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Old 08-02-2018, 08:00 AM
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Default Too Much 2 & 4

I thought I’d share this new “ah ha” moment I had.

I was trained to provide the backbeat for the band. When doing a drum fill in the song, the goal was to get back to the 2 & 4 as soon as possible. Always provide the click for the band. When I first started playing the drums in a band, I started out playing with my friends. We were 13 and 14 years old. So it was imperative that I provide a solid backbeat. And I have heard many times here on this forum how the basic job of the drummer is to provide a solid tempo for the band. And how you will be in high demand if you provide a solid tempo with less fills. Playing like this with a few small fills and a few cymbal crashes has worked great for me for many years.

Last week I went to see a jazz band play. Not just any jazz band but some really special players. Billy Cobham (drums), Ron Carter (bass) and Kenny Barron (piano). Of course they were great. The tempo for the songs was kept on the ride cymbal, hi hat with very few soft ghost notes on the snare drum. And I noticed that there was a lot of open spaces in Cobham’s playing. Of course the other two players had a great sense of time. And as you would expect they never lost the tempo even when the drums dropped out for a bar or two.

It just so happened that the very next day I watched a video of myself playing in a band. And I heard this monotonous repetitive snare drum beat. I was hitting a 2 & 4 back beat with a driving bass drum. Pretty much the exact opposite of the jazz I had listened to the day before. It was a medium blues shuffle. The drum part was what the song called for, but it sounded to me very sterile, un-creative and repetitive.

So this week I started to question whether or not I should be holding a solid un-wavering backbeat for the whole song, on every song. This week I tried something new while playing with the band. I tried to loosen up a little on the solid 2 & 4. For instance I hit a solid 2, but on the 4 I did a ruff or a drag ruff. And I tried two quick 32nd notes on the 4. During the bridge when the guitar player was soloing I hit only the 2 and not the 4. It was amazing how much more musical I sounded. And it did not seem to bother the other band members. Although I think I need to be careful how far I take this. And some cover songs require a certain drum part to be played. I have lots more experimenting to do on this. I’m now wondering where this new (new to me) idea will take me.

All this is probably nothing new to most of you seasoned drummers. But for me, I think I’ve found by creating some space, and changing up the constant 2 & 4, that I can play the same old songs and yet at the same time become a more musical drummer.



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Old 08-02-2018, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

I'm a firm believer in that it's not what you do....it's how you do it.

My thought is 2 and 4 all night long can be pedestrian...or it can be magical. Depends on the attitude...and in the final net product...in which it is played, totally.

But hey, if you found a fresh approach, who am I to knock that down? Good for you Hollywood.
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Maybe you should try shifting everything you play one beat to the right ;)
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:35 PM
AndeeT AndeeT is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Been listening to a lot of country music lately and hey use what you describe to good effect;

A beat played with a cross-stick on two and a rimshot on four. So it gives a weak-strong relationship between two and four.

Other times they put a kick on two and snare in four. Other times it’s the snare on two and bass drum on four.

The last two examples are almost like a half time feel.... but different again.

Great idea for adding drags, you can give a similar effect with a single handed buzz instead.

Many options here and I would certainly like to explore these more. Though I think it’s because of the 2/4 backbeat dogma that these other things sound spicey. Definitely a rule made to be broken!
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:10 PM
Maverick10 Maverick10 is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Hollywood Jim,

Something else that could help break up the 2 & 4, is try varying your ostinato pattern in your hihat/ride hand. Sometimes breaking up that ostinato can lessen the monotonous feel you're getting from play a straight 2 & 4. It can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Like adding a simple hihat bark on just the 4 or getting all Carter Beauford on it.
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Old 08-02-2018, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Sometimes I practice not doing what I normally do. Doing the opposite maybe.
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Old 08-02-2018, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Have fun with it, Jim. David Garibaldi talks about this exact thing with TOP. He was very intent on keeping the songs grooving while mixing up the backbeat. Worked pretty well for him!

It really gets down to what you think is best for the song. There’s not one “best”, so this is where creativity comes in. On more than one occasion I’ve had guitar players suggest a beat. At first I’d roll my eyes, but once I started trying a less orthodox groove, I realized there’s more than one way to make the music sound good.

Check out Elton John’s “Honky Cat” especially towards the end!
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Old 08-02-2018, 10:33 PM
AndeeT AndeeT is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

A few examples of what I talked about earlier;

backbeat on four, bass drum on 1,2,3;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgUj9X0yP0g

A lot of keeping time on bass drum and hi-hat, with occasional backbeat on '4';

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l3u...aIzhYOCzJcYX2U

Two songs with the opposite of the first example; backbeat only on '2';

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awzN...cYX2U&index=11


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or-L...cYX2U&index=14


These different backbeats seems to come up in this genre pretty frequently, and I guess its nothing ground-breaking, but I think they still work great, and sound fresh at the same time.
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndeeT View Post
A few examples of what I talked about earlier;
backbeat on four, bass drum on 1,2,3;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgUj9X0yP0g
A lot of keeping time on bass drum and hi-hat, with occasional backbeat on '4',
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l3u...aIzhYOCzJcYX2U
Two songs with the opposite of the first example; backbeat only on '2';
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awzN...cYX2U&index=11
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or-L...cYX2U&index=14

These different backbeats seems to come up in this genre pretty frequently, and I guess its nothing ground-breaking, but I think they still work great, and sound fresh at the same time.
Yes, that's the kind of playing I'm talking about. If I would have played those songs, without first hearing the drum parts or thinking about the feeling of the song,
I might have simply played the 2 & 4. And probably gotten fired by the producer. LOL


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Old 08-03-2018, 02:36 PM
Swissward Flamtacles Swissward Flamtacles is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Do you have this Stanton Moore book already? https://www.steveweissmusic.com/prod...set-methods-cd
It contains a lot of great grooves without constant accents on 2 and 4 that work in different genres.
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Old 08-03-2018, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissward Flamtacles View Post
Do you have this Stanton Moore book already? https://www.steveweissmusic.com/prod...set-methods-cd
It contains a lot of great grooves without constant accents on 2 and 4 that work in different genres.
No, I don't have that book. I checked YouTube and there are several videos regarding his book and ideas. I'll check it out. Thank you !!!!


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Old 08-03-2018, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
..But for me, I think I’ve found by creating some space, and changing up the constant 2 & 4, that I can play the same old songs and yet at the same time become a more musical drummer..

A lot of what Jim Keltner plays with Ry Cooder is also a perfect example of that..
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Old 08-04-2018, 02:46 AM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

In jazz the 2&4 is usually done with the hihat, the snare will often be played to mark the one. A beginner jazz drummer will keep this going the entire song. If you actually ever listen to rock, like the AOR programming there are lots of parts where the drummer just plays quarter notes on the ride bell or a cow bell, or just crashes on the one etc. Sometimes just kicking it down the road.
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Old 08-09-2018, 03:14 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

I try to go against the norm so even though MANY songs my band writes will have parts emphasizing the 2 and 4, I don't always do it an entire song.

Sometimes to break it up doing a fill that goes over the bar line will force you to drop out the "2" and break it up just long enough for everyone to perk up and then get back to 2 and 4.

I tend to practice accenting weird spots, the "ands" and "ahs" eventually it makes it's way into my playing. I play originals though so I can mess around. And I play for myself and my band, I don't really care to please the masses.. .One of the benefits of being in a punk/metal band.
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

And then you've got Clyde Stubblefield displacing the snare to the 'and' of four, starting with Cold Sweat.

That sounds cool in styles other than funk when used sparingly.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

I'm a firm believer of changing things up from just a simple 2 & 4 beat wherever it makes sense to do so, even if it's just adding some color to the hi hat groove or accenting hits with the rest of the band. I have a good example that entails both of these, which I can demonstrate with a Before and After.

A couple years ago, I replaced the drummer in a band who played very simple 2 & 4 grooves.
Here is one song they did with him on drums.

When I came in, I changed up the grooves on pretty much all of the songs, and we went back into the studio to recut all the tracks.
Here's the same song with me on drums.

The newer recording is a much higher quality recording overall, but you can still plainly hear how the groove I used dramatically changed the feel of the song. By hitting accents with the guitars and doing funky little fills on the hi hat, the song feels much less stiff, much groovier and more musical.

Not that I'm trying to toot my own horn... well maybe I am tooting my horn. Whatever ;)

Last edited by TK-421; 08-09-2018 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:24 AM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-421 View Post
I'm a firm believer of changing things up from just a simple 2 & 4 beat wherever it makes sense to do so, even if it's just adding some color to the hi hat groove or accenting hits with the rest of the band. I have a good example that entails both of these, which I can demonstrate with a Before and After.

A couple years ago, I replaced the drummer in a band who played very simple 2 & 4 grooves.
Here is one song they did with him on drums.

When I came in, I changed up the grooves on pretty much all of the songs, and we went back into the studio to recut all the tracks.
Here's the same song with me on drums.

The newer recording is a much higher quality recording overall, but you can still plainly hear how the groove I used dramatically changed the feel of the song. By hitting accents with the guitars and doing funky little fills on the hi hat, the song feels much less stiff, much groovier and more musical.

Not that I'm trying to toot my own horn... well maybe I am tooting my horn. Whatever ;)
Yeah. That's what I'm talking about........


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Old 08-10-2018, 05:43 AM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-421 View Post
I'm a firm believer of changing things up from just a simple 2 & 4 beat wherever it makes sense to do so, even if it's just adding some color to the hi hat groove or accenting hits with the rest of the band. I have a good example that entails both of these, which I can demonstrate with a Before and After.

A couple years ago, I replaced the drummer in a band who played very simple 2 & 4 grooves.
Here is one song they did with him on drums.

When I came in, I changed up the grooves on pretty much all of the songs, and we went back into the studio to recut all the tracks.
Here's the same song with me on drums.

The newer recording is a much higher quality recording overall, but you can still plainly hear how the groove I used dramatically changed the feel of the song. By hitting accents with the guitars and doing funky little fills on the hi hat, the song feels much less stiff, much groovier and more musical.

Not that I'm trying to toot my own horn... well maybe I am tooting my horn. Whatever ;)
Nice work!

Quote:
And I have heard many times here on this forum how the basic job of the drummer is to provide a solid tempo for the band. And how you will be in high demand if you provide a solid tempo with less fills. Playing like this with a few small fills and a few cymbal crashes has worked great for me for many years.
This is very good advice, for when you're playing very new, rock-oriented material, or when your fellow musicians have bad rhythm. The problem is that some musicians don't get the chance to grow past this point, and some songs don't need syncopation and fills.

But not ALL musicians, and not ALL songs.

The "keep it simple" crowd needs to realize that less is sometimes, actually, less.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Yeah. That's what I'm talking about........
Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
Nice work!
Thanks again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
The "keep it simple" crowd needs to realize that less is sometimes, actually, less.
That's spot on. In fact, the old drummer in my band was fired because his playing was just too simplistic. It's always dependent on the situation, but the playing has to fit the music. Some songs call for a simple 2 & 4 beat, but I think most could use a little more. And when they do, you need to be able to deliver what the song needs. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:46 AM
Woolwich Woolwich is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-421 View Post
I'm a firm believer of changing things up from just a simple 2 & 4 beat wherever it makes sense to do so, even if it's just adding some color to the hi hat groove or accenting hits with the rest of the band. I have a good example that entails both of these, which I can demonstrate with a Before and After.

A couple years ago, I replaced the drummer in a band who played very simple 2 & 4 grooves.
Here is one song they did with him on drums.

When I came in, I changed up the grooves on pretty much all of the songs, and we went back into the studio to recut all the tracks.
Here's the same song with me on drums.

The newer recording is a much higher quality recording overall, but you can still plainly hear how the groove I used dramatically changed the feel of the song. By hitting accents with the guitars and doing funky little fills on the hi hat, the song feels much less stiff, much groovier and more musical.

Not that I'm trying to toot my own horn... well maybe I am tooting my horn. Whatever ;)
Lovely playing :-)
My opinions, for what they’re worth, are first of all that song isn’t a song that needs the drummer to play on the 2 and 4. It's got a “funk” feel that you didn’t just capture but that your playing pulled the song in its proper direction. I wish I was that good.

Some songs that people may think are basic 2 and 4 actually aren’t. My band is looking at adding a few AC/DC songs into the set, AC/DC being a band that’s often suggested to beginners for their simplicity. But listening to them properly as a drummer for the first time they’re far from simple (by which I mean “beginner simple “). All of the songs I’ve looked at so far have Phil Rudd swinging with his hi hat (ONE two ONE two ONE two, as oppposed to one two three four one two three four) and very often there’ll be ‘a moment’ somewhere in the chorus or middle eight where you have to step back and just figure where he displaced or missed one beat. Then you click on to what he did and it’s business as usual but there’s a head scratching moment while you catch the drift.

Finally in defence of the 2 and 4, if a drummer isn’t confidently able to pull off a fill then it may be the better option to just drive the song along and not even try. And personally I’m not a fan of the thing you often see in songs or product reviews where someone plays a bar or two, rolls down the kit, then hits the crash before getting back on the 2 and 4. I consciously avoid that fill and would rather steamroller the 2 and 4 than divert to the “biddly dum crash” fill, I know I can play it if I want to. I just don’t want to!
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:14 AM
Midiglitch Midiglitch is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-421 View Post
I'm a firm believer of changing things up from just a simple 2 & 4 beat wherever it makes sense to do so, even if it's just adding some color to the hi hat groove or accenting hits with the rest of the band. I have a good example that entails both of these, which I can demonstrate with a Before and After.

A couple years ago, I replaced the drummer in a band who played very simple 2 & 4 grooves.
Here is one song they did with him on drums.

When I came in, I changed up the grooves on pretty much all of the songs, and we went back into the studio to recut all the tracks.
Here's the same song with me on drums.

The newer recording is a much higher quality recording overall, but you can still plainly hear how the groove I used dramatically changed the feel of the song. By hitting accents with the guitars and doing funky little fills on the hi hat, the song feels much less stiff, much groovier and more musical.

Not that I'm trying to toot my own horn... well maybe I am tooting my horn. Whatever ;)
That was excellent, thank you for sharing, really admire your playing. Great to hear both the old and the new - there is a lot I will learn from this.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:50 PM
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Alex Sanguinetti Alex Sanguinetti is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Originally rock, and derivatives were not so strong on 2 and 4. But as years passed and rock drummers grew up COMPLETLY away from listening to Jazz (remember all the drummers from the 60´s and 70´s were fans of jazz drummers: Ginger Baker, Shrieve, Bonham, Mitchell, Paice, etc.), the 2 and 4 was really imposed (and easier to play), this happened around the 80´s were almost no rock drummer already could mention the name of a Jazz drummer or own a Jazz record at home.

Kind of the same influence was also in the rock music IN GENERAL too.

But in the Jazz tradition, that is still really normal... It´s so boring to play all day the same...one thing is to be unobstructive, other to have no imagination and technique...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-3v0NN3FNo

Last edited by Alex Sanguinetti; 08-10-2018 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Playing for the song is the game.

Now, if you're not necessarily trying to reproduce pop hits at a bar you could take those same songs and do something different. That goes for the whole band though, not just the drum beat.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

I'm a big advocate for having a creative outlet, even if it's just a jam session once a month with some like-minded musicians where you can stretch out. If you don't have something like that, restlessness can creep in and lead you to mess with things when simple is the right thing to do for the music. Get that out of your system with a creative jam or side project so you don't feel the need to clutter up your rock beats.

It worked for me, anyway.
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:37 AM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Practice odd meters. Way less intuitive to find a backbeat there. Then you can try and apply some of those groupings to common time and see if something usable comes out.
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Old 08-12-2018, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Thank you all for your comments. Very interesting ideas and thoughts !


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Old 08-13-2018, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
I'm a big advocate for having a creative outlet, even if it's just a jam session once a month with some like-minded musicians where you can stretch out. If you don't have something like that, restlessness can creep in and lead you to mess with things when simple is the right thing to do for the music. Get that out of your system with a creative jam or side project so you don't feel the need to clutter up your rock beats.

It worked for me, anyway.
Works for me too since playing in a cover band is fairly restrictive.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:35 PM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

I like playing it with different instruments, gives it a little bit different look and feel.

I am particularly inspired by Columbian Gaiteros these days, here is a good shot of the giant Guord shaker playing 2&4

https://youtu.be/0CTZRTl6Aio
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Old 08-14-2018, 02:54 AM
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Default Re: Too Much 2 & 4

It is the genre. Almost everyone, including myself, loves 4/4 music with snare on 2 and 4. It is in tune with our human rhythm or something.

However I am currently working with avant-gard jazz stuff where I almost never do the above. Not for everyone, and most people cannot even stand to hear it for a moment.

But I cannot live without hearing music with a snare on 2 and 4. It is great! It is called common time for a reason.
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