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JeffN
04-02-2004, 06:09 PM
Jazz Rhythm is something I'v been struggling with some time. I get the concept of swinging eighth notes, but much is still covered in fog.

For one thing, does the term 'swinging eighth notes' only apply to eighth notes? What about quarter notes? Half notes?

Bongo Boy
04-02-2004, 09:17 PM
Here's a cool article about getting swing. Eighth-note lines are the topic. I've not seen any context other than this, but I don't suppose that means quarters are always played straight. I really don't think there's too much to understand, except what feels good and what's too much--oh, plus how the development of jazz relates to it.

http://www.selmer.com/brassnotes/swing.html

Doug McMullen
04-03-2004, 12:00 AM
Hey Bongo,

That's as good an article on swing as I've ever seen, but that doesn't mean I think that article is good.

IMHO swing is very simple: listen to lots of good jazz, copy what you hear and rather quickly it becomes second nature and you never need to think about it again.

It's analogous to riding a bicycle. No kid, nor any adult, _ever_ learned to ride a bike by studying manuals on the workings of the inner ear and claculating the vector momentum of a gyroscoping wheel

Ya get on the bike, ya ride with training wheels (that is, you copy the rhythms of master players) then you take the training wheels off and ride/improvise.

The problem with articles about "how to swing" is they make you think about swing. Don't think about it is my advice... just practice really hard copying the music of masters and listening closely to their music, and eventually you swing, but don't think about it, or okay, think a little, but don't worry about it.

You eventually find your swing.

As for quarter notes swinging... well, no, they don't technically swing. Swing is the uneven division of a beat. The beat (the quarter note) pulses regularly 1 2 3 4... but the 1/2 division of the beat goes from the classical (and latin):

1 + 2 + 3 + 4

to the jazz swing

1 + 2 + 3 + 4


But in a whole nother sense yes, quarter notes and everything else _swing_.
Swing is more than just an uneven division of the pulse, it's also a propulsiveness, from the phrasing of the lines to the groove the drummer lays down to the way the whole ensemble works together.

Listen to the Benny Goodman Band with Charlie Christian... I can think of no better example of pure swing than that... Charlie Christian _is_ swing IMO.

The uneven division of the beat is the fundamental part of swing... the rest of it, that thing magic thing Charlie Christian, and Charlie Parker, and Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald had (I'm trying to pick out some of the A1 bonebad geniuses of jazz melody phrasing... all good jazzers swing) is another story... it's in the whole musical package of what they do.

Doug.

JeffN
04-03-2004, 01:52 AM
Hmm...okay...swing is a feel then.

Thanks for the article+post, guys.

I've heard that setting the metronome on beats 2 and 4 will help you develope a swing feel. It's said that jazz drummers will often play the hi hat in the same way. I've tried this and this confused me more than anything. When playing 4 quater notes in this fashion, should the second and fourth notes be slightly behind the beat then?

szulc
04-03-2004, 02:13 AM
It is very difficult to create a mathematical formula to define what swing is.
Basically the first rudimentary method is to make a dotted 1/8 and a 16th note sound like triplets with the middle note missng, but this is only part of the story.
In general you need to LISTEN to music that swings in order to get the feel of swing.
Some stride piano swings, some boogie-woogie swings, some rock and blues swings.
Listen to good swinging music and let it take you over, later try to capture that same rhythmic feel when you improvise or play rhythm.

Bongo Boy
04-03-2004, 05:23 AM
Folks refer to getting 'in the groove' and all I can say is that is has occassionally happened to me when playing congas. I've chosen a particular conga pattern and attempted to play it to a steady tempo, non-stop. After a warmup, and sometimes only after 10 minutes of continuous playing, suddenly the rhythm stops sounding 'mechanical' and sounds in time, but free-flowing. Unhurried, natural, easy, smooth and musical. This is something you can hear and feel, even if you can't identify anything you've done to make it happen. For a beginner like me, it can (and always does) dissappear as mysteriously as it appeared--sometimes never to come back for days or weeks. But there is NO mistaking its fleeting appearance.

Now, this isn't necessarily 'swing', but it IS groove. All I can say is that once you've experienced yourself doing it, it conveys two huge messages to you: 1) you have it in you somewhere and you will do it again, and 2) it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that...

Rented
04-04-2004, 01:27 PM
I guess that explains why I always give up trying to write my "swingy" tunes or phrases in powertab/cubase/whathaveyou. I can never get it right "on paper" but have no problem whatsoever on the guitar.

At long last, something I'm good at! :)
________
Wong Amat condos (http://pattayaluxurycondos.com)

leegordo
05-30-2008, 03:07 PM
It is very difficult to create a mathematical formula to define what swing is.
Basically the first rudimentary method is to make a dotted 1/8 and a 16th note sound like triplets with the middle note missng, but this is only part of the story.
In general you need to LISTEN to music that swings in order to get the feel of swing.
Some stride piano swings, some boogie-woogie swings, some rock and blues swings.
Listen to good swinging music and let it take you over, later try to capture that same rhythmic feel when you improvise or play rhythm.
here it is from old farty again szulc, when writing jazz choruses out for my mates in our wee quartets, I always used 12/8 timing i,e, a 3 quaver triplet in the space of every crotchet with the swinging caused by emphasising the first 2 quavers as the start of the beat followed by the the single 1/8th beat like DA-di DA-di Da-di DA-di and on !Hope this helps.
leegordo

JonR
05-30-2008, 06:44 PM
here it is from old farty again szulc, when writing jazz choruses out for my mates in our wee quartets, I always used 12/8 timing i,e, a 3 quaver triplet in the space of every crotchet with the swinging caused by emphasising the first 2 quavers as the start of the beat followed by the the single 1/8th beat like DA-di DA-di Da-di DA-di and on !Hope this helps.
leegordolee, this thread is FOUR YEARS OLD!

Have you nothing better to do??

JazzMick
05-31-2008, 02:51 AM
lmao