Live tempo perception.

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I was watching some gig footage today, & noticed that everything seemed a bit rushed on the recording compared to how it felt on the day. Not huge, but enough :( Now I know this is a common phenomenon, but after all these years, you'd think I'd got past that. I'm satisfied that generally, my tempo control is pretty good (without the benefit of support devices), but I still get caught out from time to time.

Now this isn't just one or two rushed numbers - it's all of them, so it's a gig trend, not just a bad track opening decision.

Evidence - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mak-PcbKxwQ

It's even had me questioning the recording device, but I've pitch checked it, & it's (mostly) my fault. This doesn't happen very often, yet it does, even though I'm aware of it & it's on my radar. Anyone else suffer from this occasionally, especially those who should have grown past this by now?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I find that erring on the side of relaxed/lazy usually means the resulting tempo is about right. I 'play' the song in my head before counting it off, and if it feels just a little slow to me, I know I'm on the right track.

Bermuda
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
It's hard to keep it mellow when you got adrenaline and a crowd.

That's why I just go for punk bands where faster is always better!
I'll see if I can find it, but I saw a cell phone vid of my grunge band playing a bar, and during a whole band break in one song the guitar player leads it back in. He sped up like 20 bpm over a few bars and we just had to get on the new train track! Best part, nobody but I and the bass player said they noticed! In the vid, it's cringe-worthy! Those cell phones are a burden to us live musicians trying to fake it till we make it!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I find that erring on the side of relaxed/lazy usually means the resulting tempo is about right. I 'play' the song in my head before counting it off, and if it feels just a little slow to me, I know I'm on the right track.

Bermuda
Y'know Jon, I do exactly that, especially at the start of a set, but every now & then, it still catches me out, & strangely, for the whole set / gig. It's maybe 1 gig in 10 or more, but still, I'm not happy. I guess I'm distracted somehow. Funny thing is, it seems fine at the time, & also after the gig. It's only when I listen back to the recording that I pick this up. We're talking maybe plus 5bpm, 10bpm exceptionally.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Yes, this is a familiar experience for me and I also do what Bermuda describes. I'll sometimes use a tempometer app on my phone just to check in if I suspect things are moving too fast.

The challenge, as you stated Andy, is when "it seems fine at the time." I reckon perception is vulnerable to being affected by fatigue, adrenaline, anxiety, etc. So, is it possible to train one's perception to be more consistent?
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I'm usually pretty good about not playing too quickly, but I have had those speedy nights, too.

I have a of us playing Sweet Child of Mine, and the guitar intro is perfect, but when the rest of the band comes in, I played it so fast! I didn't even notice at the time, but later I watched the vid and thought WTF??? lol
 

Retrovertigo

Senior Member
find the BPM of the song you're gonna start the next set with. get a metronome app and listen to it just before the first song of the night. take the ear buds off and count off the tune and see if that helps set the pace a bit better for the night.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I was watching some gig footage today, & noticed that everything seemed a bit rushed on the recording compared to how it felt on the day. Not huge, but enough :( Now I know this is a common phenomenon, but after all these years, you'd think I'd got past that. I'm satisfied that generally, my tempo control is pretty good (without the benefit of support devices), but I still get caught out from time to time.

Now this isn't just one or two rushed numbers - it's all of them, so it's a gig trend, not just a bad track opening decision.

Evidence - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mak-PcbKxwQ

It's even had me questioning the recording device, but I've pitch checked it, & it's (mostly) my fault. This doesn't happen very often, yet it does, even though I'm aware of it & it's on my radar. Anyone else suffer from this occasionally, especially those who should have grown past this by now?


This is exactly why you need a 'support devise'. Don't have to let it rule your life, just know its there to inform you when you're overspending.


What the ell, you are 'Fired Up' btw.

My LIVEBPM has your 'Comfortably Numb' @ 127 bpm, PF studio Wall version- 127bpm, You singer is ahead of the beat more than Waters, bass player too, its a collective thing this time issue is, not just the drummers burden. The guitar solo jumps up to 135 bpm, your fault? Mmmmmmm, its hard we know. I've played all of these songs, know the tempos, and my LIVEBpM tells me where you're at.



'Addicted to Love' Record- 112 bpm Fired Up- 124 bpm... guitar solo jumps up to 128 bpm

'Wayward Son' Record- 128-132 bpm Fired Up- 127 bpm

'All the old Dudes' Record- 155 bpm Fired Up- 145 bpm

'Crazy Diamond'- Record 93 bpm Fired Up- 104bpm Quarter notes on the ride (or 8th notes with 1/4 note accents will (help) slow it down).

IMO its the singer that rushes any band more than a drummer (unless the drummer is a beginner). I sing and play drums, when doing so the band doesn't rush bc the singer and drummer are one, locked into the groove. Guitarists have a tendency to rush solos, OK as long as you come back, a 'support devise' allows you to do this easily and more importantly accurately.

I would assess 'Fired Up' has a small timing issue, one that could easily be remidied by the drummer using a 'support devise'. They will follow as it should be. Ok to follow them? To a point, but the trick is being able to come back accurately, else the train gets out of hand- support device for the win.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
FWIW, perceptions change too. Like listening to playback on the ride home from the gig I just did, I might think a song feels fast. But the next day listening again, I feel it was OK. Or vice versa. Perceptions change.

My goal is to have it sound and feel like exactly how it sounded and felt while playing it.

All I know is perception is a fickle thing. It changes.

FWIW, on your video, I didn't feel anything at all was too fast. Not even in the slightest.

Andy, I used to get on you about your time feel. I think your time feel is really spot on these days. For the last 3 years at least I think your time feel and tempos sound terrific. I can even see that you are more relaxed.
 

porter

Platinum Member
There was a live album by one of my favorite bands of all time whose title sums up the situation perfectly:

Greatest Hits Played Faster
Lmao.

I think, in situations of live music, you also must consider the adrenaline of the crowd. I was recently at a concert where the band just felt too slow. Now, it was a modern backing-tracked computerized-guitar-patch-changes band, so I'm assuming it was exactly the album tempo. But it felt slow! Why not speed groove-based things up a touch live? In my experience it'll just be a little more exciting.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I only noticed a bit of a wavering in the first song, I think you hesitated with the back beat when the vocals came in, and then there was a bit of a push coming from somewhere and a rushed drum fill, the rest of it seemed nice, cool rock drumming. I love your rim shots, you have cool technique.

I was watching a recording of my band last night and I think generally we played everything a bit faster too, some band members tended to rush in after a pause and the singer was guilty of pushing the tempo.

Actually reminds me of another debate that I'm having with myself lately, I realize that I don't listen to the bass players tempo much in my bands, I generally listen to the vocalist, or the person who needs the most "attention", and by that I mean the person who has the least control over their tempo... I notice that I tend to focus on that person because if I lose sync with them then it's going to be really obvious. In a way this is making the bass player listen to me and follow me, instead of the other way around, which is probably ideal given that I'm the one who spends time practicing with a metronome.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I find that erring on the side of relaxed/lazy usually means the resulting tempo is about right. I 'play' the song in my head before counting it off, and if it feels just a little slow to me, I know I'm on the right track.

Bermuda
This is so true. The first time I was in a rehearsal with Bermuda there, I'd look at him for a tempo, and he'd give it to me and it felt really slow. But he's right. I've adapted this into my own interpretations of songs now too. If it feels slow, it's just right. The adrenaline involved with being in front of an audience and the excitement of actually having a gig to play, is just that, adrenaline. It must be controlled.

But I know Andy already knows this.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I finally had a chance to watch/listen to the video, and I have to say the only song that felt uncomfortable to me was Purple Rain. The others seemed to feel just fine in the context of a live gig, IMO.

The concept remains the same, though. It IS easy to play too fast when the energy is flowing!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for all the excellent replies chaps :) I'm travelling right now, so less thread attentive than usual, but I'm back home tonight.

Those cell phones are a burden to us live musicians trying to fake it till we make it!
And isn't that the truth ;)

is it possible to train one's perception to be more consistent?
Oooo - that's a big one - I suppose yes, it's called experience :)

My LIVEBPM has your 'Comfortably Numb' @ 127 bpm, PF studio Wall version- 127bpm, You singer is ahead of the beat more than Waters, bass player too, its a collective thing this time issue is, not just the drummers burden. The guitar solo jumps up to 135 bpm, your fault? This is the intended tempo, including the speed up feel for our deliberately overblown version of the solo, so happy with that :)

'Addicted to Love' Record- 112 bpm Fired Up- 124 bpm... guitar solo jumps up to 128 bpm This is intentional as we blend it with Wayward son.

'Wayward Son' Record- 128-132 bpm Fired Up- 127 bpm Spot on :)

'All the old Dudes' Record- 155 bpm Fired Up- 145 bpm Still 5bpm faster than we'd like our version to be :(

'Crazy Diamond'- Record 93 bpm Fired Up- 104bpm Quarter notes on the ride (or 8th notes with 1/4 note accents will (help) slow it down). Completely unacceptable, & way faster than we'd usually shoot for (min 10 bpm less) :(
Thanks for your detailed reply Les - replies in bold in your quote. Overall, better than I thought, except for Crazy Diamond. That was the one I really felt on the night too (starts with iconic guitar intro)

Andy, I used to get on you about your time feel. I think your time feel is really spot on these days.
I've worked out what happened there Larry. When I gave up "the day job", most of my work was fixing current pop tracks (mid 80's), & the trend at the time was urgent. I think my feel clock stopped on that day, & that's where it picked up a few years ago after my long hiatus. Took a while to reset it :)

Those toms sound amazing
& that makes everything good in the world :)

I generally listen to the vocalist, or the person who needs the most "attention",
Me too - whoever is going to unintentionally push / pull the most at a particular point get's my focus.

adrenaline. It must be controlled.

But I know Andy already knows this.
I think the main issue with me Bo is distraction. This gig for example, I was running the stage & FOH sound for the mini festival, therefore my setup & breakdown was hardly hassle free, plus handing the desk over to someone else (who got the monitor feed numbers mixed up badly). Essentially. I had zero time to get into playing mode, & that's never a good thing.
 
I know many will disagree with that but in my opinion, when playing live the "correct" tempo does not necessarily need to be 100% stable. Depending on the mood of the band and audience, rushing or dragging slightly, even in an uncontrolled way, is natural and feels even somehow more interactive and enjoyable.
 

douglaschoi_

Junior Member
To avoid driving myself crazy I've always decided that the actual tempo doesn't really matter as no one can play perfectly in a live session. As long as no one notices the tempo shifting and everyone is comfortable playing their instrument at that speed you're good.
 
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