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  #81  
Old 12-16-2011, 06:02 PM
TexasBackbeat TexasBackbeat is offline
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

I recently started using a Tama Rhythm Watch live with the phono out running into the on-stage mixer/ "ear rack" in an unused in channel (16) and I run a hardwired 1/4" out to my earbuds. I've got it set so I have stereo click and a balanced band mix in both ears. My lead man has gotten a fair amount of positive feedback as to how we sound as a group with me being on a click and having musicians that can follow and stay with me no matter what, and I can honestly say that it's not only improved my drumming, but i'll never go without it again. When the subject of sterility and musicality is concerned, it breaks out like this... if you're selling CDs at a merch booth of your originals, the folks at your show want to hear live what's on the CD... same tempo, etc... in order to ensure we're giving the crowd a quality product, we mimic the CD for all originals... this promotes consistency and keeps folks coming back show after show, IMO.
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  #82  
Old 12-16-2011, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

No its not!! Unless live means with help!!! Tempo is to be learned like anything else that has to do with performance. You have Live performances confussed with rehearsals. I honestly would feel cheated as a concert goer to find out that the drummer needed assistance to maintain time. Sorry your wrong, times do change so does tempo but thats the human element thats most appreciated by real listeners who want to see and hear you on your own not with help. You set the tempo whats next going to a drum track?? Stay home we don't need you any more your to human!!! Before you sit down behind a kit stand up and be counted...............in time the best YOU can do not a damn crutch!! Doc
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  #83  
Old 12-16-2011, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Originally Posted by Doctor Dirt View Post
No its not!! Unless live means with help!!! Tempo is to be learned like anything else that has to do with performance. You have Live performances confussed with rehearsals. I honestly would feel cheated as a concert goer to find out that the drummer needed assistance to maintain time. Sorry your wrong, times do change so does tempo but thats the human element thats most appreciated by real listeners who want to see and hear you on your own not with help. You set the tempo whats next going to a drum track?? Stay home we don't need you any more your to human!!! Before you sit down behind a kit stand up and be counted...............in time the best YOU can do not a damn crutch!! Doc
Agree to disagree. And I think you'd be very surprised (and apparently disappointed) if you knew how many huge bands play with click tracks live. It's not like the drummer isn't playing his instrument anymore. He still has to play his parts, but he has the click to help with the tempo.

How about keyboard players who use horn sounds? Do you also feel cheated when you find out that the band doesn't have a horn section?
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  #84  
Old 12-16-2011, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Originally Posted by Doctor Dirt View Post
No its not!! Unless live means with help!!! Tempo is to be learned like anything else that has to do with performance. You have Live performances confussed with rehearsals. I honestly would feel cheated as a concert goer to find out that the drummer needed assistance to maintain time. Sorry your wrong, times do change so does tempo but thats the human element thats most appreciated by real listeners who want to see and hear you on your own not with help. You set the tempo whats next going to a drum track?? Stay home we don't need you any more your to human!!! Before you sit down behind a kit stand up and be counted...............in time the best YOU can do not a damn crutch!! Doc
You must feel cheated often.

It is very common in modern music, and a requirement for a lot of paying gigs.

Many touring pros I know use clicks live because it's in the job description.
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  #85  
Old 12-16-2011, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Originally Posted by Doctor Dirt View Post
No its not!! Unless live means with help!!! Tempo is to be learned like anything else that has to do with performance.
And playing a gig with a click =/= not learning tempo in the first place.

Quote:
You have Live performances confussed with rehearsals.
No.

Quote:
I honestly would feel cheated as a concert goer to find out that the drummer needed assistance to maintain time.
And I thought it was all about the music...

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Sorry your wrong
Who's wrong, about what exactly, and why?

Quote:
times do change so does tempo but thats the human element thats most appreciated by real listeners who want to see and hear you on your own not with help.
Down with amplification, lightshows, sequenced interludes and roadies! Hey, which listeners aren't real exactly?

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You set the tempo whats next going to a drum track??
Not entirely unheard of.

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not a damn crutch!! Doc
Like that darn electronic amplification.
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  #86  
Old 12-16-2011, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Sometimes youth is so gooffy, your the ones being cheated!! I don't like synths trying to sound like horns because they can't. If you want a keyboard for a part fine but if I want a tenor I hire a tenor. You think your being innovated but what your doing is slowly and methodically eliminating the human factor, a natural response and the core of playing music and thats spontaneity!!!'Listen smart ass when your making a living out of performing live music call me we'll talk. An amp is sound rienforcement a click is leaning on a device to help maintain something you should be trying to perfect in time. Using a click isn't a roadie or lights those are additions what your doing is actually subtraction. The subtraction of the human element , honestly its been used for teaching for ever, try LEARNING something then go apply it.
I prefer my duck in orange sauce not to tuff you know it can get gamy when excited. Doc
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  #87  
Old 12-17-2011, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Sometimes youth is so gooffy, your the ones being cheated!!
Classy.

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You think your being innovated
I think you need to rephrase this coherently. We think we're innovating by using a click live? We think we're listening to someone innovating by using a click? What?

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but what your doing is slowly and methodically eliminating the human factor, a natural response and the core of playing music and thats spontaneity!!!
Well sorry, but I love classical music, I have an incredibly emotional experience at Tool concerts and so on. The success of film music is almost completely dependent on successfully evoking emotion and so on. Of course you don't have to like it all.

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Listen smart ass when your making a living out of performing live music call me we'll talk.
You're already talking. Albeit in a very vaguely directed rant form, rather bizarrely laid out as if if you were responding to one person. (I also remember you negatively referring to Nas in the plural...)

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An amp is sound rienforcement a click is leaning on a device to help maintain something you should be trying to perfect in time.
A click live can achieve things that not playing with a click can't. This has been pointed out to you, though you've completely refused to address it in preference to calling people goofy and smartasses, telling us we're being cheated completely regardless of what we actually listen to.

playing a gig with a click DOES NOT EQUAL not learning tempo in the first place. You recognise this right?

I do not think Porcupine Tree or Tool or Pink Floyd were all confusing live playing with rehearsal.


Quote:
Using a click isn't a roadie or lights those are additions what your doing is actually subtraction. The subtraction of the human element
Or adding elements - you know what they are, right, despite completely unaddressing them so far? Because we have several pages of people pointing them out.

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The subtraction of the human element , honestly its been used for teaching for ever, try LEARNING something then go apply it.
PLEASE elaborate on exactly what you mean, in a coherent sentence. These three statements are occupying the same sentence rather confusingly.

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I prefer my duck in orange sauce not to tuff you know it can get gamy when excited. Doc
Classy.

Last edited by Duckenheimer; 12-17-2011 at 12:20 AM.
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  #88  
Old 12-17-2011, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Doctor Dirt: but what your doing is slowly and methodically eliminating the human factor, a natural response and the core of playing music and thats spontaneity!!!

Duckenheimer: Well sorry, but I love classical music, I have an incredibly emotional experience at Tool concerts and so on. Of course you don't have to like it.

I agree with both of you. Music aimed at young people is becoming increasingly digitised. No doubt some music is best when it's super precise. However, I'm hearing a lot of pop songs on the radio that I think would be better served with more organic treatment ... but that's just me (and other oldies, I expect). Each generation's tastes vary.

I have this little conspiracy theory where I imagine The Evil Record Companies have deliberately conditioned young people's ears to respond to digital music because it's cheaper to produce. It's also artistically easy to control by hiring a programmer to create backing tracks for cute teenagers who can dance/writhe and just about carry a tune with the help of Autotune.

I've heard young people describe old music as "sloppy", which it is when compared with machines. Not sure if the next generation will get sick of Gen Z's digital sounds and rebel by being organic, or whether music will become ever more digital.

I'm guessing the former, based on Adele's popularity in 2011.
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  #89  
Old 12-17-2011, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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I agree with both of you. Music aimed at young people is becoming increasingly digitised. No doubt some music is best when it's super precise. However, I'm hearing a lot of pop songs on the radio that I think would be better served with more organic treatment ... but that's just me (and other oldies, I expect). Each generation's tastes vary.
I completely 100% agree that a helluva lot of music would be much better with more organic production and breathing in time and feel that a lot of modern music is very sterile and inhuman.

But do you agree that - er, someone - has live performances confused with rehearsals? How about Pink Floyd, Tool, etc? Do you agree that playing live with a metronome is unfair? That amplification and effects and light shows have never got in the way of human elements of playing? That a metronome being used live suggests a crutch for someone who hasn't learned time? That we're being goofy and cheating ourselves by not requiring every emotional experience music takes us on to be click free?

And does anyone have the slightest idea which listeners aren't real exactly?

Last edited by Duckenheimer; 12-17-2011 at 12:59 AM.
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  #90  
Old 12-17-2011, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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However, I'm hearing a lot of pop songs on the radio that I think would be better served with more organic treatment ... but that's just me (and other oldies, I expect). Each generation's tastes vary.
I feel exactly like you Polly, some of today's pop songs could be really good if it was more organic, but that would imply using a drummer instead of a machine, and that's costing a whole lot more money to record an album.

Thankfully, there's still some good artists who still use real musicians within their recordings.

Now for the OP question, I only use a metronome or a click to practice and for rehearsals, not for live playing...
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  #91  
Old 12-17-2011, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
I'm hearing a lot of pop songs on the radio that I think would be better served with more organic treatment ... but that's just me (and other oldies, I expect). Each generation's tastes vary.

I've heard young people describe old music as "sloppy", which it is when compared with machines. Not sure if the next generation will get sick of Gen Z's digital sounds and rebel by being organic, or whether music will become ever more digital
The concept of perfection if everywhere.

In the "my playing" section, how many times has someone pointed they were a bit sloppy, yet compared to 99% of the drum tracks from the 60's they would be well with-in the confines of what was considered "in time" ?
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  #92  
Old 12-17-2011, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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The concept of perfection if everywhere.

In the "my playing" section, how many times has someone pointed they were a bit sloppy, yet compared to 99% of the drum tracks from the 60's they would be well with-in the confines of what was considered "in time" ?
in fairness how strictly "in time" someone is and how "sloppy" they are aren't necessarily linearly related... If the guy lays the wrong parts of the groove behind or ahead the beat he will sound a lot sloppier than Steve Gadd pulling and pushing real wide. The guys who are grooving usually have the microtiming sitting in incredible places, regardless of how metronomic it is.
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  #93  
Old 12-17-2011, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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But do you agree that - er, someone - has live performances confused with rehearsals? How about Pink Floyd, Tool, etc? Do you agree that playing live with a metronome is unfair? That amplification and effects and light shows have never got in the way of human elements of playing? That a metronome being used live suggests a crutch for someone who hasn't learned time? That we're being goofy and cheating ourselves by not requiring every emotional experience music takes us on to be click free?

And does anyone have the slightest idea which listeners aren't real exactly?
Nah, I think all's fair in love, war and music. Whatever works IMO.

DD is a blues purist. I'm not a purist with anything - totally pragmatic. Anything goes. I can enjoy incredibly crass, crappy music if I'm in the mood.

Usually I'm just a sucker for a good melody or beat or vibe or well put together song ... I don't care how that's achieved. I couldn't care if they stuck a pulsing mechanism in the bum of a robot and got it farting out the time ... just as long as the music hits the spot, I'm happy.

The idea of "fairness" or "cheating" when it comes to using clicks seems to stem from competition for gigs or kudos. You get the "help" of a click to allow you to play better gigs because every second song isn't speeding up.

It's about purity. The romantic view is that the more technology added, the less direct human expression there is. You could argue that electric guitars and keys made music a little less subtle and personal (as compared with acoustic music). People seem okay with that. I am. I think the trend is against the subtle and personal in an increasingly crowded, noisy and digitised world.

That's my other theory - if the environment holds up then we'll evolve into cyborgs.

Getting back to "fairness" ... The idea is like those swimsuits they banned from international swimming because of the unfair advantage. Or maybe a javelin with a tiny invisible rocket installed at the tail. Or how about the outcry about Oscar Pistorius competing in races with his super functional artificial legs?



"Not fair!" the other athletes cried. (Of course, since Oscar P has it so good they could always arrange to have a catastrophic accident so they lost their legs too).

It's only natural that in the competitive hurly burly that protests are made when people use technology to gain some kind of advantage. Situation normal.
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:03 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Playing with a click does not make drumming sterile!

There is still a human drummer playing along to a click and there are always their imperfections in their playing...that is one of the huge differences between the sound of human drumming and that of a drum machine or of quantized drumming.

BUT!...as far your drumming goes I would not use the metronome for live performance. You have to learn to develop on tempo memory and holding tempo as a basic musicianship skill (this applies to all other musicians)...

...say you are faced with a performance or rehearsal situation without a metronome, you should be versatile.

Metronomes are great rehearsal/practice tools but you have to understand that in a band situation each musician's timing and dynamics interact. If you a have a metronome playing in your headset you might be inflexible to controlling how far behind or ahead of the beat you are in relation to everyone else in the band. In short, timing is balance issue between musicians.

The other downside is that if you are playing a tune that has variable tempo (for example a slowdown towards the end) a metronome will be no good for that and might actually be distracting.

Also remember that live performance does not have to match the recording so close...otherwise, why did the audience come to see your band perform. Live performance should always be something more than what is heard on a CD.

So if I was in your position I would learn to perform without the metronome.
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  #95  
Old 12-17-2011, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Playing with a click does not make drumming sterile!
True, but it is a piece of technology that sits between the player and the music. How much this interferes with the player's expression will depend on how comfortable the player is with the click.

Click or not click, a soulful player who is comfortable with a click will still sound great. Not too many will be able to tell the difference between a strong player with or without the click.
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  #96  
Old 12-17-2011, 05:08 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

The only thing not fair, or cheating in music, is lip synching or having someone else play and saying it's you. A lot of pros play with a click in their ears. If it helps, it's an aid but neither cheating or illegal.
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  #97  
Old 12-17-2011, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

2:05 tells you everything you need to know http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jySUpMqmzd4

From this point onwards there's a bit of drag & lift, especially towards the end, & It's bloody wonderful!!!!!!! Why wouldn't you lift the tempo in that end solo, I know I do. Our band is one of the very few who dare to pull this track off live. I'm not boasting, but I frequently get comments about our tempo control on this punishingly difficult number, & we play it a fair bit slower than Floyd do here.
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Old 12-17-2011, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

There are some more reasons why many big shows are being played with click:

As opposed to jazz (mostly), many pop/rock songs "function" best at a certain tempo,
and a click helps with that greatly. (Of course one could say the drummer could use
the click just for counting in and let go then.)

Many pop/rock shows include some sorts of backing tracks, loops, samples, you name it.
This works best with clicktrack.
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  #99  
Old 12-17-2011, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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2:05 tells you everything you need to know http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jySUpMqmzd4

From this point onwards there's a bit of drag & lift, especially towards the end, & It's bloody wonderful!!!!!!! Why wouldn't you lift the tempo in that end solo, I know I do. Our band is one of the very few who dare to pull this track off live. I'm not boasting, but I frequently get comments about our tempo control on this punishingly difficult number, & we play it a fair bit slower than Floyd do here.
Great performance from the old fellas. Good to see them still playing with style and passion. I'm not the best at picking slight tempo fluctuations - not too fussy about it as long as things are flowing nicely.

I like the way your band handles that tune. Very easy song to speed up. On a clumsy day I can imagine myself bumping that sucker up a good 5-10bpm by the final solo ...
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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2:05 tells you everything you need to know http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jySUpMqmzd4

From this point onwards there's a bit of drag & lift, especially towards the end, & It's bloody wonderful!!!!!!! Why wouldn't you lift the tempo in that end solo, I know I do...
Totally agree with this, I'm not a partisan of playing live with a click or a metronome, I much prefer to interact with the other musicians, and if the "mood" of the moments feel like an increase or drag of tempo, so be it... (with all the danger that's implied if you "missed the train" scenario)

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...not too fussy about it as long as things are flowing nicely...
+1, an important factor for me to make the music sounding "alive"....
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:25 PM
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+1, an important factor for me to make the music sounding "alive"....
It's not even that for me. I've just never been great with tempo :)

Funny thing. The band can play a song and think it's great. Then on playback the speedup sticks out like dogs' yarbles - and not to advantage.
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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It's not even that for me. I've just never been great with tempo :)

Funny thing. The band can play a song and think it's great. Then on playback the speedup sticks out like dogs' yarbles - and not to advantage.
Pol, your time & general meter is better than 90% of players I see, & way better than you think.

BTW, do you like how Nick rips the phones off his head? Love it!
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

edit: Never mind, misread :-)
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  #104  
Old 12-18-2011, 01:33 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Pol, your time & general meter is better than 90% of players I see, & way better than you think.

BTW, do you like how Nick rips the phones off his head? Love it!
Thanks Andy, but bear in mind that I don't post the really bad takes. I try to have mercy on people's ears ...

I guess my point is that I don't subscribe to the "keeps the beat alive" etc way of thinking when it comes to loose tempo. I did once, but no more. It's a common view but it has a "lemonade from a lemon" feel about it. Take those James Brown grooves. Totally bang on tempo ... and steaming. The "aliveness" comes more from the internal dynamics of the groove and the connection with the band. Also, if the bass and other rhythm section instruments are loose then the drummer can only carry them so far. Aliveness and groove are very much a team effort that's only as strong as its weakest link.

I enjoyed Nick ripping off the headset too - it looks like he's cutting loose in the throes of passion but you never know ... the click might have malfunctioned :)
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  #105  
Old 12-18-2011, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Using a metronome live is against the by-laws of music. You will be disqualified and must sit out for 3 gigs.

Is this honestly a question?
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  #106  
Old 12-18-2011, 03:14 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

i dont get why it would be wrong to
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  #107  
Old 12-18-2011, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

The reality is a drummer in today's modern era needs to know how to live with a click and without.

So many bands use loops, backing tracks, sequencers and such these days. If a drummer doesn't know how to use a click live, that drummer won't be getting those gigs.

Pretty much everyone I know who actually is able to make a living playing drums these days plays to a click live the majority of the time.

But of course, not every last gig is going to require this skill, and one needs to be able to still perform without said click.

The other aspect is someone you're in a room full of players and not everyone's sense of time is great. The bass player pulls, this player drags, and not everyone is on the same page. Pull up a click, and force them to fall in line, and suddenly the bands falls into place. Clicks can settle arguments really quickly.
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  #108  
Old 12-18-2011, 04:00 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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The other aspect is someone you're in a room full of players and not everyone's sense of time is great. The bass player pulls, this player drags, and not everyone is on the same page. Pull up a click, and force them to fall in line, and suddenly the bands falls into place. Clicks can settle arguments really quickly.
It works if everyone listens to the drummer. A couple of years ago I tried using an in-ear click at band practice. The band quickly pulled away from me and I had two tempos in my ear - the click and the band. Not pleasant. If I wasn't mad already it would have driven me there ...

One time we tried recording to a click and the band pulled away from the click and me in a matter of seconds and it all broke down. Some people can play okay normally but can't play with a click (or a drummer with a click) to save their lives.

It's a team effort.
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:19 AM
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It works if everyone listens to the drummer. A couple of years ago I tried using an in-ear click at band practice. The band quickly pulled away from me and I had two tempos in my ear - the click and the band. Not pleasant. If I wasn't mad already it would have driven me there ...

One time we tried recording to a click and the band pulled away from the click and me in a matter of seconds and it all broke down. Some people can play okay normally but can't play with a click (or a drummer with a click) to save their lives.

It's a team effort.
While I can agree that some players are having trouble to follow a click (it's in their mind, just knowing that the click is perfect!), I believe that every musicians should be able to play to a click, the day they'll do some recording in a studio for X or Y artists, they'll probably will have to do so.

It's not just down to the drummer to be able to follow a click, everybody needs to do it.

Polly, I'm wondering how your band mates manage to follow you when you're not playing to a click, your grooves are setting the tempo, right? So when you play the click in your ear plug they should be able to follow your grooves the same way. Or I'm mistaken and you follow them? If this is the case, well who's the timekeeper, you or them?
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:33 AM
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While I can agree that some players are having trouble to follow a click (it's in their mind, just knowing that the click is perfect!), I believe that every musicians should be able to play to a click, the day they'll do some recording in a studio for X or Y artists, they'll probably will have to do so.

It's not just down to the drummer to be able to follow a click, everybody needs to do it.

Polly, I'm wondering how your band mates manage to follow you when you're not playing to a click, your grooves are setting the tempo, right? So when you play the click in your ear plug they should be able to follow your grooves the same way. Or I'm mistaken and you follow them? If this is the case, well who's the timekeeper, you or them?
Yep, ideally everyone would be able to play with a click ... I mean, it's just like jamming with a cowbell, isn't it? No biggie. I suspect some people have a mental block about it.

Do I set the tempo? At times. At other times if I don't let myself get pulled along it sounds awful ... it makes me sound like I'm dragging and I really, really hate dragging. In some songs I can get them to come to me, in others I can't.

I tried policing it about a year ago but that created tension so I stopped. So no, I'm not keeping time, just drumming ...
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Old 12-18-2011, 04:39 AM
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I really, really hate dragging...
So you're telling that you don't mind to speed up?
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:08 AM
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So you're telling that you don't mind to speed up?
Ha! I'd rather be steady but if things are to go awry it's better to speed than slow down. I'd rather convey over-enthusiasm than sluggishness and lethargy.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:46 AM
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It's ok. I'm designing a piece that is entirely composed by the computer at the moment purely for my own amusement. Computers have much more taste than people.
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Old 12-19-2011, 03:00 PM
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Computers have much more taste than people...
Computers have a really clinical approach to music as opposed to spiritual, emotional and innovative approach by real people...

Now, Duncan, don't get me wrong, for your own pleasure and practicing environment, computer's music is fine, but for me, it doesn't compete with songs written and composed by people... :)
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:01 PM
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Computers have a really clinical approach to music as opposed to spiritual, emotional and innovative approach by real people...
That depends entirely on who is programming the computer. Sorry, I was having an obtuse joke (claiming I had much more taste than other people - which clearly isn't true). Apologies!

I am serious though when it comes to computer composition. I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhyWH...46AUAAAAAAAAAA

Is largely controlled by a computer (last two thirds of the video). Although not entirely.
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Old 12-19-2011, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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Polly, I'm wondering how your band mates manage to follow you when you're not playing to a click, your grooves are setting the tempo, right? So when you play the click in your ear plug they should be able to follow your grooves the same way. Or I'm mistaken and you follow them? If this is the case, well who's the timekeeper, you or them?
In my experience, that's really not how a good groove works out. It's a matter of push/pull from all players until that perfect pocket gets lined up for everyone. I've often found that aligning a song to a metronome grid is one of the quickest ways to lose the feel of real human inter-rhythm. It takes real time, practice and dedication to work your best magic with a group of players, but I think in the end, it's way worth it when the end product doesn't have the tempo set by a machine.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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In my experience, that's really not how a good groove works out. It's a matter of push/pull from all players until that perfect pocket gets lined up for everyone. I've often found that aligning a song to a metronome grid is one of the quickest ways to lose the feel of real human inter-rhythm. It takes real time, practice and dedication to work your best magic with a group of players, but I think in the end, it's way worth it when the end product doesn't have the tempo set by a machine.
Hi doctor, nice prescription here. :)

I agree with you, and most of my playing in a band setting is carried out without a metronome or a click track, i was just trying to give some highlight in regards to Polly's comment "A couple of years ago I tried using an in-ear click at band practice. The band quickly pulled away from me and I had two tempos in my ear - the click and the band", when we play, most of the time it's the rythm section (drums, bass, guitar) which lay down the road for the other players to ride on it, and they seems to be able to follow us quite well.

So I was just stating that if the drummer uses a click, the rest of the band should able to follow the tempo from the pulse of the drummer (they don't hear the click) without too much trouble. A drummer can also vary the tempo so slightly, even with a click, to suit the mood of the song, but it takes some practice to make it a smooth drag or pull feel within the track.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

Whenever this topic comes up, it almost always comes down to older drummers vs. younger drummers. To older drummers like Doctor Dirt, playing live with a click is just like ripping the heart and soul out of music. To younger drummers, playing live with a click is just an everyday part of drumming like stick control and coordination. In an interview with Tim "Thunder" Mason, that he did a few years ago in Modern Drummer, he said he had not played a live show without a click in almost 25 years. Carl Albrecht, goes on and on in his clinics about how a drummer today should always rehearse, practice, and play live with a click. He goes on about how once you hit a certain level of success in music, playing live with a click is mandatory. Every big act uses a click live and if you can't do it, you won't work. I'm sure someone on here will respond with the name of some oldies act that still sells out stadiums and does not use a click, but pretty much any band that became big in the last 20 to 30 years uses one. I will admit that there is a bit a a backlash against it with some of the very newest rock bands out there. So maybe in the great revolving door that is art and fashion, live clicks may fall out of favor, but for now you must be able to play with one live in order to be suscessful in the music business.
In response to a couple of people who said that they tried to play with one in their bands and you had a hard time because the band woud immediatly get off of the click. When I first started using a click with my bands, the same thing happened. They had to get used to playing with me and with me playing with a click. The keyboard player and I went round and round with the guitar player that we were not getting off during his solos and that we could not just adjust to whatever he played. Eventually, he came to really like the click, and got upset one night I forgot the adapter to plug it into my inears. By that point, our time as a band had improved so much that his solos stayed in time much more than they had before the click. We had to work out into's that were "in time". I either had to count off the intros or count the band in afterwards. I had to kept soft time on the hihat when the drums would drop out. It's just a matter of getting creative when working with your live arrangment. The more the band is used to fluctuating time, the harder it will be for them to learn to play with the click.

Last edited by DrumDoug; 12-19-2011 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

The OP sort of implies that it's cheating to use a click, but I would argue that for someone who isn't accustomed to it, it's harder. So I'm not sure if cheating is the right word, because cheating usually implies making something easier.

Regardless, working with a click all the time is going to improve your time when you aren't playing with one. I would bet that the drummer who can play along with a click in all situations - live or studio - will play better time without the click than the drummer who says he doesn't need it and never uses it.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?

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In response to a couple of people who said that they tried to play with one in their bands and you had a hard time because the band woud immediatly get off of the click. When I first started using a click with my bands, the same thing happened. They had to get used to playing with me and with me playing with a click. The keyboard player and I went round and round with the guitar player that we were not getting off during his solos and that we could not just adjust to whatever he played. Eventually, he came to really like the click, and got upset one night I forgot the adapter to plug it into my inears. By that point, our time as a band had improved so much that his solos stayed in time much more than they had before the click.
Ah, perseverance. Well done, Doug. I just gave up.

Our keyboardist (who has the worst timing in the band) was hostile to the "robot time". He didn't even like me using a 'nome for starting tempos. He's a blues guy and some blues guys have a big attitude about these things. Fair nuff, each to their own.

What our kys guy likes is having an obliging, weak-willed drummer like me who bends and twists (and basically does everything wrong) in order to get the music as workable as possible in a musically unworkable situation :)

So the young drummer / older drummer comment has some merit but is not universal. It's possible that I'm older than Doc Dirt :)

8-Mile, I agree. Playing to a click is a skill like any other. It's not easier.
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