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Click\Metronome and Bpm

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Dyoung

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« on: February 10, 2019, 10:51:33 AM »
This topic relates to Songwriting,Performing and Recording.

I find the most difficult skill to achieve as a performer is to sing and play at the same time.
Keep in time is not an easy thing to do,especially when your try to be more creative with both strumming pattern and singing.

Also Finding the right Tempo for the tune has a huge impact on it.
click tracks were not commonly used in the studio until the early 90's.

Do you use metronome before you play your song live?
What do you think about the necessity of mastering your song with a metronome?
How do you choose the right Bpm for recording?

It'd be more than nice to hear your thoughts/tips from your own experience.

Boydie

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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 11:02:23 AM »
IMHO metronomes are good for practicing scales, and sometimes practicing songs, to ensure you develop good practicing habits - i.e. Playing everything at the same speed, there is nothing worse than learning how to play a scale or song and then play the easy bits fast and the harder bits slowly

The discipline of playing EVERYTHING at the same speed (i.e. Play everything as slowly as the hardest bit and only then start building up speed) will stand you in good stead for when you perform for real

I say "sometimes practicing songs" as for me the real joy of music comes from the "push and pull" of the tempo and the "pocket" of the groove - e.g. A kick or snare being slightly early or late can make  all the difference

I would therefore say that a metronome or click track can be vital if you are playing in a situation where the timing needs to be spot on - e.g. To sync with a video or triggered samples

They are also useful to identify the bpm of a song whilst you get used to it

However, I would suggest practicing to a basic drum beat (kick, snare, hihats) as this will be much more interesting for you and also start giving you the feel of playing with a drummer

In my 25+ years of playing live I have never used a metronome - it is best to just rehearse the songs at the tempo you feel they should be and then just go with what happens on the night - as I feel it is also important to match the tempo with the crowd. If it is a rocking night, the adrenaline is pumping and everyone is up and dancing you are likely to want to play songs slightly faster
To check out my music please visit:

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Martinswede

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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2019, 12:18:26 PM »
Hi!

The firs 15 years I played guitar I couldn't stand playing with a metronome. I think it mostly related to me not playing in a fixed tempo. Simultaneously playing an instrument and singing is difficult, doing it good might take a hundred hours of practicing.

My advice is to first practice without a metronome and to divide it into two parts. Sing while clapping four beats on every bar. When that goes smooth, try clapping just the first beat of a bar. Secondly play the guitar and tap your foot 4/4, 8/8.

Then you start to analyze your songs. Try to imagine the beat in your head. See if you play every note on the beat, if you play some triplets, see how they interact with the beat.

When I play I usually let myself use any kind of note division within a bar. I just focus at changing chords appropriate to chord changes. And remember a groovy rhythm usually uses tiny off beats, divided triplets, grace notes, dotted notes frequently. No metronome can help you there.

Finding the bpm of a song can sometimes be nearly impossible. I find the best way is to set it together with the vocals. If a song has an eight bar intro an off set of +/- 5 bpm might be impossible to notice. But when you sing you have, in someway, more of a full body experience. It will be easier to notice if it goes too fast or too slow by noticing the way you have to sing.

Keep analyzing,
Martin
I love the smell of Donald Sutherland in the morning

mikek

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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 03:36:27 AM »
Playing and singing at the same time...to a click....is extremely difficult for most humans. As Boydie recommended, play to a drum track with kick and share instead. It's a much more organic experience.

Dyoung

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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2019, 07:45:46 AM »
 @boydie @martinswede Thank you! you both suggested some great tips.

It's easier to play to a drum track but you still have to know how to
keep it tight when you play live without a percussionist.
also when you record the bass part without a drum track.

I guess more practice is a big part of the answer :)

cowparsleyman

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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2019, 01:28:24 PM »
Whato all,  a very interesting thread - I'm clearly fortunate as it never seemed to be an issue for me to play and sing at the same time.  Guess I'm lucky, except..... on a few songs, mostly when I'm playing more complex bass lines, or playing a guitar style that is more tricky (Ragtime).

As @Boydie said practise with a metronome by all means, especially scales, that'll sharpen things up (in the UK, guitar grades (exams) include playing scales, and these must be done at a certain bpm)

With regards to keeping in time, and there are a few scenarios here which might be of interest.

1. As a virtuoso guitarist/Vocalist - It should be natural to follow oneself playing, it's sooo flexible, that one can speed up or slow down when you want (rubato) one uses the gtr as your metronome, by the time your'e playing live you'll have nailed it anyway, I always say that learning a song and getting it ready to perform (or record in a paid studio) are a country mile apart.

2. As part of a band, you won't last long if you're not together, and the many hours practise one does alone or with the band will sort that out, seen a few very short auditions...

3. As a drummer or bass player - You are the band's metronome, some pro drummers have a click track (or are made to use one) in their ear when recording. I find it really, really hard to hit the beat every time, my drum kit has a natty trainer for this and it lets you know by how much each drum hit was off (late & early) and it's sometimes a bit disheartening seeing the results, makes one look like a complete buffoon, but the scale is in milliseconds  8)...

Respect to all drummers that can hold the beat, (I've played with quite a few that can't btw  :)), and done a few gigs as a drummer, one feels the sense of responsibility. Bass is a bit easier, but one gets the recursive issue of the bass following the out of time drummer and the  drummer trying to regain the beat by following the bassist AAAAAARRRRGGGHH.

4. As a lead guitarist - this can be a little tricky live, just warm up well and don't wander off too far from what you know is safe, don't start syncopating 3 against 4 unless you can really do it.

I once knew a blind jazz keys player who had a wicked sense of humour and a keen pair of ears, the rest of the band would do their solos, and when it came to his turn, he would play the main themes from the other band members solos, and repeat their mistakes, very clever, just shows how exposing mistakes are.

Hope this helps

Rich

Dyoung

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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2019, 07:34:05 PM »
@cowparsleyman

Wow! you pretty much covered it all and added more.
Some folks are more gifted than others.

It's even more amazing how one can turn his disability into something unique.
I was lucky to see the progressive band Camel with Pete Jones.
not my favourite band but I was actually stunned by Pete's versatility, alternating between keyboards and singing to a sax solo.

Bob Dylan's tempo has a huge impact on his style especially his early stuff.
When he played with a band, it seemed like they had to keep with him.
I'm not sure if you could find something similar in today's digital auto-tune music.

Ty!

cowparsleyman

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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2019, 07:51:02 PM »
@cowparsleyman

Wow! you pretty much covered it all and added more.
Some folks are more gifted than others.

It's even more amazing how one can turn his disability into something unique.
I was lucky to see the progressive band Camel with Pete Jones.
not my favourite band but I was actually stunned by Pete's versatility, alternating between keyboards and singing to a sax solo.

Bob Dylan's tempo has a huge impact on his style especially his early stuff.
When he played with a band, it seemed like they had to keep with him.
I'm not sure if you could find something similar in today's digital auto-tune music.

Ty!

Yeah there’s a few really talented musicians out there, zappa had a knack in having them in his band.

Ty!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 10:03:09 AM by cowparsleyman »