Help with Black Page #1 (eleven-tuplets)

Joe2112

Junior Member
Hey guys, I'm sure there's gotta be someone on this forum that has the Black Page mastered. I recently started working on it after years of wanting to but not having the time (and maybe a little bit of fear lol) I started the other day, and was pleasantly surprised how quick I was able to get a lot of the parts down.

The part I'm having trouble with is (you guessed it) the extremely fast combination of quintuplets and 16th note triplets followed by those 2 nasty bars of eleven-tuplets at the very end of the piece. I've been watching plenty of versions on youtube, and it seems that everyones doing it a little differently. I found some transcriptions online and they're all pretty uniform except for the ending.

I'm playing it on a 4-piece, so it makes it a little bit of a challenge either way, but any help with this would be greatly appreciated!

-Joe
 

Rberg

Junior Member


Bass drum on the space below line 1
SD space 2
Toms space 1,3,4
Bongos space above staff and space above the ledger line

I'd be interested to hear how you do with it. Do you find this measure more challenging than bar 15?
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
The excerpt Rberg posted is the real piece-- at least that's the version that's been around since it was originally available in around 1978-- anything else you found that's different from that is wrong. I thought it sounded like Bozzio was a little loose himself with that ending lick, on the record. Don't worry about "how to play an 11-tuplet", just get all the notes in there, and land on the beat with the high bongo on 3, the bass drum on 4, and the cymbal and bass drum on 1. If I was going to relearn it, I would break each 11 down further-- wherever the logical middle of the lick is-- like where there's a bass drum note. I'd get those 5-6 note groups together, fast, and then start stringing them together, and then make them line up correctly with the metronome/hihat part.
 

Joe2112

Junior Member
Thanks for the help guys, that transcription is great, any chance there's a version of the line before it from the same transcription floating around? and thanks for dissecting it, Todd. So much easier to understand. Both to shed it til I get it!

I definitely find the 2nd ending to be harder than the first, bar 15 is tough but the orchestration is much easier on a standard kit, and it's really just the pacing of the last 2 beats that throws me off.
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
I don't think this one is the original.

In the one I have, the groupings are a little different in the 11-tuplets.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I don't think this one is the original.

In the one I have, the groupings are a little different in the 11-tuplets.
It's the version that was available in ~'78 when my brother learned the piece, which I later copied from him when I learned it. Live In New York was only released in '78, so I can't imagine there was an earlier edition of the sheet music than that.
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
Yours is probably very good, Todd, I don't doubt it.
I received mine when studying at MI/PIT in 1982.
I compared it to other Zappa manuscripts and, as far as I can judge it is Frank Zappa's handwriting.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
If Zappa's original manuscript (assuming you're right about that) is different from the main version, I'd like to see that-- can you share it?
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
I've never seen the hand-written version. The one Todd is talking about is the one that I got when I played it, and I was under the impression that it was the original. I'll have to take a look, but I MIGHT even be able to put my hands on it. If I do I'll scan it in.

As Todd said, I think as long as you land on 1 in the right place it'll be fine. When I learned it I seem to remember taking smaller chunks and learning the pattern without a metronome, just to get a feel where my hands where going. Then, on the section with the 5s and 6s inside the quarter note triplet I turned on the nome at a very slow tempo and alternated between just playing the first note of each grouping (so you're playing a quarter note triplet), and then everything in between. Quarter note triplet - all notes. Back and forth.

Regarding the 11s, you just have to feel them. I put the nome on quarter notes very slowly and just played around with 11s on the snare until a got a feel for what the felt like. Then, as above, I learned the movement around the drums without the nome first, then started slow and worked my way up.

I'll have to dig out that recording and see if it's any good. I was pretty green at the time.
 

evogel

Senior Member
Yours is probably very good, Todd, I don't doubt it.
I received mine when studying at MI/PIT in 1982.
I compared it to other Zappa manuscripts and, as far as I can judge it is Frank Zappa's handwriting.
I have a handwritten copy from MI/PIT 1985/86 and I've always thought that it was FZ's handwriting too. At least, I always wanted to think that. :)

I also performed it in music conservatory arranged for percussion ensemble. I have the music for that somewhere...

I agree with "feeling" the 11's. That part was very difficult with a conducted, full percussion ensemble but having the conductor definitely helped with finding the 1.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Alain sent me his version, which evidently is Zappa's original manuscript, and was from Joe Porcaro and Ralph Humphrey's library. Which is pretty cool! The lick is exactly the same; the only difference is the way the notes are beamed. I don't think one is especially more helpful than the other for reading or learning the lick.
 

Joe2112

Junior Member
Alain sent me his version, which evidently is Zappa's original manuscript, and was from Joe Porcaro and Ralph Humphrey's library. Which is pretty cool! The lick is exactly the same; the only difference is the way the notes are beamed. I don't think one is especially more helpful than the other for reading or learning the lick.
Wow, I'd love to see that, if not just to see Zappa's original vision. I'm slowly getting a handle on these 11-tuplets. Lots of repetitive listening and (as stated above) playing to a slow click and feeling the 11 within the quarter-note.

Thanks for the help everyone, ill have it mastered one day haha
 
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