Question about the interface between timing and tempo

ryanblumenow

Junior Member
Hi all,

I had a question about drummer versus audience perspective. I have been working on a song that has bass hits on the a's of 1 and 2 - but I was wondering your perspective on how the feeling of the song shifts. When I play at faster tempos it almost seems as though the distinction between hat and bass disappears between the & and the a (playing 8th note groove), and i realize this might be my playing. But if it sounds so close then philosophically, is there a big feeling difference between playing as noted versus just playing bass on the & instead? Just wondering on some of the views out there.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
What song?

Obviously, the quicker the tempo, the less "impact" playing offbeat hits is likely to have. They get lost and become a bit more just part of the beat instead of identified as "hits" or band accents. Not to say it's impossible at higher speeds, but I think it takes a bit more concentration from everyone to make those offbeat 1/8's really stick out.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My opinion is, if it's supposed to be played on the "a"....

Putting it on the "&" should slightly alter the lope away from the original feel, but not too radically different.

I would think the bass player would be expecting it on the "a".
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
My opinion is, if it's supposed to be played on the "a"....

Putting it on the "&" should definitely alter the lope.
I totally didn't read his post correctly. I agree with you, being lazy to the point of a 16th note isn't going to get you anywhere. That said, at a certain speed, it might still sound "better" as an 1/8th note, but that's subjective, and depends on context and the intent of the hit to the song.
 

porter

Platinum Member
I agree with what's been said. Switching it to an 8th note offbeat has the potential to radically change the feel, depending on the other parts' syncopation and rhythms. Use your best judgement.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
At faster tempos it has the potential to sound like flams, not that there's anything wrong with that. Obviously one of the issues with hits in between beats is that they get squished together at faster tempos. As long as the tempo isn't break neck, you should be able to articulate the hits.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
At faster tempos it has the potential to sound like flams, not that there's anything wrong with that. Obviously one of the issues with hits in between beats is that they get squished together at faster tempos. As long as the tempo isn't break neck, you should be able to articulate the hits.
Hey look, solid 100%, unadulterated, and enthusiastic agreement! :)

There's a big difference, even philosophically, between the & and the 'a' at any speed. True, it can be tricky to execute at faster speeds, but don't be shy or sloppy about it; own it and stick it hard in that sweet spot. Might have to shed on it a bit, but once you have and can clearly articulate it, you'll wonder why you ever contemplated cutting that particular corner.
 

John Lamb

Senior Member
Yes, there is a giant difference between the ands and the a's... but the problem isn't likely to be your technique, but your ears. If you can hear the note, then you'll play it. Spend some time with a metronome that subdivides working it out.

Making matters even more fun are that there are different kinds of a's. Some are simply decorative - existing only to modify the following (or more rarely preceeding) notes. These you can *really* play with. Others are structural - they aren't really syncopated at all but really sit comfortable in a more complex meter. You can tell these because they feel big and comfortable, and not energetic and jumpy like the anticipations you hear in (for example) Paramore's Ain't it Fun. Then there are the a's that are part of larger modulations that cross the tempo. These generally feel tense, stretched or compressed, depending on how it's done.

But start with just hearing the up-ness and bounce of each and every 'a' on any given track... or better yet everything you listen to for the next 2 weeks!
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Hi all,

I had a question about drummer versus audience perspective. I have been working on a song that has bass hits on the a's of 1 and 2 - but I was wondering your perspective on how the feeling of the song shifts. When I play at faster tempos it almost seems as though the distinction between hat and bass disappears between the & and the a (playing 8th note groove), and i realize this might be my playing. But if it sounds so close then philosophically, is there a big feeling difference between playing as noted versus just playing bass on the & instead? Just wondering on some of the views out there.
It is hard to hear precision with hats and bass. Hats have slop, bass has a swell. If you want to hear precise timing play a cowbell.
 
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