Two and four groovy or... Not?

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I've noticed a number of threads where people bring up play two and four as if it were groovy. Maybe in comparison to multi cultural drumming, chops or in lieu of musicality, etc. It seems like to me play two and four is nothing more than marking time, am I missing something?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I've noticed a number of threads where people bring up play two and four as if it were groovy. Maybe in comparison to multi cultural drumming, chops or in lieu of musicality, etc. It seems like to me play two and four is nothing more than marking time, am I missing something?
It's not what you play, it's how you play it.

WADR, IMO, you are missing the sizzle on the steak, the poetry from the words. Like missing the forest for the trees. Like looking at a Rembrandt and going...so what?

Marking time and feeling time....is like the difference between surviving life and enjoying life.

The devil is in the details.

My unpopular opinion....marking time is not a criminal sentence, it's what drummers do. How well a person "marks time" is directly proportional to how well a drummer feels the time.

Another analogy is drumming is like making love. A person going through the motions is not nearly as compelling as a person who is really feeling it. Same thing. It's not the what it's the how.

2 and 4 is beautiful. It's what everyone needs. It feels so good. Why is 2 and 4 vilified so much when it's a major part of our reason for being up there? Lyric based drumming is probably the most strict of all the instruments. There is a need for 2 and 4. It's the framework everything is built from. It's really vital to a song. Groove is a beautiful thing, and a predictable pulse is essential in much music. Too many drummers can't play one beat for more than 8 bars without a fill because they think they are boring. Huge pitfall. You can't groove with that mindset. Repetition...too many drummers think repetition is the bane of their existence. These drummers are not seeing the big picture IMO.

Groove is what makes women dance. Given the choice of hearing a drummer with a great irresistible dance-able groove, and hearing a drummer who doesn't deeply understand groove, but can pull off some really cool drum chops....how many women will opt for the latter? An overwhelming minority is my guess. Drummers that don't get what role the drumset plays in an ensemble situation are ineffective.

Groove is to drums is what a great story is to lyrics.

Groove is the drummers super power.
 
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Naigewron

Platinum Member
No, you're missing everything :)
This, pretty much.

"Groove" is not an objective term though, so you might have a hard time feeling it when it comes to more backbeat-focused drumming. I often have trouble finding it in jazzy players, but that's because I've never immersed myself in that style of music and drumming at all.

Here, have som Dave DiCenso on the house, one of the grooviest players out there playing one of his most laidback 2-and-4 beats:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKG8yXWb6nY

And since I just sent myself into a Dave DiCenso binge, here's a more rocking tune where he just lays it down hard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFXvfBL4WkU
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Once I was like you. Then I started hanging out with some great bass players who knew how to put some funk around two and four and four-on-the-floor. I watch ladies dance to that stuff. And I think to myself, this is the best feeling right here. Try it sometime.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I rarely find people in the audience who can recognize when the band is playing in the groove. But I do find most musicians recognize it.

And when as drummers we get comments from other musicians about how much they enjoyed playing with us, we know they have recognized that we were playing in the groove.


.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
The whole groove/beat placement thing was the last thing I really figured out as a drummer. Even when I first thought I understood it, I later realized I actually did not.

I get it now. I'm not saying I can do it exceptionally well, but I know the difference. And it's all the difference in the world. It has more to do with what gets drummers hired than everything else.

It takes a ton of listening, a lot of playing with good musicians, and most of all, an open mind.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
I guess another way of putting it might be, that I observe many drummers and drum related people that don't seem to understand when a two and four back beat is inappropriate, and to me this negatively effects my perception of back beat oriented musicians.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I guess another way of putting it might be, that I observe many drummers and drum related people that don't seem to understand when a two and four back beat is inappropriate, and to me this negatively effects my perception of back beat oriented musicians.
hmmm, Not getting you. An example? Where its "inappropriate"?
Are you meaning playing straight-time instead of shuffle (but that's still 2 and 4) ..or just in different time signature or...?
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Despite the numerous threads trying, we have yet to clearly define groove(sic groovy).

It is a subjective term...and most disagreements related to it are in its definition.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Check out Steve Jordan's DVD "The Groove is Here" - there's a very cool spot in there where he's talking to Levon Helm on the subject of the band switching instruments, and Levon said this really profound thing, "Once you're done playing everybody else's instruments, and you're back home on the drums, you know better what you want from the drummer".

Of course, in American/Western music, he's talking about the steady groove, most likely with the backbeat on 2 & 4 (of course, in other cultures, like Greek culture, that backbeat could be on the 7 & 13).

And Steve Gadd even said the drums are a team instrument - you exist to allow others to play better or above where they normally would be playing and to hold it all together. Unlike a guitarist, who could sit out on a street corner and play tunes all day, the drums can't do that. Your whole job is the groove.

Yes, the definition of groove is different for different musics, but I've been listening to some 70s Zappa lately, and even with all the weird stuff those guys are playing, there's a definite groove you can fall into as the listener. And that's harder to create than just being able to nail the notes down on the page.
 
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