes once.

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