Ear training

T

The SunDog

Guest
Modern conductors are always arguing about the tempo of Beethoven pieces, some of his markings seem impossible and we really have no idea how accurate his metronome was. As I understand it, there's only a small minority of conductors who insist on sticking rigidly to the written tempo.
Ugh. Did I pick the wrong piece to prove my point? How about Nachtmusik then? Does that make you feel better? The fact is tempo is a learned skill. If you doubt that then I'll have to call you a fool. Please don't make me call you a fool. Larry is a nice guy who lacks a life and so he finds some kind of peace in starting these conversations. This one has an answer, regardless of who knew it. Tempo/BPM is a skill that people have possessed for many hundreds of years.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Steve Gadd has that ability. I can't exactly remember the anecdote but Steve Gadd was briefing Chad Wackerman for the James Taylor gig. He mentioned a tune that needed to stay at 108bpm because if it crept up to 109 then one of the musicians would have trouble playing their lines cleanly.

I understand that CW was a tad gobsmacked. I would have just turned and walked away :)

If I recalled anything wrongly by all means tidy the tale up :)
 

Stitch Kaboodle

Senior Member
Steve Gadd has that ability. I can't exactly remember the anecdote but Steve Gadd was briefing Chad Wackerman for the James Taylor gig. He mentioned a tune that needed to stay at 108bpm because if it crept up to 109 then one of the musicians would have trouble playing their lines cleanly.

I understand that CW was a tad gobsmacked. I would have just turned and walked away :)

If I recalled anything wrongly by all means tidy the tale up :)
That sounds like Gadd was making a joke about one of the players.

I think Jack Bruce claimed to have perfect tempo. Bit of a bizarre one but there you go.

The thing about learning tempos beforehand is it's nothing new. You might have heard and played a song 100 times but scenarios and sound mixes make the difference.

Listen to a song without bass, it sounds slower.

With bass it sounds more powerful, fuller and faster.

So lists will only get you so far.
 

John Lamb

Senior Member
I don't think there is thing as "perfect rhythm". You can have perfect pitch becuse pitch is discerned by the use of a map in the auditory cortex with cells that respond to different frequencies... there is a biological structure that allows perfect pitch, and while most of us can only be aware of the processed information (i.e. how the pitches compare to each other) it is possible to gain access the the raw info.

The brain, on the other hand, doesn't have a metronome. (At least, 50 years of researchers have all come up empty-handed looking for the brain's metronome. It would be a major coup to find it) The alternate view of rhythm (the one I believe) is that rhythm is by nature relative, the product of the way the brain works. In other words, rhythm is a state, not a thing. The only way to remember rhythm accurately is to accurately re-create the state of mind ... i.e. song a song with a known tempo count to yourself, sync up to the song in your head and take it from there.

This process is itself a form of meditation, as meditation practice is really just practice thinking in a certain way. So meditation practice would really help a lot.

Modern conductors are always arguing about the tempo of Beethoven pieces, some of his markings seem impossible and we really have no idea how accurate his metronome was. As I understand it, there's only a small minority of conductors who insist on sticking rigidly to the written tempo.
This is unique to Beethoven because Beethoven's tempos are very hard to play at. Not physically, but mentally challenging. Not many do this to Chopin unless they just can't play that fast ... or want to show off their chops! Otherwise it is "the composer says jump, so I ask how high"
 
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philrudd

Senior Member
Here are those Beatles tempos. Good list to memorize...
Hot damn! Thanks!

Despite the stigma that will doubtless result from this admission, I do not have innately perfect tempo recognition. (Hell, if I down an energy drink too fast, everything starts feeling slow...)

These kind of lists may not help the true, devoted, musically erudite and learned drummers among us...but for a regular guy like me they're brilliant.

Thanks again, Todd.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Bermuda's tip has helped me. I tend to focus on 60 and 120 the most and make adjustments from there. But taking a few seconds to start the song in my head along with a nod to 60-120 gets me pretty close. Though I still have a tendency to play a little too fast.
 

Tyrnox

Pioneer Member
It's funny that you post Rick Beato's example for ear training, because in university, one of our classes "Perception/Hearing". Our teacher has been in contact with Mr. Beato, and has decided to use his exercises "7 days to a perfect ear", as a reference for method of training at home. 15 minutes a day.

Needless to say, this is hard work, and requires lots of motivation, especially when you play percussion instruments, and you don't have much of a reference ( I.e piano, guitars ). It's not too hard to recognize basic minor chords, but when you hear something like, C Maj ( Min 7th, Add 9, add 13 ) or First/Second inversions of chords, buckle up, because the red x's come in at an alarming rate.

For those who are curious, here is the link to the 7 day training exercises.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvykf5ShQhc&list=PLW0NGgv1qnfxsk2YLffbimD1jF43pVCJD
 
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