Was Chapin really right?

johanisu

Member
'Scuse the rather tabloid title. I don't actually think Chapin was wrong in any respect. I was just wondering why he doesn't play any of the accents written in the Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer book on the CD.

Check it out:

http://www.drummerworld.com/Drumclinic/jimchapinbopfills.html

Also note in the example how despite his technique his time wavers slightly; it makes him seem somewhat more human. Still a great man, a drum luminary.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I think he does play the accents as written, although the dynamic range of the snare is this type of jazz comping ought to be quite narrow. Think of the accents as coming from a stick raised up somewhat, and the non-accents coming from additional bounces, or from a stick not raised much, if at all, above the drum. Additionally, he's probably playing pretty light sticks (maybe the size of 7As?), as was common practice in those days. The accent markings are just as much a representation of his playing, as they are a clue into how to accomplish the patterns (especially the quick groups of 3 and 4 snare notes).

And yes, the time wavers a teensy bit, but Chapin wasn't using a click, it was just him and the bass player going for it. Unless you were using a metronome, I think such fluctuations are almost unavoidable, even if your name is Jim Chapin. In those days, click tracks were not so ubiquitous in recording studios as they are today. If you did throw on the click, Chapin would have performed the same great stuff, but without fluctuation, and we all know it.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I'm not hearing the accents, but then there aren't that many unaccented notes. I've never been wild about the written accents anyway, honestly. The time is fine, his execution is just a little loose- the hihat isn't coming down exactly with the 2 and 4 of the cymbal, and he misses quite a few of the patterns the first time through. He also puts 16th on the e of the beat a little early for my taste. He may have been a little rusty at the drums (though I doubt his hands have ever been) at the time of the recording. It's not a big deal. I don't believe authors need to have everything they've ever written polished and ready to perform flawlessly in the book's format at all times.

It does illustrate a little bit how players approach these things- you learn them once, but don't necessarily maintain every last thing. You keep the things you like, and if your stuff is generally together you can at least creditably hack through the rest of it.
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
The heck with the accents, I'm not hearing the swing.
I think that's one of the only major flaws with this book. I would much prefer to take students etc through Sync, or Art of Bop as the 16th figures basically kill the swing from sitting well.

I can't recall ever hearing anyone play through those heavy 16th figures with any solid swing. They always feel stiff and very blocky, for lack of a better word. Throwing in 16th figures here and there should be done, but it should be the other around in my opinion. The amount of triplet figures (or lack thereof) he has in them should be how many 16th figures he has and vice versa....if that makes sense.
 

johanisu

Member
I think that's one of the only major flaws with this book. I would much prefer to take students etc through Sync, or Art of Bop as the 16th figures basically kill the swing from sitting well.

I can't recall ever hearing anyone play through those heavy 16th figures with any solid swing. They always feel stiff and very blocky, for lack of a better word. Throwing in 16th figures here and there should be done, but it should be the other around in my opinion. The amount of triplet figures (or lack thereof) he has in them should be how many 16th figures he has and vice versa....if that makes sense.
You're right: some figures are otiose. However these exercises can be applied in a musical way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0XED9VI2cg

The section I'm referring to starts around 2:05. Listen out for the melody of the head.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I think that's one of the only major flaws with this book. I would much prefer to take students etc through Sync, or Art of Bop as the 16th figures basically kill the swing from sitting well.

I can't recall ever hearing anyone play through those heavy 16th figures with any solid swing. They always feel stiff and very blocky, for lack of a better word. Throwing in 16th figures here and there should be done, but it should be the other around in my opinion. The amount of triplet figures (or lack thereof) he has in them should be how many 16th figures he has and vice versa....if that makes sense.
I agree with you, for the most part- for a long time I avoided/didn't bother doing a whole lot with them- either 16th or straight 8ths, both of which force that dreaded dotted 8th/16th cymbal interpretation on you.

One reason to work them up is for depth- to bring another common subdivision into the mix. It seems to be useful especially at slow and moderate tempos, and when playing in 2, for some reason. It could also give your fast tempos someplace to go, suggesting a half time feel. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about playing Chapin licks verbatim, just being comfortable with that zone of stuff.

Another reason for dealing with them is that soloists are very fond of playing 16ths, and being fluent with these ideas make it possible to intersect with them in not-so-obvious ways. You don't want to always be chasing the soloist around rhythmically, but it's nice to have options.

It's also good to have the capacity to make slight variations on your swing feel- some tunes/tempos/players may just want you to come in at a slightly different angle. You may not go to straight 16ths, but working on them gives you some leeway to move things around a little.

The really big non-esoteric reason is just to suggest double time.
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
I agree with you, for the most part- for a long time I avoided/didn't bother doing a whole lot with them- either 16th or straight 8ths, both of which force that dreaded dotted 8th/16th cymbal interpretation on you.

One reason to work them up is for depth- to bring another common subdivision into the mix. It seems to be useful especially at slow and moderate tempos, and when playing in 2, for some reason. It could also give your fast tempos someplace to go, suggesting a half time feel. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about playing Chapin licks verbatim, just being comfortable with that zone of stuff.

Another reason for dealing with them is that soloists are very fond of playing 16ths, and being fluent with these ideas make it possible to intersect with them in not-so-obvious ways. You don't want to always be chasing the soloist around rhythmically, but it's nice to have options.

It's also good to have the capacity to make slight variations on your swing feel- some tunes/tempos/players may just want you to come in at a slightly different angle. You may not go to straight 16ths, but working on them gives you some leeway to move things around a little.

The really big non-esoteric reason is just to suggest double time.
Yeah, absolutely. They are very necessary for all the reasons you mentioned, but Chapin's book deals in them too much.

Being able to swing playing close to 16th notes is important for slower tempos as quite often people feel the swing bounce a bit closer to 16ths there.

Either way, it's still an excellent book, but has its flaws like most.
 
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