Spang-a-lang subtle or...

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Is this a matter of subtlety or semantics?

As a musician I have always seen a shuffle written as such:

4/4 for th is example... ||: [quarter] - [dotted 8th] - [16th] :||


However, lately I have seen the shuffle written :

||: [quarter] - [triplet 8th] - [triplet 8th rest] - [triplet 8th] :||


There is a difference in the timing between these. I would call them both shuffles, but, wouldn't really call the later a bebop. I really don't consider myself a Jazz drummer by abilities , but, I do understand it from an overall musicians perspective...

Would just like to get a true jazz drummers opinion on this to straighten me out please..!
 

donv

Silver Member
It's a suble difference when just playing the drums, but put it to music wrong, and the feel of the song changes. This was first shown to me back in the late 60's while working with some CCR tunes. The drummer played dotted 8th shuffles, and I was locked into the standard rock triplet shuffle, and it just never sounded right. Since, I've had many experiences with guitar players that can't break the rock triplet feel and it really changes how the song comes arcross.

Check this out where you can hear it. After just reading this though, it is the first time I remember where the triplet is refered to the shuffle and the dotted 8th as swing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swung_note

Not sure this will answer your question for you, and I'm sure no jazz drummer.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I have always counted my Blues Shuffle Ride as such, 1 a2 a3 a4 a1 a2 a3 a4. I use the first musical notation that you post of. I reserve the triplets for Jazz Spang-A-Lang.
I believe that there is the separation between a Blues Shuffle Ride, and a Jazz Spang-A-Lang Ride. 1/8 note based Shuffle relates to Blues, and triplet based Shuffle rides relate to Jazz! I think, and count the rides differently. Does that make sense? I don't know how to explain it better than that.
I get compliments all the time on my steady Blues Shuffle rides.
 

KCDrummer

Silver Member
I don't think the way a swing or shuffle pattern is played really has anything to do with how it's written. It's one of those stylized rhythms (like Afro-Cuban or Brazilian styles) that can't REALLY be expressed in traditional notation. I think musician should determine their interpretations not by the way something is written, but by the context of the music. For example, the famous Buddy Rich tune "Groovin' Hard" has a deep shuffle feel, closer to the quarter-dotted 8th-16th notation. But it might be written in with the triplet notation, or even using a quarter note and two eighth notes. But if the musicians know what style and era the tune their playing comes from, they'll know how to interpret the swing.

I think the quarter-two eighths notation is the easiest to read and write. A lot of composers and arrangers wring all swing rhythms out in eighth notes but put some indication at the beginning of the chart--either the two eighths=first and third triplet, or simply writing the word "Swing" or "Shuffle".

Long story short, let your ears and your historical and stylistic knowledge be your guide, not notation.
 

donv

Silver Member
Is this a matter of subtlety or semantics?

As a musician I have always seen a shuffle written as such:

4/4 for th is example... ||: [quarter] - [dotted 8th] - [16th] :||


However, lately I have seen the shuffle written :

||: [quarter] - [triplet 8th] - [triplet 8th rest] - [triplet 8th] :||


There is a difference in the timing between these. I would call them both shuffles, but, wouldn't really call the later a bebop. I really don't consider myself a Jazz drummer by abilities , but, I do understand it from an overall musicians perspective...

Would just like to get a true jazz drummers opinion on this to straighten me out please..!
I'm not sure I could agree that notation makes no difference, but. . . Anyway, do you have Bellson's book on syncopation, Modern Reading Text in 4/4? I think he talks about this also in his write up at the beginning of the book.
 

TheGroceryman

Silver Member
I agree with KCDrummer....

every person's swing/shuffle will always sound different. Everyone's interpretation of the space in between the dotted eighth and the 16th or the 8th triplet rest will always sound a little bit different. Some will be more laid back, some will drive more, some will be just right. the notation doesn't really help that much. The most it would do is give the drummer a hint as to what the chart's feel should be.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Much appreciated.. So, relatively speaking it is more semantics than sublte difference. Interpretation of the needed feel of a song is going determine the approach more than the notation.

And, I would imagine that at 200BPM there is even more of a blur.. @:)

I don't have "Bellson's book on syncopation, Modern Reading Text in 4/4," but, I'll make sure to get it! Thanks donv.

I played jazz band in school, but, that really wasn't jazz... I want to make a concentrated effort to be able to do a little more than land on 2 and 4


Thanks All..!
 
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