Vocalising as a way to improve your rhythm and time

Caz

Senior Member
Hi everyone, I'm doing a project on vocalising rhythms as a way to improve time feel. For example, Konnakol in South Indian Carnatic music. I'm looking for ways to apply vocal systems like this to western music - jazz, pop etc, to improve time feel and strengthen rhythmic facility. Part of the project is a series of lessons with Ari Hoenig and Dan Weiss, who have both partly worked on rhythm by vocalising away from the drums. I'm interested to hear from the general community, what things have worked well for you to improve on rhythm and time? If working with a metronome, did you find specific ways to use it to strengthen your time feel when there's no metronome? And is there any vocalising involved when you practice with your instrument?

Keen to hear about everything from singing, clapping, dancing etc.. anything that you feel has led to improvements.

Thanks,
Caroline
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
in my marching/drum corps situations, we have always vocalized the patterns that we play...other peopl;e call it "Drumeze" or "Drumspeak"

Digga-da, digga-da, dat diggah dut dah uzzzz. Dubba du dubba duh dubba duh duba duh, uzz uzz, GAK, duddah uzzzzzz

that is a rudimental passage vocalized in that speak

most of the original NARD 26 rudiments were named for the way they were vocalized when they were taught by rote

I teach ALL of my students to vocalize rhythmic subdivisions from day one, no matter what instruments. They have to be able to "Say it before they play it" in time with a met. I think vocalization helps to infuse natural inflection and phrasing to a passage of music that then gets reflected in the hands...
 

Caz

Senior Member
in my marching/drum corps situations, we have always vocalized the patterns that we play...other peopl;e call it "Drumeze" or "Drumspeak"

Digga-da, digga-da, dat diggah dut dah uzzzz. Dubba du dubba duh dubba duh duba duh, uzz uzz, GAK, duddah uzzzzzz

that is a rudimental passage vocalized in that speak

most of the original NARD 26 rudiments were named for the way they were vocalized when they were taught by rote

I teach ALL of my students to vocalize rhythmic subdivisions from day one, no matter what instruments. They have to be able to "Say it before they play it" in time with a met. I think vocalization helps to infuse natural inflection and phrasing to a passage of music that then gets reflected in the hands...

Oh nice, didn't know about this with drum corps... is the focus of verbalising in that way to get the rhythmic phrase then move straight to the drum, or would you stick with it verbally for a while to quantise the time with that phrase even once you've got the basic rhythm together?
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant

I have been studying with Dave DiCenso for the last 18 months and all I can say is that he changed my playing with the above-the neck-disciplines.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
in my marching/drum corps situations, we have always vocalized the patterns that we play...other peopl;e call it "Drumeze" or "Drumspeak"

Digga-da, digga-da, dat diggah dut dah uzzzz. Dubba du dubba duh dubba duh duba duh, uzz uzz, GAK, duddah uzzzzzz

that is a rudimental passage vocalized in that speak

most of the original NARD 26 rudiments were named for the way they were vocalized when they were taught by rote

I teach ALL of my students to vocalize rhythmic subdivisions from day one, no matter what instruments. They have to be able to "Say it before they play it" in time with a met. I think vocalization helps to infuse natural inflection and phrasing to a passage of music that then gets reflected in the hands...

my favorites are “higgidy-bop” and “wuggidy-bump”
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Oh nice, didn't know about this with drum corps... is the focus of verbalising in that way to get the rhythmic phrase then move straight to the drum, or would you stick with it verbally for a while to quantise the time with that phrase even once you've got the basic rhythm together?

we vocalize as we are learning mostly...but personally, I find my self vocalizing parts even as I play; I think it is a way to keep my brain and hands speakign to each other the whole time...helps me not to zone out. It also makes think ahead abourt what it coming

and I can hear my students vocalizing as they are playing, probably for the same reasons

when we are learnig drill, and don't have the drums on, is when we vocalize the most. It is actually pretty cool to hear the kids doing it...the basses all sing their individual parts; the tenors raise or lower the pitch according to which drum it is on; it gets pretty detailed in the end
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member

beatdat

Senior Member

I have been studying with Dave DiCenso for the last 18 months and all I can say is that he changed my playing with the above-the neck-disciplines.
Can we hear more about your personal experience, please?
Yeah, I'd like to hear about it, too!

I bought DiCenso's Rhythm and Drumming Demystified awhile ago, but have no idea on how to use it. Learning how to count 16th note triplets as he does in his book has been great for me, so I'm really interested in learning how to approach his book... I just don't know how to.
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Gregg Bissonette is an advocate of singing what you play:
 

Cmdr. Ross

Silver Member
I remember seeing a video of Louis Bellson doing this. Maybe not drum line level, but enough to keep him (and the band) straight.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Steve Smith talks a bit about his vocalization approach at his website. He follows a Tabla type implementation as opposed to a marching style vocalization.

I think both 'languages' are neurologically sound...engage more of your brain/get more rhythmic engagement.
 

Ghostin one

Senior Member
I had a teacher who stressed this, probably as way to learn counting and reading. "If you can say it, you can play it", referring to saying the part out loud, e.g. "one e and 2 e and 3 e and a 4 and"
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Vocalizing rhythm is good, learning to count rhythm accurately is also good. I don't know which is better, a takadimi type unmetered system, vs. a 1e&a system with metered counts. For my purposes, I like the latter. Since there are no good ways to count a lot of rhythms, we have to use a little bit of an ad hoc takadimi thing anyway-- saying digatadigata-dat for a sixtuplet, or whatever.

I'm not fond of DiCenso's thing, which is based around counting a complete grid. Maybe it's good for execution, I'm not wild about it creatively-- rhythms are our musical ideas, and if you're just thinking grid all the time, you're kind of wiping that out. I prefer extensive rhythm training, including negative space— learning to count rhythms themselves, plus their inverse. It amounts to the same thing as the grid thing, but it reinforces your concept of individual rhythms, instead of kind of ignoring it.

And I think you develop better time that way. To me it's hard to judge the accuracy of a pure undifferentiated pulse. If there are different note lengths involved-- e.g. 1 2 3 4&-- that has a shape. It gives you the rate of the beat and the rate of the subdivision. The subdivided beat 4 gives you a reference for judging the accuracy of the rest of the rhythm.

Bob Moses is another one who does a lot of vocalizing percussion. It seems like everyone used to do it, maybe it's not such a prevalent thing now...

I just wrote a blog post that relates to all of this.
 
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brentcn

Platinum Member

I have been studying with Dave DiCenso for the last 18 months and all I can say is that he changed my playing with the above-the neck-disciplines.

I’m interested to hear how, particularly since you’re already very, very accomplished. Is his method designed to even out a perhaps wonky time feel (I’m thinking of a young ish college student here) or is it a jumping off point to something else? In one part he demonstrates some displacement — is that part of the end-goal?

Of course, your time feel is going to be excellent if you can do the things in that video. But there’s more than one path to that well, IMHO. So is there something more that I’m missing?
 
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