Live tempo perception.

mikel

Platinum Member
I dont care, really. Some gigs are so good and the audience is really up, if the song is a few BPM faster so what? Excitement and adrenaline are wonderful things. As long as its not rushed a bit faster is ok with me. Some orchestral conductors will deliberately do this to increase excitement, its an old trick.

As I say, its rock and roll not mathematics. If its pure excitement making it a little faster, without it sounding rushed then its fine.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I can relate to all the comments so far.

In one of my bands the bass player likes everything a bit fast.
In the other one the bass player keeps really steady time, but the guitarist rushes. So any song that starts with a guitar intro is always fast. (eg La Bamba)

I agree that videos really highlight this. I also agree that if the crowd and the band is energised, then the appropriate tempo would be a bit faster than normal.

I tend to rush fast songs that have 1/4 hihats - like Footloose, Higher and Higher and Walking on Sunshine. I find it hard to 'feel' the correct tempo when I'm playing 1/4's instead of 1/8's on hihat. I just remember not to relax when I play those songs. As soon as I relax I get faster. Not sure why.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold 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.
I have the same issue listening to the lead (singer/guitar). Most of them have a tendency to speed and be waaaayyyyy ahead of time and rush like crazy.

I am working on listening to the rhythm section and putting the lead way in the back. I also do the same thing while listening to the radio. It is helping me a bunch doing that.

I also notice then when I do that , I feel the rush of the leads while the rhythm section is staying put (lots of it on led zeppelin) . If I was the drummer, I would have followed and the whole band would have sped up.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So Larry, are you making any headway with this project? And if so, how?
Oh I've made miles of headway....starting from the very first day I started recording my live shows. I've literally recorded about 600 shows in the last 10 years. When you listen back that much, after about the first hundred shows, you get a real handle on how it felt vs how it sounded.

I've adjusted my live playing so I don't cringe on playback. Which involved blending my volume, reigning in too much busy-ness, RELAXING, and altering every other little detail that sticks out too much where it shouldn't. For me generally speaking it translates into controlling the drums, taming them, especially the volume. Less in your face and more subtle and nuanced....finessed..works better in my situation. I try to play with class as opposed to (extreme example) a Keith Moon type. Everyone's situation is different.

I'd say I'm operating at over 90%. Meaning about 90% of what I hear on the playback is one in the same with my memory of how it felt. I haven't cringed in years.

Everyone should record themselves just so they know how they are being perceived by every other person in the room. That's something that IMO no drummer can do without a recording.
 

Stitch Kaboodle

Senior Member
I think a lot of bands struggle with this. I believe a lot of it comes down to the sound on stage. If you are playing a big venue and getting little or no bass in your ears then the tendency is to push the tempo faster.

The difficulty, as we all know by now, is in hearing the band as the audience is hearing it. This is far more difficult with poor audio mixes and all that concentration on playing parts musicians have to do.

A few months ago I decided to create a visual tempo app for mobile to use at gigs (www.songtempo.com - plug). It doubles up as a setlist as sometimes songs don't need a strict tempo or the slight variation matters little. Other songs only sound well within a very small bpm range.

It was pretty enlightening to see how tempo perception can vary from player to player, and from gig to gig. I've heard one person say, 'that felt too slow' and another say 'that felt too fast' all because how they were perceiving it.

It's no coincidence that many of the top live arena bands use in-ear click mixes.

Here's Larry from U2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5WOORbKv1k

Drums start around 2min 30.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think a lot of times, the first few songs run a bit faster until you get settled in. Seems where the most mistakes tend to happen also.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I've never really experienced tempo issues playing live. The only time that happens is when a guitar player starts a song. I'm pretty good at pushing the tempo faster or slower during a song. My whole time drumming, I've always focused on tempo because so many people have made an issue of it. So, now tempo is rarely an issue anymore.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
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 think that's your main issue, right there, Andy. I know you like to stay busy and deeply care about the whole band package, but by taking on so much responsibility and keeping track of and managing so much stuff, you really can't be surprised that when it's show time, you've still got all these residual elements competing for that same precious RAM.

Imagine a scenario where you could duck out for an hour or two before show time to clear your mind and/or take a nap. Like a reboot for the old brain. I know, I know, totally not practical, and maybe not even desirable since it seems pretty clear that you really enjoy all those other roles you're playing, so take that for whatever it's worth.

After some heavy scrutinizing of your evidence and after a period of deliberation, this juror has to vote 'not guilty'. I get what you're saying in terms of how your versions may have deviated from the original version's bpm, because I'm sure they probably did. But what I'm saying is, Who the hell cares as long as it still sounds good? Honestly, if that's you at your worst on an off night, then you might consider taking a hit out on your perfectionist side. I agree that you have a pretty good handle on keeping steady time and smooth feel, so even if it is faster or slower on this song or that song, or pushes or pulls here and there, it still sounds like you're owning it and it's still comfortable.

The only criticism I might offer up is your snare tuning. Not that it sounds bad (quite the opposite), but for a lot of the older rock numbers, especially the slower Floyd/Prince-type ballads, that high sharp crack is a little out of place, IMO. Imagine Stewart Copeland's snare on just about any Journey track, especially the Steve Smith power ballads. There's just something a bit too staccato and harsh about it where something a little more lush and deep might lull you into a more relaxed state for some of those songs. I don't mean Don Henley soggy, just something where the attack isn't quite the jarring contrast to the attack of the toms.

Any chance you could take a second snare tuned down a notch that you could quickly switch out that wouldn't wreck the FOH sound?
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
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.
You need your own qualified sound guy, so you don't have to worry about anything. Let me know when your next gig is and I'll fly over and take care of that for you ;)
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
Oh I've made miles of headway....starting from the very first day I started recording my live shows. I've literally recorded about 600 shows in the last 10 years. When you listen back that much, after about the first hundred shows, you get a real handle on how it felt vs how it sounded.

I've adjusted my live playing so I don't cringe on playback. Which involved blending my volume, reigning in too much busy-ness, RELAXING, and altering every other little detail that sticks out too much where it shouldn't. For me generally speaking it translates into controlling the drums, taming them, especially the volume. Less in your face and more subtle and nuanced....finessed..works better in my situation. I try to play with class as opposed to (extreme example) a Keith Moon type. Everyone's situation is different.

I'd say I'm operating at over 90%. Meaning about 90% of what I hear on the playback is one in the same with my memory of how it felt. I haven't cringed in years.

Everyone should record themselves just so they know how they are being perceived by every other person in the room. That's something that IMO no drummer can do without a recording.
Congrats on your progress Larry. Good stuff and same here, though I'm miles behind you in terms of volume. Just haven't been consistent and as a result, I've passed up a lot of opportunities to improve, right?

I don't know if this fits for you but it seems like you approach your recording and post-analysis with a strong work ethic, that it's something you do consistently as "part of the job." Wow, 10 years of recordings is a lot of research done over the long haul but it sounds like it has paid off and gotten you to a good place.

BTW, great thread everyone, really digging the responses. IMO, this kind of stuff doesn't get talked about nearly enough.
 
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Alain Rieder

Silver Member
I've seen Steve Gadd with James Taylor last Winter, and I was at the the first row.
He had an audible metronome he used to set the tempo between the songs.
It wasn't very loud, and I guess most people in the audience couldn't hear and/or notice it, but I did.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I've seen Steve Gadd with James Taylor last Winter, and I was at the the first row.
He had an audible metronome he used to set the tempo between the songs.
It wasn't very loud, and I guess most people in the audience couldn't hear and/or notice it, but I did.
Timing like sound is subjective, practically impossible to play a lot, be accurate and not use some sort of time keeping/watching devise.
 

no talent

Senior Member
those crashes sound amazing. drums look to be cheap pearl export or early asian junk, probably 8 ply poplar or crappy luan judging by the tone.

drummer could use a lot of help, or maybe the band could get a new drummer? this guy is a train wreck!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
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.
As long as no one notices the tempo shifting and everyone is comfortable playing their instrument at that speed you're good.
As I say, its rock and roll not mathematics. If its pure excitement making it a little faster, without it sounding rushed then its fine.
I agree with all these posts, but it's numbers that step substantially outside of the "planned" tempo that I'm referring to.

It was pretty enlightening to see how tempo perception can vary from player to player, and from gig to gig. I've heard one person say, 'that felt too slow' and another say 'that felt too fast' all because how they were perceiving it.
Absolutely - that happens frequently.

Imagine a scenario where you could duck out for an hour or two before show time to clear your mind and/or take a nap. Like a reboot for the old brain.

Any chance you could take a second snare tuned down a notch that you could quickly switch out that wouldn't wreck the FOH sound?
Agree on both points Mike. I'm frequently distracted - rushing around like a madman moments before starting the gig. It's not good, & I have made changes recognising that. At most gigs, I now turn up earlier & take time out to have a meal or some other relaxation before playing.

2nd snare = check. It's something I'm feeling, & something I need to try out.

You need your own qualified sound guy, so you don't have to worry about anything. Let me know when your next gig is and I'll fly over and take care of that for you ;)
Deeply practical for a bar gig ;)

BTW, great thread everyone, really digging the responses. IMO, this kind of stuff doesn't get talked about nearly enough.
agreed, & thanks.

those crashes sound amazing. drums look to be cheap pearl export or early asian junk, probably 8 ply poplar or crappy luan judging by the tone.

drummer could use a lot of help, or maybe the band could get a new drummer? this guy is a train wreck!
I agree with everything you're about to say ;)
 

Skrivarna

Senior Member
As others have mentioned, there's the adrenaline, the situation, the distractions... Which means that I don't trust myself, not even now after almost 40 years of playing, and always bring a metronome or the Fakebook app.

I only use it for count-off (and the occasional sanity check), but I guess it has saved me from a train wreck or two...

(Shameless self-plug: when I use my Fakebook app as a programmable metronome it also serves as a setlist -- and of course to show me the music or scribbled shorthand notes.)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
As others have mentioned, there's the adrenaline, the situation, the distractions... Which means that I don't trust myself, not even now after almost 40 years of playing, and always bring a metronome or the Fakebook app.

I only use it for count-off (and the occasional sanity check), but I guess it has saved me from a train wreck or two...

(Shameless self-plug: when I use my Fakebook app as a programmable metronome it also serves as a setlist -- and of course to show me the music or scribbled shorthand notes.)
I'm certainly considering some form of simple count off tempo tool for stage reference of tempo critical songs. We rehearsed our (fairly heavy / sour / grungy) version of this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i5zXiQHSSg for the first time last night, & it's a prime candidate for getting it wrong from the get go.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I sing the chorus of the next song, to myself, while the singer is introducing it, seems to work pretty well in nailing the tempo. Only works when I am counting in but hey, I cant be responsible for everyone in the band.

I have used the flashing light on a Tama tempo thingy, just for the count off. As you can program in a whole set its ideal, as long as no one changes the running order on the night.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I sometimes use a click if there is a track involved. I really focus on the cadence of the singer singing said song. I try not to have them sound like auctioneers, or on Xanax. If it feels and sounds right I go with it. I also use LiveBPM as well, on average I tend to rush about 5BPM.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I sing the chorus of the next song, to myself, while the singer is introducing it, seems to work pretty well in nailing the tempo.
That's pretty much what I do if I'm not feeling it intuitively at that moment in time.

I would hope he doesn't let his son go down on him. Geez, what a weird name for a song.
You're a very naughty boy! The - my ;)

I really focus on the cadence of the singer singing said song. I try not to have them sound like auctioneers, or on Xanax.
I'd need more than tempo control to guarantee that ;) ;) ;)
 
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