Groove discussion

beatdat

Senior Member
I didn't know a groove from a grape until I started playing a plastic bucket as a hand drum at the beach. About 300 feet away three girls got out of their car and started dancing to my rhythm. It was just my drumming and they were dancing. That's when I learned what a groove was.
It's one thing to make people move when you're playing with a band, it's a whole other thing to make people move when you're playing alone on one drum.

to me groove is simply infectious sound waves that induce emotion ... stuff that triggers the arrector pili muscles and the sympathetic nervous system ... sounds that make you feel something and in turn your body reacts whether by dancing or goosebumps or anything in between.
I find the reaction to be unconscious, or at least not related to the genre of, or my interest in, the music being played. A groove is a groove is a groove and will always make me move. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself bopping my head or tapping my foot to music I don't care for, just because of the groove.

By the way, is your post count off? I've been here almost a year, but I swear I've read more than 19 post that you've made.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Consider this: If two drummers play the exact same notes from a sheet, one can groove while the other does not.

Busy/not busy, perfect time/not perfect, none of that really has anything to do with a deep pocket of groove. It's a combination of small subtleties.
 

Matty D

Junior Member
Consider this: If two drummers play the exact same notes from a sheet, one can groove while the other does not.

Busy/not busy, perfect time/not perfect, none of that really has anything to do with a deep pocket of groove. It's a combination of small subtleties.

As I was reading the prior comments I was thinking something similar but you beat me to it. And seen that way, a groove is kinda sorta like swing - hard to describe but you know who's got it and who doesn't.


By the way, I've been trying all my life but sometimes I'm still not sure if I'm in a groove or a rut. :)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
And seen that way, a groove is kinda sorta like swing - hard to describe but you know who's got it and who doesn't.
And that pretty much says it all.

I've come to the conclusion that groove just refuses to be defined.

So I'm done trying to do so.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
And that pretty much says it all.

I've come to the conclusion that groove just refuses to be defined.

So I'm done trying to do so.
Some things are too complicated to describe accurately. Like trying to explain to someone why Yosemite is so other-world-ly beautiful and humbling. You can attempt to explain some of the aspects that you personally understand, but you simply can't put a fine point on it and say "well, it's 'this'". But if you stand at the top of a bluff and look down at the valley and awesomeness, you can't help but "feel" it.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think it's rather simple: if the listener is moving, it's grooving; if not, there is no groove (or, rather, it's not a strong groove).
I listen to stuff that grooves all the time without moving; alternately, I've seen people trying to tap their toes or swing their butt to things that do not groove. A swinging butt is one evidence of groove, but it's not proof of groove, and it certainly doesn't help define what "it" is.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Groove is definitely subjective to the user. It can be shared but not always. What grooves to one doesn't necessarily groove to another.

There seems to be different stages/types of groove. They can be fat, deep, or even nasty. A groove can be upbeat and happy, or sludgy and ugly. Groove can be fast or slow, big or small, smooth or choppy. It's whatever it needs to be.

What came first, the music or the groove?
 

beatdat

Senior Member
I listen to stuff that grooves all the time without moving
Is that a conscious decision on your part? Because I would say, as I did above, that movement is an unconscious reaction to a good groove.

alternately, I've seen people trying to tap their toes or swing their butt to things that do not groove.
I think the word "try" shows that there is no groove, or one that's not strong enough to get people moving.

A swinging butt is one evidence of groove, but it's not proof of groove, and it certainly doesn't help define what "it" is.
The doctrine of "ostensive definition" suggests otherwise: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostensive_definition

We could argue this point ad nauseam, but I'm not interested in doing that. I'm willing to concede that "groove" is like pornography, I may not be able to define it, but I damn well know for sure when I see/hear it.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'm willing to concede
That's a good lad.

"groove" is like pornography, I may not be able to define it, but I damn well know for sure when I see/hear it.
You stumbled upon the best way to respond to the original question. It's like porn. Too complicated to explain exactly, but it's a thing.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Seemed like all you "defined" "groove" pretty well. Will add it to the Urban dictionary or Wikipedia. Too late.
"In music, groove is the sense of propulsive rhythmic "feel" or sense of "swing". In jazz, it can be felt as a persistently repeated pattern. It can be created by the interaction of the music played by a band's rhythm section (e.g. drums, electric bass or double bass, guitar, and keyboards). Groove is a significant feature of popular music, and can be found in many genres, including salsa, funk, rock, fusion, and soul." So you all nailed it. Just thought I'd point out the obvious.
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
No one said it yet, so I will...groove is in the heart.

Seriously, clap your hands on the 2 and 4 when you or someone else is singing or strumming a guitar. That’s groove. It’s innate to the human condition. We all have it. Just don’t try to groove, that’s when it falls apart.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
No one said it yet, so I will...groove is in the heart.

Seriously, clap your hands on the 2 and 4 when you or someone else is singing or strumming a guitar. That’s groove. It’s innate to the human condition. We all have it. Just don’t try to groove, that’s when it falls apart.
Not that they couldn't perhaps with effort, but I absolutely know adults who cannot clap, or pick out the beat of a song.
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
Not that they couldn't perhaps with effort, but I absolutely know adults who cannot clap, or pick out the beat of a song.
Agreed, but I don’t think that is groove. I’m fairly certain if you asked them, with no music playing, to count 1,2,3,4 and said clap on 2 and 4, they could. We are taught to read and write and to tie our shoe laces. Music is no different.

There is a video somewhere on YT as part of the lincoln center jazz instruction series, about playing a shuffle. It’s by famous female drummer, can’t remember her name. She mentions that when she teaches the shuffle, she asks her student to make a fist and with the side of the fist to beat their heartbeat on their chest. Ba boom, ba boom, ba bomm. That’s the shuffle groove. Not playing triplets and skipping the 2nd partial. But a heartbeat. Groove is in the heart. We all have it. Or we are dead.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I tend to think of a groove or "beat" as the same thing.. The difference is a beginner can play a beat. Or even someone a bit more advanced can read it off paper and play a "beat".

Once the beat is learned, muscle memory is good, you have freedom with all the accents and have learnt to keep solid time and make it FEEL good. Now it's a groove. I find the more you can push/pull the beat on command, have full independence and relax the more it will groove.


As far as a choppy beat/groove. If that is what your going for it's still a groove in my book. It doesn't have to be smooth. It just has to fit the music or be appropriate for the situation.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I think of groove as a little more than beat. It is a rhythm that has a bit of feel and you can get into it, pick it up.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
drums do not have to be present for groove to exist

there's a difference between "a groove" and "groove"

just like drums don't have to present for swing to exist

swing and groove are the same thing philosophically ... the intangible feel of an infectious sonic pulse
 
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