Make your quarter note swing....

JimmyM

Platinum Member
I'd like to hear a recording of some straight and swung quarter notes so we can hear the difference.
Look not to the recording, but inside your heart and soul.

How’s that for some New Age crap? But seriously, it really is that simple. Look, it’s quarter notes on the beat. But as a bass player who often gets called to play quarter note swings, as well as quarter note rock, The notes may fall on the same beats but there’s a different mindset. I won’t play them both the same way, even if I’m walking a bassline in a rock tune. And speaking of which, I’m about to go do just that with my acoustic blues trio :) y’all have a good evening!
 

pinstripe

Active Member
Look not to the recording, but inside your heart and soul.

How’s that for some New Age crap? But seriously, it really is that simple. Look, it’s quarter notes on the beat. But as a bass player who often gets called to play quarter note swings, as well as quarter note rock, The notes may fall on the same beats but there’s a different mindset. I won’t play them both the same way, even if I’m walking a bassline in a rock tune. And speaking of which, I’m about to go do just that with my acoustic blues trio :) y’all have a good evening!
That is some grade A New Age crap, lol. Hope your show goes excellently(y)
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I imagine that it’s a combo of

1. Slightly accenting the 2 and 4

2. Playing slightly behind the beat on the 1 and 3, and slightly ahead on the 2 and 4

3. Playing slightly behind at the beginning of the measure, and getting a little more ahead with each beat until the next measure

But it all happens unconsciously. If you move gently and effortlessly, you’ll sound that way too.

Just guessing
 

jansara

Junior Member
My gut tells me no one has ever hired you to play this music.
I was playing jazz with jazz virtuosos 50 years ago which, in all likelihood, was before you were born. Your premise that jazz is not based on a triplet feel exposes your naiveté. Perhaps you can intelligently refute or disprove what I've said rather than tell me what your gut says, which is nothing.
 

MG1127

Active Member
I was playing jazz with jazz virtuosos 50 years ago which, in all likelihood, was before you were born. Your premise that jazz is not based on a triplet feel exposes your naiveté. Perhaps you can intelligently refute or disprove what I've said rather than tell me what your gut says, which is nothing.
the music is driven by the quarter note.
always has been and always will be.
The subdivision is not the base of the music ... it is a subdivision... a subdivision that is actually 8th notes... swung into a triplet feel... but 8th notes none the less.

It is a quarter note based music.

I'm very impressed by the way with the word "virtuosos"

Have a great night
 

Otto

Platinum Member
My gut tells me no one has ever hired you to play this music.
Sadly arrogant and negative MG1127 - if not mean...even if true.

There might be a more positive way to voice what you have to say!

Interesting that this arrogance and meanness seems to permeate the jazz communities i have been involved with....usually coming from an insecure place.

I really don't mean insult...but calling it like i see it....which will hopefully improve our already great community.
 
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MG1127

Active Member
Sadly arrogant and negative MG1127 - if not mean...even if true.

There might be a more positive way to voice what you have to say....but to each their own!

Interesting that this arrogance and mean-ness sees to permeate the jazz i have been involved with....usually coming from an insecure place.

I really don't mean insult...but calling it like i see it.
I appreciate your judgement
It means a great deal to me to hear your opinion of things I type.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
You guys are arguing about a word definition. One is talking about swing meaning groovy energy, and the other about a way of playing eighth notes.
I practice with the clicker on the + to help my quarters swing, duple and triplet
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I appreciate your judgement
It means a great deal to me to hear your opinion of things I type.

Fair enough....and even if my tone didn't reflect it...I actually enjoy most of your posts!...and I'm not being sarcastic.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
When I played a gig with an actual African drum group back in the late 90s, those guys all agreed on the quarter notes, but their interpretation of the 8ths was all over the place. Some played closer to straight, some swung pretty hard. And that was just how they did it. Only the quarters were agreed upon.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
Well, regardless of some ‘opinions’ in this thread, what thread starter stated is just a fact……not an opinion……a fact….

Peter Erskine has documented extensive about this subject too btw and, as a matter of fact, i think every serious jazz player will confirm the same thing..

Anyone in this thread would argue with Erskine about that..?
 

MG1127

Active Member
Fair enough....and even if my tone didn't reflect it...I actually enjoy most of your posts!...and I'm not being sarcastic.
I don't take things said here seriously my friend.

please excuse my pointless dry humor not translating via text.

You're a good dude and I mean no ill will.

With the original post I was just trying to pass along some old time wisdom that has served me well through my career and is what I credit to making my playing desirable enough to be sought out by people I grew up listening to.

Not everyone has to believe in it

I wish them all success
 

MG1127

Active Member
Well, regardless of some ‘opinions’ in this thread, what thread starter stated is just a fact……not an opinion……a fact….

Peter Erskine has documented extensive about this subject too btw and, as a matter of fact, i think every serious jazz player will confirm the same thing..

Anyone in this thread would argue with Erskine about that..?
I appreciate you
 
I think all the questions about 'how is it possible that just consistently placed 1/4 notes can be swung' are certainly valid. Here are a few of my thoughts in an attempt to think about it in some more concrete terms:

Not sure on the history of the word and semantics of 'swing' in jazz, but clearly lots of us associate it with that "swung" 1/8 note ... the 2nd note in a triplet subdivision ... the 'a' in Spang-a-lang, etc. I'm not saying that association is right or wrong. These "swung" note are certainly characteristic of much jazz, but it is the 1/4 note that is swinging.

Consider what a swing does, as in a playground. It goes back and forth, swinging similarly to a pendulum. There is not necessarily a jalopy skipping triplet-esque feel to it. It swoops forward in time and provides a strong cadence for the person on the swing, and is also sensitive to changes that person may make. Think about the movement of people's hips when they are dancing to swing music. They are swinging back and forth to the 1/4 note. Again, there is no definitive skip movement in their motion, but rather a smooth path to get from point A to point B. The "swung" 1/8ths provide a sense of propulsion and help express the flow of time in an interesting way, but the time is swinging right along, in consistent intervals thanks to the 1/4 notes.

The subtle command of 1/4 note phrasing and dynamics like what Push Pull mentioned certainly contributes to the distinction between how basic 1/4 notes can be played in a slightly different way in jazz (where the downbeat is de-emphasized among other things) than how they often get sounded in a 1/4 note rock context.

Also consider the rest of what is going on in a song beyond just the drums. If a drummer truly does nothing but play well spaced consistent 1/4 notes on the ride throughout a song then it is leaving room for the other musicians to phrase their "swung" notes over a comfortable temporal template. Similarly, a drummer playing alone could play just 1/4 notes on the ride, then insert one "swung" eighth, and then continue to 1/4 notes for several minutes and that one swung note alone can remain implied in the remaining time flow as long as the 1/4 notes keep feeling good and falling in their right place.

To paraphrase someone else, "Time was doing just fine before you came along and starting playing drums so be careful if you're going to cut it up into beats". Good 1/4 notes should be transparent when needed, flexible on the fly, and otherwise support all the other subdivisions that only can exist in reference to something consistent. And in jazz they are expressed mostly on a cymbal, as opposed to be grounded via the bass and snare drum as in rock.

But first and foremost I think is the point that drummers should be focusing on making the quarter note feel good before anything else. Sure, we are often phrasing each pulse into triplets (or other subdivisions) but those triplets alone don't make for swing IMO. If you're playing all sorts of other notes in between it doesn't matter if its not in reference to the swinging propulsion of well played 1/4 notes.
 
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Otto

Platinum Member
Well, regardless of some ‘opinions’ in this thread, what thread starter stated is just a fact……not an opinion……a fact….

Peter Erskine has documented extensive about this subject too btw and, as a matter of fact, i think every serious jazz player will confirm the same thing..

Anyone in this thread would argue with Erskine about that..?

I would!

Then he would school me as the gentleman he is...and I would emerge a better drummer!

I would Gladly!
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Try swing some quarters with this. Don't get lost lol
I love trying to play to these guys, and you know darn well their time is impeccable
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
To be fair, you watched an entire band (and a fine one at that), not just Gadd.

If a quarter note swings in the forest...

I don't disagree with that - I also don't disagree that while Gadd was laying down a nice quarter note, same with Cobb - that there is an overall swing feel being created by band.

I think I meant more that you can imply the rest of the swing pattern without actually playing it - but I think you would need either:

1. A band swinging
2. The rest of the kit to help create the feel.


I'm not sure that if we recorded someone playing a swinging quarter with a metronome and someone playing a "straight" quarter that we could tell the difference.

I am open to the fact that we might though!
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Grady Tate is so killer. Big air between the bass player's attack and the cymbal on that record. You can't just line up with the bass and have it work like that.

Quarter notes are where the groove comes from, the 8th notes are the major melodic content, triplets are incidental to the swing 8th notes, they're not the foundation rhythm. That's one way to say it, anyway. This is art not science, words are just a pointer saying "think about this harder." Most people need to listen and think way harder about the nature of groove in jazz, and rhythm in general. Whatever first stock answer you learned is probably not good enough.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
If a drummer is riding with straight quarter notes, nothing else, and the tune is swinging, wouldn't it be fair to assume that someone else in the band is creating the swing feel in collaboration with the drummer?

Ding ding ding!

Ever played with a newbie bass player with a wonky time feel, who doesn’t quite have the changes down? Your quarter notes, or any notes for that matter, won’t save the groove. Playing with amateurs can be revelatory.

I'm not sure that if we recorded someone playing a swinging quarter with a metronome and someone playing a "straight" quarter that we could tell the difference.

I am open to the fact that we might though!

Whatever the outcome, it would be a useless experiment anyway, because no one learns to play music that way.

Not every great player will be great at explaining their own success. So you get these sayings that don’t hold up to logic-based analysis. And that’s okay; I don’t need every drummer to also be a Nobel laureate in order to learn from them. But, for those who aren’t very far along, it’s healthy to scrutinize the adages.
 

pinstripe

Active Member
Whatever the outcome, it would be a useless experiment anyway, because no one learns to play music that way.
Oh I think it would be pretty useful. It would settle whether or not quarter notes can be swung, which is the basic claim of this thread.

I would love to see anyone here who says they can swing quarter notes step up and record themselves doing just that. Play a few bars of straight quarters on your ride or snare or whatever, and then switch over and do a few bars of swung quarters.

And then we'll have a listen and discuss.
 
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