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Old 10-05-2011, 07:10 PM
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joshvibert joshvibert is offline
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Default Do you avoid beat displacement - soundfile added, post #7

I have a little bit of a "condition" in my playing. I think it's because I studied a lot of Carter Beauford early on, but beat displacement just naturally finds it's way into my playing. I recently started playing a gig in IHOP-Atlanta (24/7 worship/prayer center). It's a 2-hr set and sometimes you're playing the same chord progression over and over for 20 min or more while folks are praying, so in order to keep it from getting too monotonous, some of my grooves have displayed significant beat displacement. We do play with a click, so theoretically the other instrumentalists should be ok, but I just got a recording of our set from last week and there are at least 5 places where my throwing the beat around causes a bit of a glitch in the flow.

Things like that stand out more when you listen back to it than when you're doing it live and you play it, and then the moment's gone.

Any advice on how to "keep it interesting" without throwing the beat around too much.

I'd share a sound file, but it's just over 2hrs long with no breaks, so the file's huge.

EDIT: Soundfile: http://soundcloud.com/joshvibert/ihop-intercession-9-25


Thanks!

Last edited by joshvibert; 10-06-2011 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:01 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Interesting question!

Bottom line: if you're throwing off the band, you need to change what you're doing. Not every group can (or wants to) play like Mahavishnu!

So you don't want things to get too monotonous, but you don't want to throw anyone off, either. Even if there are high-caliber players with great timing, you're making them "work" when they have to consciously think about keeping the beat. If you're doing this in the middle of their improvisations, they will probably not appreciate it much, but if you're displacing and syncopating interactively, you might get a warmer reception. You can't just dispace and syncopate at whim and expect everyone to think you're great; there needs to be a musical context for your explorations. Carter Beauford gets away with it frequently, but within the context of his BAND, and they're expecting it. Big difference!

Imagine you're a guitar player, and you're playing a long run with a pretty intricate shape, melody, and picking pattern, but it's going to sound great. In terms of difficultly, it's near the apex of what you can do on the instrument. Right in the middle of it, the drummer changes the position of the backbeat. Now you are beyond what you can accomplish comfortably, and you slur the run, and land on the wrong target note, and the moment is not great.

Do you think this guitar player is going to hire you to fill in when his regular guy isn't available?

On the other hand, suppose you wait until after the guitar player's run is over, and then you displace by an 8th. The guitar player (who just now has some brainpower available) "gets it", and bends the last note of that run in time with your displaced beat, until the end of a couple measures, where you play a sweet fill, and everyone lands firmly on the 1.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:34 PM
Bertram Bertram is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Make some fills. But still keep it clean, and smooth. Tiny fills, nothing too big to make it all go worng.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Don't assume that it's your job to make the music interesting. If the bass, guitar & keys can't work around your groove and keep the song interesting, I think that's their issue, not yours. If everyone tries to be interesting at once, it's usually a cacophony. The drummer lays down a groove, and the other instruments work around it, at least in most band/genre situations. Obviously there are exceptions, but I can't imagine that's the case in most praise bands.

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Old 10-06-2011, 12:27 AM
Stitch Kaboodle Stitch Kaboodle is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Best advice I can give is to record yourself and hear how fills sound. Because of the nature of drumming, dynamics matter a great deal. Volume in many other instruments is usually determined by a knob (down at the back!). So what feels like a well projected fill might infact sound completely different in playback. This will lead you to play around different phrasing e.g. perhaps easing up on the tom hits etc. to bring everything to a similar level. That's just an example. Just because you're physically feeling every hit does not mean that each hit will project the way you want it to.

The other thing is timing or micro-timing. Sometimes if we're not playing the offbeat 16s (again, for example) nicely in the groove of the song it can all come apart at the seams. Recording yourself is a good way of ironing out these issues.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

To answer the question at hand, yes, I generally avoid beat displacement in a group setting. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but those are very few and far between.

I know playing the same thing for 2 hours straight is monotonous, but keep in mind that you're playing praise and worship music... I don't think you want to detract from the audience's worship experience. Try to keep that in mind, and then go all Mars Volta when you get home!
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Ok, I didn't feel like I was explaining very well, so I've uploaded the whole 2hr set onto Soundcloud. Drums don't start until about 10 min (We transition teams live, so there's setup time involved). 37:00 starts one of the 20 min chord progression things I was talking about. One of the more up-tempo tunes starts around 1:04:00. Another more jam-based tune starts around 1:31:56. Please also bear in mind that this is a live, on-the-fly recording with no prior rehersal, no 2nd takes, just whatever was in the board recorded. There are some longer instrumental only places - that's where folks are praying, but that channel wasn't recorded.

Hopefully this will put my question in a better context and help with answering it. Soundcloud compressed the sound quite a bit, too.

Ok, enough excuses: http://soundcloud.com/joshvibert/ihop-intercession-9-25
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:14 PM
Bertram Bertram is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

To be honest your drumming is excellent, but use more cymbals the right times. And i think your hi hat needs more mic since it's pretty important in this beat...
That's just about what i think is needed. I think the bass drum needs to stand out more, with a better attack.
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  #9  
Old 10-06-2011, 05:49 PM
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inneedofgrace inneedofgrace is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

I am very careful to try out any beat displacement during worship services, unless it is during a break in the song (middle 8, etc) where other instruments are improvising as well.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:03 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

I think you are making a fundamental mental error in thinking you sound monotonous after 20 minutes. That is a trap that evil little devils set. That "monotonous" beat is anything but. I've learned by failing to never never assume that a beat that doesn't change is boring. Major pitfall that got me many times. Cheers to you for recording and listening back. Nowadays, as "boring" as it sounds, I just keep that beat, and do only absolutely necessary fills. Granted the beats are rich and lush, and hopefully the fills are well chosen and executed, but I never think I have to change it up anymore to counteract sameness. It's a security thing. I know my beat is enough.
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  #11  
Old 10-06-2011, 06:05 PM
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inneedofgrace inneedofgrace is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Every time my band plays Taking Care of Business, my guitarist yells at me when I subconsiously change the beat during the middle portion of the song. I can't figure out why my brain gets tripped up during this song, but it really irritates him. Consistency is king!
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

i think record yourself & if i would have to guess leave it out. of course, any back-beats on the end of 2 or 4 are cool tho, ala Clyde Stubblefield / James Brown.

i have studied & shedded a bunch of displacement stuff and it seems to be only good for 2 things:

(1) makes your time feel / beat orientation VERY strong. when you are able to displace beats by 16th notes / triplets (cycle a single groove thru all the permutations) your groove "sense" really becomes stronger. also helps you get out of weird situation where say THE TROMBONE section has displaced the time by an 8th or 16th & the bass player follows them.

(2) Vinnie. my latest fav is how he get's out of his solo into Led Boots (Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scott's). maybe i am thinking the transition into Scatterbrain ?
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Ok, I listened to this again and found a PERFECT example of what I'm talking about. Listen to the soundfile at 1:44:00. A few measures after that point you'll hear it. I guess I just need to keep straight time to keep that from happening. Is what I was doing there really that odd, though?
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Your job is part conductor, and you have to lead your people through the song in an apparent manner. Learn to displace, while doing your job. Then you are displacing the beat properly. It is like snatching the pebble from the master's hand. When you can do it, your are ready, grasshopper.
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:21 AM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
Bottom line: if you're throwing off the band, you need to change what you're doing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Don't assume that it's your job to make the music interesting. If the bass, guitar & keys can't work around your groove and keep the song interesting, I think that's their issue, not yours.
Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I think you are making a fundamental mental error in thinking you sound monotonous after 20 minutes.
Those posts say it all, unless you're playing in a style where the drummer is an equal partner. In most styles, we're an essential component but just accompanists.

Thing is, it's not easy to play any rhythms - no matter how simple - with accurate time, sound and dynamics ... consistently over a long period.

About once every three months or so I get in the zone and fluke it ... when that happens I don't have to do anything more than keep the groove happening consistently, work with the changes and highlights, and the music will be pleasing.

For the next week after that I feel like the Queen of The World, like a proper musician with a simple, articulate voice! ... until the next time I play and return to my usual, wobbly, sloppy impostor self ...

Since we're talking about church and worship etc, I think the saying is "Pride cometh before the fall" :)
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:37 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshvibert View Post
Ok, I listened to this again and found a PERFECT example of what I'm talking about. Listen to the soundfile at 1:44:00. A few measures after that point you'll hear it. I guess I just need to keep straight time to keep that from happening. Is what I was doing there really that odd, though?
Big props to you for posting your playing! It takes guts! And you're a fine drummer, with nice dynamics and cool chops! I'm sometimes guilty of taking a big fill or crazy idea at the expense of the groove (I know, it's a horrible habit!), so I feel I can relate to your playing.

But yes, what you were doing was really that odd! Maybe not to us, as connoisseurs of rhythm, but to the singers and other musos, yes, especially since the singers are right in the middle of a phrase! You're playing the snare on the "e" of beat 4, instead of on the 4. There really isn't that much space between these two placements, so, yes, it's easy to mistake the "e" for the 4, which is what I believe happened to the singers (more so to the backup singer). Had you played on beat 4 with, say, your left foot on the hi-hat, they probably would have stayed solid.

But there's a larger issue at work here: you're syncopating within a 16th note (and sometimes 32nd note!) feel, and the band is syncopating in an 8th note feel. What you're playing mathematically adds up (though you could be more steady and deliberate in your approach), but you really should be asking yourself: why am I playing this one way, when every other member of the band is playing another way? Why do I feel the need to place my own tendencies and desires ahead of everyone else's?

I'm NOT saying you shouldn't play any 16th notes! You definitely should, but within this particular piece, they should serve as "connections" to the 8ths and quarters throughout the vast majority of the music. Save the "broken 16ths" for a crazy tom fill, and choose your moments wisely.

There are quite a few moments where your playing is "too much" in the sense that your rhythms don't match the context of the music, like around the 1:10 mark. The band is pretty much playing 8ths and accenting on the downbeats, and you are everywhere but there. In that piece (and others), I'm also noticing that, if there isn't some singing going on, you ALWAYS take that opportunity to play a fill. Not the most mature approach, here. Let someone else have some fun in those spaces once in a while! Share!

There are moments when the band does actually syncopate 16ths, so there is room for the style of playing you like, but you need to evaluate what the other instruments are doing rhythmically to decide if such embellishment is a good idea. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
Big props to you for posting your playing! It takes guts! And you're a fine drummer, with nice dynamics and cool chops! I'm sometimes guilty of taking a big fill or crazy idea at the expense of the groove (I know, it's a horrible habit!), so I feel I can relate to your playing.

But yes, what you were doing was really that odd! Maybe not to us, as connoisseurs of rhythm, but to the singers and other musos, yes, especially since the singers are right in the middle of a phrase! You're playing the snare on the "e" of beat 4, instead of on the 4. There really isn't that much space between these two placements, so, yes, it's easy to mistake the "e" for the 4, which is what I believe happened to the singers (more so to the backup singer). Had you played on beat 4 with, say, your left foot on the hi-hat, they probably would have stayed solid.

But there's a larger issue at work here: you're syncopating within a 16th note (and sometimes 32nd note!) feel, and the band is syncopating in an 8th note feel. What you're playing mathematically adds up (though you could be more steady and deliberate in your approach), but you really should be asking yourself: why am I playing this one way, when every other member of the band is playing another way? Why do I feel the need to place my own tendencies and desires ahead of everyone else's?

I'm NOT saying you shouldn't play any 16th notes! You definitely should, but within this particular piece, they should serve as "connections" to the 8ths and quarters throughout the vast majority of the music. Save the "broken 16ths" for a crazy tom fill, and choose your moments wisely.

There are quite a few moments where your playing is "too much" in the sense that your rhythms don't match the context of the music, like around the 1:10 mark. The band is pretty much playing 8ths and accenting on the downbeats, and you are everywhere but there. In that piece (and others), I'm also noticing that, if there isn't some singing going on, you ALWAYS take that opportunity to play a fill. Not the most mature approach, here. Let someone else have some fun in those spaces once in a while! Share!

There are moments when the band does actually syncopate 16ths, so there is room for the style of playing you like, but you need to evaluate what the other instruments are doing rhythmically to decide if such embellishment is a good idea. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!
WOW! Thank you so much for taking the time to post! I greatly appreciate you insight, inputs, and the detail with which you broke it down. If you're not already a teacher, you should be. Great ability to convey detailed information. Not just the what, but the why and how. I'll work on what you've pointed out here for sure!

Thanks again!
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:49 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Glad to help! You're welcome! (And yes, I teach.)
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:25 PM
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Bruce M. Thomson Bruce M. Thomson is offline
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Default Re: Do you avoid beat displacement in a group setting?

Just wanted to say that recording everything I can has helped me notice that I sometimes also get carried away, it seems to sound too cool for shoes while I'm doing it but then when I hear it back I notice that I am enjoying the tune more when it is just straight ahead and simple and that simple touches here and there have more significance. I am applying this knowledge to my bass drum mostly, I'm backing off and opening up the sound, the less is more statement in other words. It is hard not to want to get into it when you are feeling it but it is something I must practice more often. Thanks for bringing this up.
Live and learn eh?
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