A place for teachers to discuss issues to do with teaching
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By michi
#6924
bops wrote:I would also recommend keeping your jembe next to your bed when you sleep.
"Next to to your bed"? I would have though "In your bed"! :)

Cheers,

Michi.
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By Nodrog
#7292
Hi there,

Because I am relatively new to the world of djembe, I feel I have to point out in most of my posts that I have been a musician now for around 40 years and so anything I say, although not relating directly to the djembe world, does at least have some experience and background behind it.

Ok, with that said, around 18 years ago, I had a 4 year spell of songwriting and recording. The drum and percussion sounds were all done from scratch on a Roland U20 keyboard which had excellent sampled sounds for it's time. I would assign different drum and percussion sounds to different keys and I became quite adept at producing whole rhythm sections. Sometimes complicated, sometimes simple. This relates to this thread's subject because this keyboard, like most drum machines had a quantise programme built in where it would 'round up' the notes played to the nearest fraction of a beat. This ranged from 1/4 notes through to 1/64 notes. This soon makes you realize the subtleties in timing involved in what at first might sound a fairly simple beat. Bearing in mind that I never used a pre-recorded beat, I always played everything from scratch, I used to experiment by quantising first on 1/8 setting. Usually, this would wreck everything and just sound like a robot. Using the 1/16 worked on some of the rhythms but I found, (especially on the reggae stuff), that I would have to use the 1/32 or even up to 1/64 for it to keep most of the original 'feel'. As mentioned earlier, this is something that has to come from within and cannot be done by vision or by playing together as this would cover up a lot of the subtleties.
Course, I never used the quantise function on the finished thing but only for experimenting with. I wanted my drum tracks to sound like a real drummer was playing, limitations included.

Just thought that the use a simple drum machine and it's quantise function might be a useful tool to demonstrate to students the subtle timings involved in achieving the correct 'feel' in certain pieces.

( Or would a drum machine be strictly banned from a djembe class ). :o

Gordon.
User avatar
By michi
#7294
Just thought that the use a simple drum machine and it's quantise function might be a useful tool to demonstrate to students the subtle timings involved in achieving the correct 'feel' in certain pieces.
I really like that idea. Unfortunately, I don't have a drum machine :( But, as a demonstration, I think that certainly would be useful.

Percussion Studio has something similar: a "humanization" function. It basically adds random advance/delay times to the notes. The degree of randomization can be adjusted with a slider. On it's maximum setting, it sounds like a very drunk person trying to play something. With it completely turned off, the software plays the rhythm with absolute precision, and it sounds boring and robotic. With a setting somewhere in between, with small random deviations from the exact placement of each note, it sounds better--more listenable and less mechanical, and closer to what a human being sounds like.

Feel can be an incredibly subtle thing. Our ears can easily distinguish time differences in the millisecond range, so placing a note differently by, say, as little as three or four milliseconds is sufficient to create a different feel.

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By Dugafola
#7308
bubudi wrote:drum machines have no soul!

QFT...
User avatar
By Nodrog
#7325
Hi,
We all know that a drum machine has no soul and that would be the whole point, of using it as a demonstration tool. To show how the very fine increments in timing can make a huge difference to the overall 'feel' of the pattern.

Gordon.
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By bops
#7355
The humanize function of Percussion Studio (not that I've ever worked with it), is totally useless if it randomizes placement of notes. "Feeling" isn't random or inaccurate. It's an intentional and regular shifting of the timing of certain notes. Not ALL of the notes get shifted; if you shifted all of the notes, you'd just be totally off. Typically, the notes that fall on the quarter note pulse remain aligned on the beat to keep the reference.

Looking at feeling or micro-timing with a software program can be fun and interesting for us drumming geeks, but it's definitely not a way to learn how to play with feeling.

As a side note, ACID Pro has a tool that allows users to fully customize quantization to any type of groove. It's pretty cool.
User avatar
By michi
#7356
bops wrote:The humanize function of Percussion Studio (not that I've ever worked with it), is totally useless if it randomizes placement of notes.
I don't know what the exact algorithm is. The documentation says:
PercussionStudio wrote: To change the humanization, click and hold down on the humanize-slider. This slider controls random generated off-time notes.
bops wrote:"Feeling" isn't random or inaccurate. It's an intentional and regular shifting of the timing of certain notes. Not ALL of the notes get shifted; if you shifted all of the notes, you'd just be totally off.
Right. And I wasn't trying to imply that PercussionStudio's humanization is the same as feeling--it isn't (and one of my criticisms of PercussionStudio is that it's next to impossible to capture feel).

But it's still interesting that its humanization function works, in the sense that, with humanization, things sound more natural than without.
Looking at feeling or micro-timing with a software program can be fun and interesting for us drumming geeks, but it's definitely not a way to learn how to play with feeling.
I can see it useful for demonstration purposes, especially for those left-brain students. But then, a good teacher will be able to demonstrate various kinds of feel on his/her drum and explain which notes are advanced/retarded for each version, which makes the drum machine kind of redundant :-)

Cheers,

Michi.
User avatar
By Nodrog
#7357
Hi there,

I was never suggesting using the drum machine as a way to teach 'feel' to students. Like the word says, that has to be felt naturally as part of the learning process.

However, the whole pre programmed fixed quality and it's ability to play different fractions of a beat could be used to demonstrate how fractions off a beat either in front or behind can have a subtle result on the overall 'feel' of a particular phrase.

Some folks are lucky and have a natural ability to do this without breaking it down into maths.It just happens. Other folks might struggle more and seeing it demonstrated by a machine might make it easier to understand.

Just a thought anyway.

Gordon.
User avatar
By korman
#37226
Just reading through old threads here
Dennis103 wrote:I've recently adopted the concept of "resolution" (think screen resolution, pixels per inch etc.) to explain timing.
It takes time and practice, sometimes years, to increase this resolution to the point where you can hear if someone is playing off the beat altogether, or exactly on the off-beat of varying complexity and speed.
I can definitely attest to existence of this resolution phenomenon, and that it can be improved! Here's my story.

Without any previous music education, I started to learn hand drumming 12 years ago and for first 3 years learned the basic technique and played accompaniments and ensemble breaks. Though I did not pick up new patterns immediately, once I learned a pattern I was quite solid and could easily find my way back if I fell out of the groove (usually due to getting distracted by some off-beat soloing). So I thought my timing was good.

Man, I was wrong! After a year or so more, I got invited to join a "world percussion" band that played djembe, congas etc. and had their set compositions. Initially I really struggled, as my bandmates would say to me "you're slowing down", "your slap is too early" etc. very often. Only during this time I really learned to play consistently by the metronome and to mentally count beats and bars (two of the band members, including the leader had strong drumset background). So my "resolution" improved, but since we were practicing rhythms from notations (MK's book etc.) I still knew nothing about the "feel". I clearly remember being in 2008 Suffolk drum camp where Hans Sutton was talking about swing, and I could not hear the difference in his demonstrations.

Then, sometime about two years ago or so I had a revealation - I suddenly heard that Famoudou plays the call tripiti ti-ti ti-ti ti differently than we do. We don't have African teachers here and I can't afford to travel to workshops frequently, so I attribute this increase in my awareness of the feel to two things: listening to djembe music recordings (and videos) a lot, and reading Rainer Polak's article about microtiming (for me seeing the swing visualised helped a lot). Last year I went to England again, to the Generations drum workshop, and Hans was again giving a seminar about the swing. This time I could clap the SML feel! However, I'm not saying I can always play, let alone solo, with an authentic feel, there's still so much work to be done..
User avatar
By boromir76
#37274
Here is video with simple and graphic explanation of shiting time feel inside music by renowned drummer Benny Greb. I would show this to anyone who strugles with this concept. It isn't played on djembe or inside w- african music, but shows that this idea or aproach in music can be universal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96MLysdRKsQ
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By korman
#37275
Yeah, but he shows straight/triplet/dotted, but the swing we're looking for is inbetween those
Someone should do a video like that, but with the african swing.

By the way Benny's video about late / rushed timing is very nice!