Thread: John Bonham
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:10 AM
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CooManChu CooManChu is offline
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Default Re: John Bonham

Originally Posted by theduke86
I thought I'd return this discussion to John Bonham. I have a question. How do you guys all count the drum intro to Rock and Roll?
I transcribed it as follows:

I'm not sure, but I think on the album version, he's stricter about playing a locked hands shuffle through the tune, but on the live stuff I think he cuts the snare down to just the backbeats and some ghosted, locked hands here and there.

As far as counting it, I think the above is the most logical. I've seen transcriptions and tabs that add a 2/4 bar or something right before the band comes in to make up for an entrance that starts right on 1 of the first bar and ends with a crash right on a downbeat when the band comes in. I definitely hear the crash on the upbeat (just before the band enters on the downbeat) plus I don't think that it's logical to have a bar of 2/4 before the band comes in when the rest of the tune is in 4/4.

Incidentally, I've seen published transcriptions that so something similar on Misty Mountain Hop. One actually adds a bar on 9/8 or something. For me, I don't think Zeppelin, even as rhythmically sound as they were, would do something like that on a tune like Misty or add a 2/4 bar before the band enters on Rock and Roll. It's far more logical to transcribe the intro with no barlines and begin counting backwards if necessary to figure out where the intro starts with respect to the band coming in. Then you end up with something like the above graphic: an entrance in the middle of a pick-up bar to a 4 bar intro - very logical, very straight forward, and very likely.

BYW, on the studio version during the verse parts, I hear a few different bass drum variations (which I have transcribed), but through it all, Bonham plays a heavier downbeat when riding on the hi-hat. I've seen transciptions that have him playing just quarters while riding on the hih-hat, but I don't hear it that way. Also, on some of the live videos, you can catch a glimpse of his stick and it's definately articulating two attacks (the downbeat and the upbeat), so the sort of two attacks for the price of one seems like a reasonable technique to employ on this shuffle groove.

Of course, I am probably totally wrong, but hopefully someone will correct me and I can amend my transcription and be better for it. :)

Thanks for the opportunity to bring this discussion back to music. Oh, and my feet are not very fast (yet), so I have to make up for it by studying the people whose music I enjoy so that someday I'll be a better musican AND my feet will be faster. :)
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