Where do you keep your time?

aydee

Platinum Member
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I'm not sure where I keep my time, but my goal is to keep in my midriff.

When I started to play drums it was at the tip of my right hand drumstick ( Im pretending to be righty for the sake of this post ) ..

slowly, after learning a little indedendence it went to my left foot, which then freed up my arms to do as they pleased. After a while, I wanted to use my left foot more, i.e not just as a metronome but to play figures, doubles triplets etc.. everything a right foot does, which then leaves time in a very abstract place, somewhere in the center of your body.

Im not quite there yet but I've started to feel it there, to answer your question.


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Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
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I'm not sure where I keep my time, but my goal is to keep in my midriff.

When I started to play drums it was at the tip of my right hand drumstick ( Im pretending to be righty for the sake of this post ) ..

slowly, after learning a little indedendence it went to my left foot, which then freed up my arms to do as they pleased. After a while, I wanted to use my left foot more, i.e not just as a metronome but to play figures, doubles triplets etc.. everything a right foot does, which then leaves time in a very abstract place, somewhere in the center of your body.

Im not quite there yet but I've started to feel it there, to answer your question.


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Yea, this is kinda my goal too. I always want to literally "feel" time. The best description for how this works out is that it comes from the middle of my body and extends out... There's something very instinctual about music, time, and rhythmic ideas in the human body that's hard to describe, but I think it's always there for the developing. I think that my original point, and perhaps yours is that if you tie your sense of time to a physical limb, you might end up putting a limit on your ability with that limb.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Curses! And I thought I was awesome too!

I concede that you are better than me in every way.
A fairly outrageous overstatement that's patently untrue ... but I DID beat you to that bad joke :p ... actually, I was going to say that I liked your quarter note comment but it seemed gratuitous, but now that you're feeling so trumped perhaps you could do with a little lurve ...

Like Abe and Watso I'd like to feel the time inside and then express it but my habit over many years is much more in the head, an act of will ... I - MUST - BE - GROOVY! SCHNELL!

I've been thinking that playing a rhythm without feeling it in the body like dancers do is a tad deceptive, as though I'm just this a nerdy old gal pretending to be groovy. The ideal is to BE groovy inside and just let it out ...
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I kind of hate the sound of a constant high-hat chick in music of almost all kinds(save for jazzy-stuff). I tend to keep time "internally", that is, I feel the pulse almost in my stomach, I often hum along or sing the song and just "feel" the groove and let it flow out rather than try and create the groove and stick it to a limb. I'm hesitant to tie my time center to any one limb or idea because I feel it might limit me down the road. I suppose for most stuff, rock and what not, the snare is the most constant, as you always know you're going to hear it on 2 & 4. I think I'll zone out and focus on the snare or kick drum once in a while.
I may have to do something like this when I play my cocktail set. I have to stand on one foot and play bass with the other foot, which make tapping impossible.
 

MattA

Senior Member
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I'm not sure where I keep my time, but my goal is to keep in my midriff.
... somewhere in the center of your body.
Ever stand near a speaker stack and feel the bass kick in your chest/guts? You literally feel time in your mid section. I dare say there is a correlation between where you feel time in this sense and where you essentially create the feel of time within your own playing.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Ever stand near a speaker stack and feel the bass kick in your chest/guts? You literally feel time in your mid section. I dare say there is a correlation between where you feel time in this sense and where you essentially create the feel of time within your own playing.
Yeah, but what if THAT time is off? What if the feel of your vibrating internal organs isn't really spot-on? I can help, but I wouldn't rely on it.

I wouldn't rely on anything external except a metronome, and even then, only to cultivate my own internal sense of time.
 

MattA

Senior Member
Yeah, but what if THAT time is off? What if the feel of your vibrating internal organs isn't really spot-on? I can help, but I wouldn't rely on it.

I wouldn't rely on anything external except a metronome, and even then, only to cultivate my own internal sense of time.
Apologies, I should have articulated a little better. I didn't mean that you feel the vibrations from the speakers at the same time you attempt to replicate it while playing drums.

I just meant that if you've ever been a punter at a concert or something similar and stood near the speaker stack, your mid-section is where you feel the beat, the time.

So from this, when it later comes to create your own time when playing drums, it's a good place to once again feel time. Although you may not literally feel the beat in your guts at the same time you're playing, it's something your body has memory of and therefore may be a good place to keep this sense of time.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
In my pocket ... ho ho ho



Very fractal, DMC. It begs the question ... what is the drum set of the left foot??
HA! I guess it ends there, because then you're getting into the general-purpose aspect of the human body. It would be interesting to learn how the brain keeps track of time.
 

thims

Junior Member
I envy yous guys who can keep focus on time internally. My problem is I'm too creative and want to improvise too much. This leads to speeding up or roller coaster riding. However, I have come to the point where I'm developing the Quarter note pulse on the left foot. The more I find I concentrate on the left foot pulse the more I can hear and feel things straightening out.Yes, some things are more of a challenge to play which use not to be, but I literally feel more centered concentrating on the pulse over the creativity of the music.

It's hard to realize steady time does not "naturally" happen within some drummers, isn't it supposed too? (so say other musicians), with me it never has, OR I have never focused on it, and I've recently come to accept this. Having to use an external quarter/8th note pulse is a struggle for me and I imagine other drummers as well. Now I have to figure out how to use this external "pulse" creatively!
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Having to use an external quarter/8th note pulse is a struggle for me and I imagine other drummers as well. Now I have to figure out how to use this external "pulse" creatively!
Do practice your improvisation's skill with a metronome, a click track or playing along with CD's, it will help you to build your sense of time...
 

thims

Junior Member
Do practice your improvisation's skill with a metronome, a click track or playing along with CD's, it will help you to build your sense of time...
Throughout the years I've resisted the metronome because something told me my drumming would be too rigid, no breath, and stiff. What I've come to realize is the opposite is true, because a good time sense gives music subconscious order. It's no different than a heartbeat. Notice I didn't say "perfect" time, I said good. The last thing I want in music is pogo sticking!

When I was younger I use to play to "Albums," remember those? So I did have a decent time sense, somewhere along the way I forgot good time awareness is necessary for good music groove.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I keep time inside. I feel it. Not in a vibrational sense, just feel.

Its like playing the 12 bar blues. If you have to count the bars you are not playing the blues. You should just feel the changes.

I prefer to think of a song or piece of music as having a pulse, and the time fits inside that.

Not explained very well, I know, but that's how I do it.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
I was thinking about this thread this week.

I've started putting a lot more movement in my right hand and arm (partly Moeller inspired) and I started to notice my left foot was much less tense than it had been tho still keeping the 2s and 4s.

All of which seems to be a good thing to me - better that a limb that's actually doing something on the kit is moving and keeping pulse rather than have a limb just diddling away to no directly useful purpose.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My problem is I'm too creative and want to improvise too much.

You could also call it undisciplined. I'm not attacking you, but this is what came to mind when I read that. Time takes discipline. Discipline fosters creativity like nothing else. When you are "stuck" working the metronome, toiling away at lining up things perfectly....when you shut off the metronome, watch out. All the creativity you "stored" up while practicing will come spilling out.

Yea discipline is the key that opens the door to real creativity.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Right on! Yeah, you definitely helped convince me of that when I was stubbornly refusing to accept it. That was a few years ago...now my left foot is always bouncing. Everything sounds and feels better.

However, as I grow and improve, I'm seeing that while that helps me meter the pulse of the music and helps keep me coordinated, it's not the only timekeeper for me. It's easy to have a rushed feel on the ride or hats, even if you're keeping time perfectly with the left foot, for example.

It's these subtle interplays between the limbs that can make or break the feel of the song!

I'm thinking specifically about how to make the music swing, when it's called for. I might be keeping basic internal time, with the help of my left foot, but I have to keep myself in check and pay attention to how my right hand is keeping time, also. I think it's every bit as important.
Good points. If you just view the left foot as a way to keep time, you'll be relegating it to a limited role, however important. Really, at more advanced levels of music, it's not even necessary to explicitly keep time with some repeating figure, on the hats or elsewhere. When all musicians have fully internalized the pulse, they can externalize more/different things.
 
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