Rock Band Exercises

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
as a very analytical person I have to disagree. If we are not playing in time, especially on the covers, then we will sound really bad. A lot can be said for feel and energy in songs, but starting a song at 90 bpm and ending it at 120 bpm is never a good thing. (unless it has intentional tempo changes)
I thinke we will sound much better without: bass lines that are supposed to be syncopated 16th notes that comes out sounding more like a bad attempt at triplets, or hits not syncing up, or rests that last a 16th note too long, dragging, rushing, etc.
My opinion??

You are WAY over-thinking!! You're spending so much time on these technical aspects you're making music a JOB!! This is MUSIC man!! FIRST, it's supposed to be FUN, and FEEL GOOD, (even when you're getting paid)!! THEN you make the necessary changes to make the minutia perfect.
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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Limping (your first name? :), after some mucking around I'm finding the best solution for my own situation to be:
  • working out the bpm
  • getting the tempo right before counting in
  • playing without any other guide.
Since I've been starting the songs at the right tempo there's been far less pushing and pulling the time. Everyone is confident that the tempo is right and it sits better.

We sped up a little towards the end of The Thrill Is Gone last night but nothing dramatic, maybe a few BPM. Whatever, by the end of the song we were cooking! The smile and gleam in our keyboardist's eyes (he's a blues freak) was worth every extra BPM :)

LimpingToad said:
but starting a song at 90 bpm and ending it at 120 bpm is never a good thing. (unless it has intentional tempo changes)
Is your crew really speeding up that much or did you just enjoy a little poetic flourish? That seems pretty wild. If so, you may need to get them to have a big meal before rehearsal to mellow them down a bit :)

Did the other band members have concerns about the tempos before you brought in the practice routine?
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
Limping (your first name? :), after some mucking around I'm finding the best solution for my own situation to be:
  • working out the bpm
  • getting the tempo right before counting in
  • playing without any other guide.
Since I've been starting the songs at the right tempo there's been far less pushing and pulling the time. Everyone is confident that the tempo is right and it sits better.

We sped up a little towards the end of The Thrill Is Gone last night but nothing dramatic, maybe a few BPM. Whatever, by the end of the song we were cooking! The smile and gleam in our keyboardist's eyes (he's a blues freak) was worth every extra BPM :)



Is your crew really speeding up that much or did you just enjoy a little poetic flourish? That seems pretty wild. If so, you may need to get them to have a big meal before rehearsal to mellow them down a bit :)

Did the other band members have concerns about the tempos before you brought in the practice routine?
My name is Matt. :) and you're Grea? Yes, that 90-120 is an exaggeration but we do have tempo maintenance problems and really my biggest concern is the syncopated rhythms are completely off for the bassist. Which really is obvious when we do syncopated hits together and its just really sloppy. That problem with the one guy not being able to play syncopated 16ths in time has been brought up before by myself AND the guitarist (it was especially bad when playing "Ramble On"). I'm not AS worried about it now as I used to be because I think a lot of the problems we have stem from not having a good singer and the music is just my way of locking down what I can. The week before our gig last weekend we practiced a bunch of the songs without vocals and they sounded really good. We're auditioning a new singer this week so hopefully we'll find someone that can make us sound as good as the music does without vocals.
We worked with the metronome a little for a few weeks and it seems to have made a big difference.... spending that 20 min at the start of practice with a metronome playing different syncopated rhythms has helped us all lock in the time. It has also forced the bassist to read a little music which is a good thing since he really couldn't before. He actually said to me "what's this 2/4 thing mean?" and he is a "composer" that doesn't know how to read or write music at all. *sigh*
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
My name is Matt. :) and you're Grea?
I could have tried Mr Toad but it seemed a bit too Wind In the Willows. So ... hi Matt :)

That problem with the one guy not being able to play syncopated 16ths in time has been brought up before by myself AND the guitarist (it was especially bad when playing "Ramble On").
Ambitious cover. Great song tho'. I can imagine how that could be really scrappy. It's one of those songs that needs precision.

a lot of the problems we have stem from not having a good singer and the music is just my way of locking down what I can .... We're auditioning a new singer this week
How does your singer feel about being on borrowed time? Yes, a good singer will make all the difference. That was always the problem with my old bands. People would say, "Great band ... the singer's ... a good showman". Current band has a singer who's a bit better than the rest of the band. Good luck with the auditions!

He actually said to me "what's this 2/4 thing mean?" and he is a "composer" that doesn't know how to read or write music at all. *sigh*
Hehehe ... I'd be inclined to say, "Just treat it as a 4/4" :) What song is that one? You don't see much 2/4 around. My understanding is it's largely a matter of a composer's interpretation. Am I being clueless?

As for being a composer, John Lennon was quoted as saying. "Say what you mean. Make it rhyme. Put a beat to it" :)
 

thelimpingtoad

Senior Member
I could have tried Mr Toad but it seemed a bit too Wind In the Willows. So ... hi Matt :)
Yes quite wind in the willows. not my intention... but my gf got me a toad stuffed animal one year with a custom shirt that says "the limping toad" on it... we nicknamed him "Dr. Toad" sounds much more professional then "Mr."

Ambitious cover. Great song tho'. I can imagine how that could be really scrappy. It's one of those songs that needs precision.
Yup. That's why my old zeppelin cover band used to break everything down with a metronome to half the tempo then work it back up. We played songs like the crunge and the ocean to near-perfection though... i miss that band.

How does your singer feel about being on borrowed time? Yes, a good singer will make all the difference. That was always the problem with my old bands. People would say, "Great band ... the singer's ... a good showman". Current band has a singer who's a bit better than the rest of the band. Good luck with the auditions!
He's actually the bassist/keyboardist too so he's not going anywhere... he's also the other founding member and we practice at his house.
Hehehe ... I'd be inclined to say, "Just treat it as a 4/4" :) What song is that one? You don't see much 2/4 around. My understanding is it's largely a matter of a composer's interpretation. Am I being clueless?
No not clueless... its true.. just like you can feel 3/8 as 2 bars in 6/8 etc. but the 2/4 was actually just one of the exercies... the whole thing with interpretation of the rhythm is that it also has to do with phrasing so if something feels like it should be 2/4 bars in the phrasing it is 2/4. just like a 12/8 groove may actually be 6/8 if it feels more like 2 6/8 bars put together. I just feel like a basic understanding of rhythmic structure and rhythmic values are important for someone... especially when we cover songs by zeppelin and rush... Also my approach to composing grooves for our originals relies heavily on syncopation and precision in the parts i tell the other members to work out.
As for being a composer, John Lennon was quoted as saying. "Say what you mean. Make it rhyme. Put a beat to it" :)
I like that.. but as my old friend (the music ed major) said when i told him about the "composer" not knowing how to read or write music... "oh.. you mean he's a 'singer/song writer"
there's definately a good distinction... having formal training in music, i have never been able to understand how people can be satisfied getting away with just knowing chords and calling themselves a composer... i also don't know how you can call yourself a true pianist without reading music. but that's just me... i'm very analytical so i tend to overthink things a lot. its one of my finer points but can also be a major personality flaw. my dad's like that too... which is why it takes him an hour to decide what pizza to order... I've actually seen the man make a "matrix of pizza toppings" before. This kind of mindset has made my career as a programmer and designer much easier but it definately can cause social akwardness... It drives my gf crazy when i over analyze everything in my life...
 
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