Where do you keep your time?

Chrysm

Junior Member
I don't think I keep time in any of my limbs, more like in my heart, although from there it flows most predominantly through which ever limb is riding or keeping the most consistent time.
 

thims

Junior Member
Ever notice how many other musicians tap our the pulse with one of their feet when playing, especially seated? Does that "constrain" them? I sure hope so - there are some things musicians definitely want to be constrained from doing, like messing up time.
This is such a profound statement for me because I have always been such a CREATIVE minded drummer and naturally put an emphasis on this aspect of music. It has caused such headaches for me because I do not naturally feel a regulated internal pulse when I play and if I do not pay attention, the time can be throw to the wind!

When I keep time with my left foot I'm worried about loosing a good portion of my creativity because I put all my concentration into feeling and listening to it. However, I notice my playing is so much more succinct and actually starts to click. It's something which is hard to come to terms with, but somebody has to be the clock in an ensemble!!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I keep time with my right hand. Either on the ride or the hihats. Being right handed it seems to be a little more connected to my brain.
As for the foot tapping. I remember in high school concert band being told to be careful because of the risers the band played on the tapping would get quite loud.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
my time switches between my right hand and left foot

but both of those are truly a branch from my core

quarter notes are internalized and I commonly make a weird clicking sound with my mouth by moving the back of my tongue against the roof of my mouth (hard to explain)

I never knew I did it until someone pointed it out to me while I was practicing on a pad...I would fill in all the beats I wasnt playing with this click noise from my closed mouth

now I hear myself do it all the time and I use it to my advantage

its totally subconscious and effortless so its not something Im trying to do

so oddly enough Id say mostly my time is internal and kept with my tongue and it sends branches to my left foot and right hand

:)
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
In a bucket next to my bed. If I'm luck, I remember to take it with me when I gig! I never let guitarists near it though, in case they contaminate it with theirs. Ain't that a scary thought....
 

sbowman128675

Senior Member
Internally, I always got the sub-division goin. And I tap to it with my lerft leg on the hats, kinda like chad smith does. Then I get the main divison like 1/4 note actually on my shoulders. then I rock back and forth to the feel of the song, throwing my body forward when I hit the bass drum on the beats, and rocking back when i hit it off the beats..........I know its crazy.....but I just figure it works........lol
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
This is such a profound statement for me because I have always been such a CREATIVE minded drummer and naturally put an emphasis on this aspect of music. It has caused such headaches for me because I do not naturally feel a regulated internal pulse when I play and if I do not pay attention, the time can be throw to the wind!

When I keep time with my left foot I'm worried about loosing a good portion of my creativity because I put all my concentration into feeling and listening to it. However, I notice my playing is so much more succinct and actually starts to click. It's something which is hard to come to terms with, but somebody has to be the clock in an ensemble!!
Thanks!

Keeping time with the left foot creates discipline and order. That does not stifle creativity, any more than playing without the left foot will lead to chaos. Really, the essence to being a good artist is balancing order with creativity, because one without the other is of little interest to anyone.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
Thanks!

Keeping time with the left foot creates discipline and order. That does not stifle creativity, any more than playing without the left foot will lead to chaos. Really, the essence to being a good artist is balancing order with creativity, because one without the other is of little interest to anyone.
I agree and often keep time on my left foot

but if you strictly designate your left foot as a time keeper and nothing else I believe you are stifling one of your four voices of expression
 

thims

Junior Member
Time takes discipline.
Yea discipline is the key that opens the door to real creativity.
You are so right. What is true is you can not rely only on how things "feel."
The condition of Groove Time is so relevant to what we do, it's necessary to build
the foundation solidly and everything else will flow from there. It takes discipline!
 

Class A Drummer

Pioneer Member
I think it depends the groove. Take swing jazz for example, some people argue that the time is kept with the hi hats on the 2 and 4, while others say its kept with the ride cymbal (i say both).
But some music doesn't have a constant the whole time. It all depends on what the song calls for. If the song calls for something complex that consistently changes, the time is not kept with any specific drum, cymbal, or limb, but moreover it is kept in the mind, or all the limbs combined however you wanna look at it.
Theres no reason for someone to always keep their time with simply one thing, i feel like that limits the drummer thus the music.
 

thims

Junior Member
I'm all for this thread being front and foremost in our collective drummer psyche! After all TIME is the most important aspect of our existence. The question of "where you keep it, " even if you do not have to conscientiously, is one of the most important questions that could ever be asked and answered in our realm!

Here is a video I find so enlightening it strikes the core of this discussion and gives this thread a perspective from a non drummer, phenomenal player. Notice the left foot!?

I have to reexamine what I think makes good music GROOVE now!
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Thanks!

Keeping time with the left foot creates discipline and order. That does not stifle creativity, any more than playing without the left foot will lead to chaos. Really, the essence to being a good artist is balancing order with creativity, because one without the other is of little interest to anyone.
I agree, I think it's important and great crutch to lean on, especially with more syncopated hand patterns. It's good for the rest of the band too if you're dancing around the beat.
However, I also agree with GV and my time-keeping often shifts between right hand and left foot as I play alot of syncopated double kick patterns and sometimes syncopated cowbell patterns with my left foot.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Great thread - One that deserves to be kept alive!

I like the left foot time keeping idea and I use that one a lot. I'm usually bouncing my left leg though not always operating the pedal, but often I find myself playing complimentary "bass drum parts" with the hat pedal goofing off with some interplay with the actual bass drum, so it's not just a banging out quarters or the & of every beat. When that's happening, I go to my riding hand for anchor duty, but as a righty, I sometimes find it hard to keep it restrained enough for this task as it will often rush a bit. As soon as I get the sense that's happening, I've learned to go to an open-handed approach since my left hand is far less likely to go off on its own tangents and simply has a natural consistency to it that my right doesn't seem to have (or want!). Putting the dominant hand on back beat duty comes with its own advantages that left hand could do well to learn from.

The common thread in all of this is that my left (non-dominant) side can handle expressing the pulse better than my right half. I'm not sure what that's all about - probably just another set of bad habits and bad discipline cemented in by decades of neglect.

Bottom line is that I agree with the camp that says that to dedicate any one limb to that anchor role severely limits options for that one limb. Internalizing the pulse and learning to give it more than one limb for expression seems like the most versatile approach.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I agree and often keep time on my left foot

but if you strictly designate your left foot as a time keeper and nothing else I believe you are stifling one of your four voices of expression
Maybe we need to consider what is "keeping time." Certainly, a quarter-note pulse is an easy, reliable, conspicuous way to keep time. But is it the only way? What's an example of keeping time in a way that is not obvious? What is an essence of time keeping? I think recognizing the pulse is crucial to time keeping. You can play on it or between it or around it in various ways and with different limbs, but the net result is that the pulse is clearly defined.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Maybe we need to consider what is "keeping time." Certainly, a quarter-note pulse is an easy, reliable, conspicuous way to keep time. But is it the only way? What's an example of keeping time in a way that is not obvious? What is an essence of time keeping? I think recognizing the pulse is crucial to time keeping. You can play on it or between it or around it in various ways and with different limbs, but the net result is that the pulse is clearly defined.
I am also a member of the left foot timekeeper clan, very much so. Learned about it's importance while studying jazz but has since become the cornerstone of pulse for anything I play.
I even do this thing where I play 8th note patterns on the hi hat but still play quarter note foot 'chicks' in between ....without playing the open hat sound. You kinda push and pull each limb ...for example, hats early and right hand late. Sorry if that is old news , but I haven't seen anybody else mention it...


Neal
 

SticksEasy

Senior Member
I carry mine in my back pocket...


All joking aside... I'm a right hand guy. I learned to play hearing that your right hand on the hi-hat and ride was the proper time keeping method. Of course I've developed a bit of open handed ability and will play with my left hand on my hats, and my China (which I put to the left of my main crash).
 
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