THE BIG "MONEY BEAT" DEBATE! Love it or hate it?

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I love great ghost notes too (the beginning if Lido Shuffle, Jeff Porcaro, priceless)
Garibaldi knocks me flat...
But if you add ghosts to the money beat, is it still the money beat?
Not sure. You can for sure get the desired effect with ghosts, but like I asked, is it still the currency beat?
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
But if you add ghosts to the money beat, is it still the money beat? Not sure. You can for sure get the desired effect with ghosts, but like I asked, is it still the currency beat?
Not really, if you use the tower of power, or half time shuffle examples.

Here's a clip of the Who playing a classic groove that could be considered a money beat. This groove has been used in tons of songs. Check out Kenny's right hand on the hats.

He adds a little swing note. That changes the feel from a straight eight note ride to give the groove a little side to side sway.

It changes the feel (lope) of the grooove.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek0IGMX4XWA
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
I was thinking ...... What is the ultimate money beat song?

How about; We Will Rock You by Queen.

The entire song is built around a super simple "money beat".
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
KIS asked a question in another thread:

Agreed Polly. Why do you think so many players avoid naked slow beat work!
I've been on both sides of the fence. I suspect that a lot of simple drummers have played crazy in the past.

When I was young I wanted to go for it. I was like Animal - all shaking head, arms flailing. Going crazy on the drums is a buzz. It's fun and a challenge. Ian Paice was my hero (still love his playing). I knew of no girl drummers apart from Karen Carpenter (who I considered too square) but at least Ian wore glasses :)

Time passed .... a comment here or a look there kept hinting to me that I was being annoying (impossible to imagine, I know). Slowly the not-so-subtle hints started sinking into my thick skull and I started to bide my time until I found an excuse to slip in that cool new chop I'd worked out. I was still drumming selfishly but was being kept in line by our bassist who was very big on keeping his line and the kick drum synchronised. People always remaked on how tight we were. That was his doing.

More jams, more gigs, watching other drummers, talking to people, reading interviews and I finally realised that I was a bit sloppy. I joined a band that was trying to get somewhere and that was a wakeup call. I had to play more tightly and reliably again. I found that the list of things I could execute at that level was alarmingly small. In the end I mapped out my lines to every song to the beat with zero improv.

I started sounding more pro but it was a drag. The band was getting increasingly disorganised with drugs and general stupidity so in 87 I quit and ended The Impossible Dream.

Now I'm too old, tired and lazy to go back learn to play properly. I don't want to script myself so tightly again either, so playing very simply gives me the headroom to toss in ruffs, ghosts and extra accents etc depending on what my ears and body are wanting to happen. I went from being an equal musical partner to a role I could handle better - an accompanist.

If someone like JPW wants things more exciting than that, more power to them. You're only young once.


Freddie, that's a good one. I saw Roger Taylor in 1976 and he was all class.

Some other money beats that do it for me:

Billie Jean - MJ

Kashmir - Led Zep

Miss You - The Stones

Every Step You Take - Police

Superstition - Stevie

Show Biz Kids - Steely Dan

Lady Marmalade - Patti LaBelle

Mustang Sally - The Commitments
 

JPW

Silver Member
I understand your analogy, but I'd ask - are you painting it on the same canvas every time? Do you use the exact same colours? Do you shade them identically every time? That's where the challenge lies with me. We may all be painting the same subject, but everyone will have their own interpretation. Our canvas is the song, colours are dynamics, shading is the difference between playing the straightest 8th we can on the hats, or adding a pulse by slightly accenting 1, 2, 3 and 4. A fruit basket is always going to look the same until you are able to look at it from a different perspective.

JP, I'm a fan of your point of view. I was of this ilk for many years and prided myself on thinking outside the tool-box of beats that are so common in today's music. It's drummers such as yourself that attempt to push boundaries and provide great inspiration to many aspiring drummers and entertainment for other musicians.

Somewhere along my musical journey though, I found it much more satisfying to have an entire crowd dancing and singing along rather than see them standing there with arms crossed trying to comprehend what we were attempting musically, only to be told by other drummers in the crowd how much they enjoyed the set. In other words, I'd rather sell 20 albums to people who enjoyed the music as a whole, than 1 to a drummer who was impressed with my chops.

Since making this shift, I've played substantially more gigs, get asked back more often and played to much larger crowds than when I was playing for myself or other drummers in the audience. This brings me great satisfaction, in that my role as a musician and entertainer is "mission accomplished" - I'm sharing my love of music with others, ...and making more money.

I'd wager that 80% (ballpark) of people don't listen to music like you or I - they focus solely on the vocals. Having said that, I feel as though it's my job to ensure that people are focused on the vocals rather than the drums. The challenge for me is to play somewhat under the radar. The fighter jets get all the glory of being on the front line. I'll pick my spots wisely and drop bombs while the jets refuel.

I play "Billie Jean" with one of my bands, it's sooo hard sometimes not to throw ghosts in there or fill more than the recording - but for me, it's way more gratifying to see people dancing even before the bass line kicks in than it is to busy things up to the point where the average listener becomes lost in it's complexity.

I wonder if guitar forums have similar discussions about 12-bar blues or 3 chord songs?
Heh, thank you for your post. =) I undertand that even for the simple money beat there are many things you can do differently. It's not the notes that necessarily makes something sound different. Dynamics and balance, tempo and time center all make a big difference. But still I think it's more about the other factors than the drumming when people hear large differences between money beats. Sound of the drums and especially what other intruments are playing on top of it. There's many ways how a bass player or guitarist can sort of produce an illusion that drummer is doing something differently when he actually isn't. So I'm in a way not disagreeing with you, but then again the money beat still doesn't produce any emotional impact on me. Like watching fruit baskets doesn't, I need something more. And I know there are many people around who put fruit arrangements on their walls. =P

I sort of understand where you are coming from. I had this great opportunity to join an african band playing a wedding gig (I was a guest at the wedding and asked if I can join). I hadn't played djembe before many times, just some basics. And as they started playing, it was pretty simple stuff THEORETICALLY, but that was exactly the point of it. There wasn't any melody nothing but the simple powerfull beat from the 10 or so djembes. It was easy to grasp and I was in awe when most people took their shoes of and starte dancing. This never happens when I play artsy fusion! =P The feeling was nice. And we played around with stopping playing all together and the beat just stayd alive somewhere in the dance or somebody in the crowd clapping their hand on the table. It was very inspiring. But! and I think this is very important I think. It's a very different feeling from what I'm getting when improing with my band and putting my heart in the music. It's deeper. The "getting everybody to dance" -thing was nice and entertaining but didn't really get me out of my body.

And I understand if you have to make your money playing music you have to make huge compromises in your art and listen to what everybody actually wants more than what you desire to do. But gladly I'm in a position where I can do other stuff for a living and play what I want.
 

JPW

Silver Member
As for caring how this beat is executed, I have to disagree with you on that. I do care, and it makes a huge difference to the delivery and triggering that primeval human response to rhythm that's so necessary to change the listener's mood. Nor am I advocating playing the money beat without variation, Jer put this across very well in his post. To me, the money beat is still the money beat with a double, rimshot, flam, etc thrown in to lift a passage. Further to this, the money beat need not necessarily be used in a simple playing context. It can be a small part of a highly complexed routine and used to great effect as a counter to / highlighter of challenging material. Very effective when used as a breathing space within such material. Moving from an odd time signature to the money beat in 4/4 then back again superbly emphasises the odd signature passages.

The money beat has huge worth in just about all genre's. Even if it doesn't apply to your chosen material, the ability to execute this beat with passion, restraint & performance is a most superb platform to building substance into other routines, no matter how complexed. The money beat is not the most important polular music beat in it's naked form, but it does have value beyond the comprehension of many players. Maybe a player's stance on this is an indication of whether they class themselves as a musician first, drummer second or drummer first, musician second. There's nothing wrong with either priority, but it does dictate how you approach the task of creating music.
Yeah, I might used a bad wording there. I didn't mean to say it doesn't matter how it's played when it's played, of course it does. What I meant was that I haven't heard it ever playd so well that it would give me the chills for example. The song might but it'd propably do it without the drummer too, with a drum machine. But I agree on your point about triggering the primal insticts. Yes, when we try to get people to dance low frequencies and simple beats make it happen far faster than high frequency and high complexity. But as I said in the last post I made, I'm not playing to get people dance necessarily. It's a plus of course, but not the intent.
 

JPW

Silver Member
Lordy lordy. Is that where people think I'm coming from? That I think one should play without variations not only within songs but between them? Or that there's a hard and fast rule about how one should play?

Oh boy, I need to work on my comms skills. Have I at any point said ANYTHING like that, JP? I saw on another thread that Average created this amazing straw man (or woman) accusing some of us of being postmodern, as though we can't tell a Weckl from a White. Alas, I'm afflicted with the curse of enjoying music that musicians aren't supposed to like :)

But I'm always keen to hear differentiation in a band's set. I get bored if all the songs a band plays sound similar. I want different tempos, dynamics, feels and arrangements. All of my favourite bands are eclectic. As David said, the $$ beat isn't something you do all the time, just one of the tools we use to scupt songs.

First thing for me is that the music does or says something that appeals to me. If the drummer is just playing a support role with a $$ beat or whatever, that doesn't make me like it less if it works. For an ageing has-been like me whose heyday was in the 80s, I find it better to play a good $$ beat than a bad version of the more complex things I played in the days when I had much more facility.
Hehe, I didn't necessarily point at you with my "simple beat worship" comments. I guess this is for me the same thing we had in the "jazz and four letters" thread with people having some sort of feeling about a group of people and can't really point out any example. For me it's this "simple beat worship"-group of people. I can't really say any names because I have a bad name memory anyways and I don't usually remember who said what on a forum, but still I get some sort of vibe from people and you subconsciously start to make groups out of them. I have just read so many posts about how one should strive for "less is more" and how when one ages one should realize how great it is to put huge amounts of space every where and how miles davis could play only one note and it would be the greatest thing ever.

But I think there lies a danger there though. You can't as _beginner_ take a money beat or single note from a trumpet and make it work like these greats do it. And I'm quite sure they haven't practiced only the simple things to achieve such a great control of timing and dynamics. Almost every one of them have had their more complex era's where they have explored the rhytmic space to really gain the ability to concentrate on the simpler things. And to get the taste for the simpler things. I see musicians more like time lines. You can't just take one era of musicians in his 80s and tell people "now that's how you should play jazz" for example because they wouldn't have the same musical history behind them.

Now here comes the dilemma with popular music and "rawness". There are lots of great music made with simple beats and people who just started playing without knowing anything really about the history of the instrument or music. But most of the time I think it's pure luck and nothing to praise really. And I have seen some of these bands live and I must say most of them can't play out side the studio and producers.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Hehe, I didn't necessarily point at you with my "simple beat worship" comments. I guess this is for me the same thing we had in the "jazz and four letters" thread with people having some sort of feeling about a group of people and can't really point out any example. For me it's this "simple beat worship"-group of people. I can't really say any names because I have a bad name memory anyways and I don't usually remember who said what on a forum, but still I get some sort of vibe from people and you subconsciously start to make groups out of them. I have just read so many posts about how one should strive for "less is more" and how when one ages one should realize how great it is to put huge amounts of space every where and how miles davis could play only one note and it would be the greatest thing ever.

But I think there lies a danger there though. You can't as _beginner_ take a money beat or single note from a trumpet and make it work like these greats do it. And I'm quite sure they haven't practiced only the simple things to achieve such a great control of timing and dynamics. Almost every one of them have had their more complex era's where they have explored the rhytmic space to really gain the ability to concentrate on the simpler things. And to get the taste for the simpler things. I see musicians more like time lines. You can't just take one era of musicians in his 80s and tell people "now that's how you should play jazz" for example because they wouldn't have the same musical history behind them.

Now here comes the dilemma with popular music and "rawness". There are lots of great music made with simple beats and people who just started playing without knowing anything really about the history of the instrument or music. But most of the time I think it's pure luck and nothing to praise really. And I have seen some of these bands live and I must say most of them can't play out side the studio and producers.
Generally, I agree. However, with a caveat. I keep reading stuff from great musicians who talk about practising something simply until you do it perfectly. I think that's where I went wrong. I kept practising tricky stuff until I could play it adequately. Bill Bruford talks about top guys practising 4 notes and trying to get it right. By right I mean right. And they do it for all of their careers.

Pretty amazing discipline. I can see how that would work but you need more patience than I have.
 

JPW

Silver Member
Generally, I agree. However, with a caveat. I keep reading stuff from great musicians who talk about practising something simply until you do it perfectly. I think that's where I went wrong. I kept practising tricky stuff until I could play it adequately. Bill Bruford talks about top guys practising 4 notes and trying to get it right. By right I mean right. And they do it for all of their careers.

Pretty amazing discipline. I can see how that would work but you need more patience than I have.
Can't say much on that. I always take these quotes from the greats with a grain of salt. We don't know the context it was said and we don't know what the people he was talking about actually practiced and why and what else did they practice and was that ACTUALLY optimal. Too much "broken phone" going on to really give it any weight. But one thing we can agree on, even all the greats (except Buddy Rich) practice basic things to get better. Even rudiments omg. And I don't know if there actually is any single thing that is hard on drums (well maybe something like 21-tuplets over 113, but well it wouldn't sound good anyways so...), it's the combining them that is the hard part.

(yeah yeah, but but but... to REALLY NAIL it you have to study the money beat for 250 years! ... yes I get it already. =D but what if you studied 50 years of money beat and 200 years of rudiments, wouldn't your timing be much better?)
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
I think the money beats secret is to have the correct volume balance between the individual pieces (medium loud volume bass drum, medium soft volume on the hats w/ a noticeably louder quarter note pulse, and a POPPIN snare, that's my take on it) coupled with a great tempo for the song, (not rushed or dragged) perfect meter, and the hard part, keeping the volume relations, tempo and meter perfectly consistant from bar to bar to ba to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to ba to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to ba to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar .


Put me down for loving the money beat.
Spot on Larry. This is extremely hard to do, and I can tell you are in the process of mastering it...fascinating...
C
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The "getting everybody to dance" -thing was nice and entertaining but didn't really get me out of my body.

And I understand if you have to make your money playing music you have to make huge compromises in your art and listen to what everybody actually wants more than what you desire to do. But gladly I'm in a position where I can do other stuff for a living and play what I want.
To me, this clarifies your philosophy on how you approach your art.
JPW, I have to call them like I see them. You make many intelligent comments, and you are certainly entitled to them, and I like your posts. But from what I'm hearing, it sounds like your own musical wants are being placed before the people you're entertaining.
Would you agree with that statement?
 

JPW

Silver Member
To me, this clarifies your philosophy on how you approach your art.
JPW, I have to call them like I see them. You make many intelligent comments, and you are certainly entitled to them, and I like your posts. But from what I'm hearing, it sounds like your own musical wants are being placed before the people you're entertaining.
Would you agree with that statement?
Yes, I would agree to that to some degree. I play music because I myself enjoy doing it, I think that's also the case with "enternainers" but maybe the difference comes when I choose to do something differently, trying to make the music better. I choose to change the piece so that I myself enjoy it more rather than thinking what the audience wants. So my mentality is more like a writer's or a painter's mentality. I play what is on my heart and if you can relate to that it's perfect. If you can't, well that's too bad for me and you. =)

But like I said there's a difference when you do your music for a living. There's pressure to please then because you have to pay your rent. But now comes the difficult part, can I call my self "lucky" cause I can do what I want? Or are the "entertainers" the ones that do it the right way (because afteral it was a choice to become a professional musician wasn't it? you could have studied and gotten a "real" job like I did)? ... What is the purpose of music? Am I being selfish or true to my art? Are eterntainers selfish or true to their art? I think we can't really say can we? Only thing we can say is that there's at least two approaches to make music on a fundamental level and it reflects to the playing style.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I always take these quotes from the greats with a grain of salt. We don't know the context it was said and we don't know what the people he was talking about actually practiced and why and what else did they practice and was that ACTUALLY optimal. Too much "broken phone" going on to really give it any weight. But one thing we can agree on, even all the greats (except Buddy Rich) practice basic things to get better. Even rudiments omg. And I don't know if there actually is any single thing that is hard on drums (well maybe something like 21-tuplets over 113, but well it wouldn't sound good anyways so...), it's the combining them that is the hard part.

(yeah yeah, but but but... to REALLY NAIL it you have to study the money beat for 250 years! ... yes I get it already. =D but what if you studied 50 years of money beat and 200 years of rudiments, wouldn't your timing be much better?)
Actually, there is context. I'm reading his autobiography. It's all there and I highly recommend it. He learnt an awful lot in the last 40 years.

I can't say what it takes to really nail something but maybe someone else can say it.

Larry, that "bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar to bar" comment says a great deal.

For the sake of elegance I was going to say "from bar to bar to bar etc" but I think the over-the-top version gets the point across better. I hear it in band recordings. All is well and then there's a hiccough ... a stick slipped, your foot slipped, you got uncomfortable and shifted in your seat, the mind wanders, a momentary lapse of confidence - and then you continue. Everything else sounds fine and I finish the song happy.

Then I hear the playback ... groove, groove groove CLANG!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Yes, I would agree to that to some degree. I play music because I myself enjoy doing it, I think that's also the case with "enternainers" but maybe the difference comes when I choose to do something differently, trying to make the music better. I choose to change the piece so that I myself enjoy it more rather than thinking what the audience wants. So my mentality is more like a writer's or a painter's mentality. I play what is on my heart and if you can relate to that it's perfect. If you can't, well that's too bad for me and you. =)

But like I said there's a difference when you do your music for a living. There's pressure to please then because you have to pay your rent. But now comes the difficult part, can I call my self "lucky" cause I can do what I want? Or are the "entertainers" the ones that do it the right way (because afteral it was a choice to become a professional musician wasn't it? you could have studied and gotten a "real" job like I did)? ... What is the purpose of music? Am I being selfish or true to my art? Are eterntainers selfish or true to their art? I think we can't really say can we? Only thing we can say is that there's at least two approaches to make music on a fundamental level and it reflects to the playing style.
First off, thank you for answering my question without getting an attitude. I was hoping for that and you didn't disappoint. I also respect you for fully owning your statement. You raise a great question, is it better to be true to oneself musically, or to do what everyone else wants. You are doing both from what I gather. In my experience, I've had to choose, and I always go the what everyone else wants route.

Polly, I know exactly what you're saying. ADD is the enemy of the money beat ha ha
Also, instead of being Pollyanna, have you considered Pollyrhythm?

Actually Pollyanna fits you better, because you are a gift. I have to say, this forum is so much more personable since you've come on board. You have a way of knitting everyone together, and I feel (and I'm guessing I'm not alone in this) more connected when I'm here because of you. Your posts are so original, so human, sometimes just flat out funny and completely enjoyable. Please don't ever leave! Long Live Pollyanna! (Big hug and a kiss for you)
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Actually Pollyanna fits you better, because you are a gift. I have to say, this forum is so much more personable since you've come on board. You have a way of knitting everyone together, and I feel (and I'm guessing I'm not alone in this) more connected when I'm here because of you. Your posts are so original, so human, sometimes just flat out funny and completely enjoyable. Please don't ever leave! Long Live Pollyanna! (Big hug and a kiss for you)
Hear hear. Polly, you're cute~!! inspite of it all.. ; )
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Hey hey - kind words from two drummers who have put up some of the most enjoyable music in the Your Playing area that I've heard, and from one player (Wy) who keeps reminding people to keep it simple but is a real beast of a player. Especially nice timing since I'm now on a fluid diet in preparation for Sat's hospital visit - a banana smoothie never tasted so good or felt so guilt free :) Thanks mucho guys!

JP, re: your dilemma of wondering whether to please yourself or the audience. For me, it's mostly about trying to please my band mates. Tricky to find that balance between playing too little or too much at times.
 
W

wy yung

Guest
Thanks Pol.
Will call later to find out your details so I can visit.

Listening to AccaDacca now. There's nothing wrong with the money beat.
 

davidr

Senior Member
I think that those people who get bored of the money beat are those who only ever hear the drums when they listen to music. It's a danger we are all exposed to. If you study the drums you massively skew your artistic faculties by prioritising the drums every time. The same is true if you study literature you can easily forget how to read a book the way it was designed to be read. It is a danger common to all art.

I find that when playing in a song my crash cymbal takes on a completely different character when it coincides with a minor chord than with a major chord. So too, playing the money beat in "Back in Black" is not the same as playing it in "Billie Jean", and not just because of the tempo. The beat without the song is empty. Sometimes the beat leads the song (think "50 ways") but this is the exception not the rule.

The point here is that if you only hear the drums part of a song and evaluate it as easy or difficult, complex or simple, you have missed the point. If you care more about these aspects, your bored with music IMHO, and if you care more about what is done than how it is done, then congratulations: you have found a new sport at the expense of on art form.
 
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