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Author Topic: Foot tapping  (Read 1702 times)

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Chris Brimley

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2018, 12:06:05 PM »

The way you give yourself a rhythm largely depends on what's the best way for you and the band, IMO.  If you are learning a piece of music using dots or abc, and you want to try out your rhythm, I found it's very useful to put into some sort of score software such as MuseScore, and then turn on the metronome function as it plays it back for you to practice along with.  Listen closely to where you are drifting from the beat, and try to work out why.  There's very good reasons why musicians tap their feet, and it's to do with giving the fingers a framework to play to.  You may find the exercise surprising - you think you're playing something perfectly, but the bloomin' metronome says otherwise! We tend to learn a lot of things subconsciously when we're rehearsing, and one of the things is the tempo of a passage.  So perhaps we don't always get that right.  I know a few musicians who are incredibly good at tempo, and I think they have one thing in common - they get into the rhythm 'groove' and listen out for it all the time, making it the centre of their performance.  You often notice drummers and rhythm guitarists who have developed slight, almost internal, body movements, and they are great to watch - the performance that results is often brilliant, and when performers get in that groove, the audience inevitably relax, smile, and tap their feet.  In a group it is necessary for someone to determine tempo on a long-term basis, and also variations in tempo, as part of the piece of music.  However within that framework, the individual musicians need to develop their 'grooves', and somehow relax into them, so even if someone is determining the overall tempo, it's still worthwhile tapping your foot in time with them, to translate their rhythm into your fingers.
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #41 on: June 11, 2018, 03:40:35 PM »

as Chris has said it not just foot tapping but also other body movements  sort of 'connect'  the musician to the rhythm of a tune.  eg genrly swaying slightly form side to side  while playing a waltz,or perhaps shoulder movement to go with a march etc etc.

Another sign that you have got the rhythm right is  if those not dancing hare tapping their feet and this an apply to  those sitting out  at a ceilidh, those stood watching a morris side or indeed a seated audience.

However whilst the absolute precision of  playing to a metronome can be a useful aid to those  having difficulty holding a rhythm  in the real world  particularly of  dance music  it can be advantageos to make slight aadjustments by watching the dancers

george
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Tufty

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #42 on: June 11, 2018, 04:05:34 PM »

When I am playing for a dance team I try to spare a few moments to watch the audience, it is good to see them foot tapping. (Always surprised to watch other dance musicians with their nose buried in sheet music instead of watching the dancers  >:E).
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #43 on: June 11, 2018, 06:01:43 PM »

Quote from: Tufty link=topic= . (Always surprised to watch other dance musicians with their nose buried in sheet music instead of watching the dancers  >:E).
[/quote


ear ear !

george
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ProperTing

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #44 on: June 11, 2018, 06:35:36 PM »

The answer is to practice the hard bits very slowly, and I mean very, very slowly.  Then play the whole thing at a speed where you can play the hard bits with confidence and without speeding up. You might also find it helpful to use the "stop motion" technique to begin with where you stop briefly after each note and only play the next note when you know which finger, on which button and which bellows direction.  That will allow your brain time to learn the fingering, and with time and practice you will be able to play the sequence of notes with confidence and with good timing.

100%. The trick is a metronome and playing as slow as you possibly can while still "feeling" the melody. Gradually increase the tempo when you are able to play it flawlessly. This technique will allow you to improve much quicker and decrease your playing from muscle memory. Oddly enough, it's the very same technique used by many heavy metal guitarists.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 06:37:11 PM by ProperTing »
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2018, 10:30:51 AM »

I must admit that I don't usually tap my foot whilst playing, much as I don't "dance" at discos!  Worse yet, I have been known after a few sherbets to indulge in a wild session of both feet going whilst seated - one step short of Quebec style (and often whilst playing a 4-stop).  I am aware that when I was leader of the morris band, this was a shortcoming from the perspective of the other players as they couldn't synchronise with any body movements.  I overcame this by playing a BLOODY LOUD box.

However internally I am actually dancing, the muscles flexing rhythmically in sync with the actual dancers.  I'm guessing that many do not.  Since my job makes me a rare visitor to the morris outings  I have obviously been replaced as band leader and the new incumbent does an excellent job of running the show - putting up with all the carp from other members and smiling sweetly when the dancers stare expectantly, having not said what dance they are hoping to do...

I obviously don't feel that all players need to tap a foot or sway, etc for their own benefit.  If you've got rhythm you've got rhythm. But from the new perspective of playing "second fiddle" I particularly notice that many players tend to skip over rests.  Now that shortens the length of the bar and the dancers have to hustle to catch up, so the musos think they've got to match that and the familiar cycle begins with the music and the dancers alternately speeding up a notch.  This is where I see the most benefit of foot tapping, etc. maintaining strict tempo just like a metronome.  Funny how so many players can't relax and enjoy a moment's silence!

Rob.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 06:05:03 PM by Rob2Hook »
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2018, 10:57:06 AM »

[ do...

 .  Funny how so many players can't relax and enjoy a moment's silence!

Rob.
[/quote]

that's because they don't understand that phrasing is absolutely part of good musicianship.  In other words they play without the musical equvelent of punctuation  .

To me the way the gaps between notes are played is every bit as important as the way the notes are played

george
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2018, 11:15:04 AM »

I particularly notice that many players tend to skip over rests.  Now that shortens the length of the bar and the dancers have to hustle to catch up, so the musos think they've got to match that and the familiar cycle begins with the music and the dancers alternately speeding up a notch.  This is where I see the most benefit of foot tapping, etc. maintaining strict tempo just like a metronome.  Funny how so many players can't relax and enjoy a moment's silence!
Rob.
Quote
that's because they don't understand that phrasing is absolutely part of good musicianship.  In other words they play without the musical equvelent of punctuation  .

To me the way the gaps between notes are played is every bit as important as the way the notes are played

You two put this very clearly. It describes a familiar situation. It's a bit odd because they are, mostly, more experienced than me, used to playing for dance,  but not used to playing for morris.

How do you convey this to musicians with fragile egos, who haven't quite grasped this?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 11:20:40 AM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #48 on: June 12, 2018, 11:24:06 AM »

Don't think it's necessarily an ego thing, I think it's confidence. Musos tend to speed up, and close gaps, if they are nervous.

Both in dancing and playing, "doing nothing" and waiting for the opportune moment needs a fair amount of confidence.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #49 on: June 12, 2018, 11:59:27 AM »

Fragile ego=low self confidence=easily put off=not as thick skinned as I am, these days.

I have three new musicians. To my ear, we are starting to gell as a band but chopping the "turn arounds" short is an issue. I'm playing the lead in note and they're into the next bar. And it is punctuation. Good description.

I really don't want to put them off, but tactfulness tends to be more in my intention than my actions. In terms of strict adherence to a metronome they may well be right but I am going to have them playing my way without upsetting anyone. Just not quite sure how...

Current action I'm taking is actually almost on topic: I stamp my foot in time with what I what them to realise is The Beat (not their beat).

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Greg Smith
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Theo

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #50 on: June 12, 2018, 12:27:13 PM »

Quite a good way of doing it is to make no mention of what you are hearing as a fault,  just say something like:   "I have an idea to improve this bit.  Can we all try to play it like this."   And then demonstrate what you want, possibly exaggerating the point, and then just go over the problem section quite a few times, and then ask the others what they think.   Using that sort of wording should mean that everyone feels they are contributing to a positive development of the way you all play. 
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #51 on: June 12, 2018, 02:02:56 PM »

I like that. Something new, not something wrong.
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Greg Smith
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Theo

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #52 on: June 12, 2018, 02:41:22 PM »

I like that. Something new, not something wrong.

Exactly.  Something I learned from a very good band leader and folk educator.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #53 on: June 12, 2018, 04:02:32 PM »

Being a band leader of a (reasonably?) large morris band is quite hard, I've found; socially, logistically and acoustically. We see usually from 10 people (almost always fine) to like 15 showing up (sometimes has problems). It's a little bit of a 'straw that breaks the camel's back' sort of situation:

The less consistently present musicians tend to be the least practiced. Having more players means a bigger pile of kit we have to have somewhere. And, having so many people means it's easier for them to be far enough away from eg the big drum or the musical Leaders that they're able to form their own little island of being out of sync with the rest of the band, but perhaps in sync with one another, and maybe start pulling other people in with them (including the dancers, I think we've had a 14 strong cuckoo's nest at least once!)

Sometimes we've had sync problems I haven't even been able to hear due to band spread, and lord help us if we can't stack up in at least 2 deep. One thing I try to keep on top of is watching our Tempo (I have my phone suction cupped to the top of my box with a tempo monitor app running) and I think that's been paying dividends, since we have a variety of skill level in dancers, too, and it helps me massage our speed as needed.

Veering rapidly back on topic: I was thinking to post about 'perhaps try using a tempo monitor app on your phone or whatever' in this thread, by the way. I find them a very helpful tool in identifying if my rhythm is going wrong or if I'm changing speed without realising while playing a tune. I do though tend to move with the tune I'm playing, and it's that physical momentum that helps me get back/keep in time with where a listener would thinks the tune should be, rather than where my brain thinks it should be after it has a momentary short circuit while playing. Sometimes I've made a recording that I think I got right or feel like 'yeah, saved that one!' when I almost missed a note, and discover that it's super obvious when listening back to it. So, Body movement, I find, helps with that aspect, while an app gives me a better idea of how my playing is going in a grander scheme.
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #54 on: June 12, 2018, 06:32:59 PM »

Ah yes, the long line of musos with built in transmission delays...  There are some bands (particularly Border) who successfully overcome the problem by all stepping as they play - think Witchmen.  Even that doesn't always work for beginners.  I know of one dancer who I used as my visual metronome before he retired to the band.  Somehow he can't make his fingers dance like his feet did and he's so caught up with playing the right notes that he's sometimes half a beat out.  Strange isn't it that every morris side has a weekly practice but no-one accepts that the band should be allowed to use it to practice.  The foreman would ask me to shut up if I dared to speak to the band about their playing during their practice.

Before my term of office, the leader did indeed tap his foot.  He dipped so much it was almost genuflecting ( never asked if he were Catholic).  We might have disagreed about his chosen speed, but once we started it was strict tempo, including rests.

We have had separate band practices, but these get weighed down with beginners wanting note-by-note, push/pull teaching of the tunes they are struggling with and seem to end with a consensus that we should drop the "difficult" ones.  More enjoyable are the "sessions" in the local where we ensure we run through all the morris tunes but it's not a teaching environment and would require a saintly disposition to point out possible improvements.  "Don't talk to me about a bum note, Joshua"

 What I'm saying is that there is possibly greater benefit in foot tapping in a group unless it comes naturally.

Rob.
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #55 on: June 12, 2018, 07:00:56 PM »

Worse yet, I have been known after a few sherbets to indulge in a wild session of both feet going whilst seated

Rob, talk about being separated by a common language! First I thought you meant a few ice cream-like desserts, then I remembered "Oh wait, in Britain sherbet is that fizzy sugar powder." But that still seemed weird to me! And only today while looking up something completely unrelated on Wikipedia I found myself reading that sherbet is UK slang for a beer (usage dating back to 1890!) and now it all makes much more sense. ;D
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 09:36:50 PM by Jesse Smith »
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #56 on: June 12, 2018, 07:02:48 PM »

Duplicate posting removed.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 09:36:28 PM by Jesse Smith »
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #57 on: June 12, 2018, 07:47:02 PM »

me thinks that Jesse may have been at the sherbet, otherwise known as 'fall over juice' posting the same thing twice!

In my morris days  I felt the dancers and musicians performed   somewhat better  when we   played  at country pubs  particularly  if provided with an adequate supply  of aforementioned  liquid refreshment   on the house!

happy days!

george
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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #58 on: June 12, 2018, 07:51:10 PM »

factionalists, prima donnas, randomised foot-tappers and the other kinds of band members that create headaches sometimes respond positively when a recording of a performance they've contributed to is played back to them.  If they become embarrassed by what they hear, there's probably hope for them.  If they can't understand why the matter's been raised, they've no hope at all.   
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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #59 on: June 12, 2018, 08:17:34 PM »

Note to self: Never play in a band, might be shown my recordings  :P
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