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Author Topic: Foot tapping  (Read 4902 times)

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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #60 on: June 12, 2018, 08:47:47 PM »

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

I'm reckon you're self critical enough to make your self a great band player.

There's a lot of good sense being posted here.

My next comment may sound off topic. but is really quite relevant. On Saturday we did a big show (Royal Cornwall). Lots of punters, lots of noise. The band went electric together for the first time. Turns out that they could hear my melodeon playing clearly for the first time (:) Went like a dream. I did plenty of dad dancing (aka "stepping as I play") but I did it because I like to, not because I had to. Considering doing this for every gig...and practice.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 10:23:31 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Greg Smith
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2018, 09:33:28 PM »

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

Ha! I was trying to edit my post and it looks like I hit Quote instead. :|bl
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vof

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #62 on: June 12, 2018, 11:08:16 PM »

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!
george
...which cross-links neatly to another current thread: Jimbo's wonderful example of May Reel in the June tune of the Month!  :|glug
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIpZYznP1CY
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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #63 on: June 13, 2018, 10:19:03 AM »

Try the Heel-toe technique ? there's many ways to tap :D if tapping is messing you up do so standing up and bend your knees instead of tapping or move your hip hells bang your head if that will help <-- doesn't help me :D I wish one day i can headbang to the jingle :D

at least you are not suggesting  doing anything with ones private parts!

g
that's what it all boils down to :D
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Stotty

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #64 on: June 22, 2018, 11:27:33 PM »


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.


A great tip - thanks very much.
We have tried the app on a phone visible to 2 or 3 players while playing at team practices and found it a great help in keeping the speed constant. It is so much better than a metronome because you don't have to concentrate on watching or listening, and trying to synchronise to the metronome beat.  I guess a metronome may be better for players who find it harder to tap their feet.
 Any recommendations on the sucker/holder to stick on melodeons please?
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #65 on: June 23, 2018, 01:18:34 AM »

Well, I tripped over this one from Primark: https://m.primark.com/en/product/black-suction-pad-car-cradle,D35397119160776 - it was near their tills, along with a much much longer goose neck one that a friend of mine now uses to clips to a wheeled trolly thing to hold... something I don't think he puts his phone in it.

Anyway, very similar mounts are available on amazon/ebay. However, I can't in good conscience really recommend the one I got, or possibly any at all:

  • I had to shape the rubber foot somewhat to secure it to the top of my instrument, as the bellows clasp's mount and clip down point were a little in the way.
  • The car mount has a plastic body, with an adjustable ball joint onto the pincer section that holds your phone. This broke off in my hand when I was showing the adjustability to someone.
  • Since it is a suction cup, it can come off/not attach properly - while it has been really pretty solid for many hours, it has detached of its own accord on 2 occasions.

So, some of those problems could easily have seen my phone dropped onto a hard road surface from at least 4ft up, which would be really, really bad. Additionally it prevents you from using the top clasp to get your bellows strap thing out of the way - the goose neck one above has a metal ball joint instead so it's a bit stronger, but realistically these are designed for going into a car, so, maybe your phone falls down 3 inches and slides down your dash board into your lap.

Some other phone mount solutions use magnets to hold the phone, which could work well, but I worried it might rotate around while I played. Many of them expect you to hold the phone in a portrait orientation. Almost none of them are sold based on the size of their 'suction cup', which will likely only secure onto a polished smooth surface. However, I have had probably a dozen people pick me out at festivals, entirely because I have my phone stuck to my melodeon, and ask me quite a few questions about it - almost all of them have asked about using it to show sheet music/tabs etc. A good solution that doesn't see people's multi-hundred-pound electronic devices being at risk of being destroyed would be well received I think, but right now I'm not sure what that is and surely it will vary box to box. I should probably make a thread about my experiences with it.
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #66 on: June 23, 2018, 09:53:19 AM »

I can't see the point of using electronic gadgets  to keep to a tempo instead of foot tapping.  The advantage of foot tapping  is that it enables musicians to ssynghronise with the feet of the dancers (whatever veriety thereof)  and rather than playing a bland metronomic beat make , often very small, adjustments  but to do so in absolute unison of dancers and musicians.

a good example of a foot tapping bandl  (see youtube) is the dartmoor pixies with jason rice, ed rennie et al all foot tapping in synch. Also youtubes of many good Scottish dance bands  all foot tapping

There must be sosme value in it  and I for one am  a firm believer in its benefits to both musicians and dancers

just a thought but perhaps some of those who find it difficult need to relax  /enjoy and become one with their  music rather than concentrating on getting every note spot on.  In many ways its the overall effect that matters >:E ;)

george ( who hasn't worn his foot out in 60 years a tapping!)
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Pete Dunk

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #67 on: June 23, 2018, 10:38:04 AM »

I can't see the point of using electronic gadgets  to keep to a tempo instead of foot tapping.

You would if you went into a recording studio George.  ;D I was weaned out of the habit by a BBC sound engineer many years ago. When seated I extend my leg a little and with my heel on the floor my foot paddles away silently, it's the rhythmic action that keeps the tempo not the annoying tap, tap, tap. Harder to do when standing as you have to keep shifting your weight from one leg to t'other and not everyone can keep time with either foot it would seem.
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #68 on: June 23, 2018, 10:50:22 AM »

fair point!.  the foot tapping I refer to is not so much tapping in the literal noise making sense but more like moving the foot up and down  rhythmically , perhaps with a very light 'tap' on the floor rather than a loud rhythmic bang.  For those who prefer absolute silence the simple 'cure' is to put a small cushion or bit of foam rubber under the offending foot. In other words its the rhythmic movement in unison that helps.

george
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Daniel McPhee

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #69 on: June 23, 2018, 02:20:45 PM »

It’s not a thing I like to do , although I did for years.
Quite a hard habit to break , I think every musician has their mannerisms  :|||:
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #70 on: June 23, 2018, 04:51:57 PM »

I can't see the point of using electronic gadgets  to keep to a tempo instead of foot tapping.  The advantage of foot tapping  is that it enables musicians to ssynghronise with the feet of the dancers (whatever veriety thereof)  and rather than playing a bland metronomic beat make , often very small, adjustments  but to do so in absolute unison of dancers and musicians.

In this case, it's less about telling you when to play, but showing you information about how you played. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of it all, it's harder to make correct judgments about how things are going - when everyone is more experienced, I imagine it is easier to be sure and say 'yes that went well', but, I've only been doing this for a short amount of time, and we've been very fortunate to get new dancers and musicians each year, so everyone has varying ability and all of that feeds into itself into a bit of, let's say, fluffyness.

We only have so much time to practice, so, for me, it's a tool that can be more objective than I am in those moments - it was paying attention and has perfect recollection of the last 3+ minutes and can let me see if eg we've been getting faster in the B music each time, or of our speed is creeping up as time goes on - even if everyone is in sync the whole time (something it wouldn't know). It's not telling me 'oh you played that last note too fast!' or telling me if we played a rest too short, so, it's not a true substitute for foot tapping or swaying, but it is something I've found useful for giving a different perspective every so often. I glance at it every so often, and it helps me make decisions confidently, to the benefit of the overall performance.

Realistically, I can see that it is probably a bit of a crutch for me, though. When the mount broke in my hand, we were at a nice warm Chippenham festival going into our last 2 spots after the procession; I was a bit out of sorts without the bpm monitor, and not 100% confident with the speed: I would, obviously, like to be able to not feel like I needed the reassurance. But, also consider that people with a sprained ankle move a lot faster with a crutch than without one. I've already been in situations where it was just me playing, so me being able to confidently and consistently perform can make a big difference. I think it's something that's helped me accomplish things sooner + better than I might have otherwise, and I thought it might be something that could help people, hence the suggestion in the thread.

So, in summary: doesn't replace foot tapping, and physically involving yourself in some way + watching + listening to other people are all pretty important to playing in band, which is basically the best thing. If, though, you think you're having problems with tempo drift over the course of a tune, having a tool to more objectively show you that can be helpful, both in solo and band play, especially because it's something you can keep an eye while you play and fix any problems before they take their toll.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #71 on: June 23, 2018, 06:50:52 PM »

Must admit, I' not looking (listening?) for a rigidly constant tempo. I will vary it according to loads of factors. Some dance have parts that go at different tempos. Tempo varies with dancers up for a set. Sometimes  I will vary the tempos the dance progresses if I feel there is a need for it.
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2018, 09:40:34 PM »

I agree totally with Greg.  Playing for dancers is all about playing for dancers!  This entales watching the feet of the dancers  and as greg has said .  as an example of O am playing for a ceilidh or barn dance where the bulk of the dancers are ancient like me I won't try to speed the overall thoing up but will settle for a rhyhtmic tempo that gives them time to get round. On the other hand with a mostly younger more energetic floorfull  I will s[eed things up whilst maintaining a good steady rhythm.  In both these extremes  I will also vary the temp slightly during a dance where this is needed from observing what is going on on the floor. 


same goes for morris eg if playing for rapper it can help to slow down a bit to prevent the music getting ahead of the dancers if eg on a reare occasion they are struggling with the lock.  Whilst I can understand Gina getting attached to the electronic device she is right in seeing it as 'a bit of a crutch'   which by definition is best got rid of at the earliest opportunity - otherwise  it is easy to become dependant on the crutch to the detriment of playing without it.

Surely in any 'band'  there should be a leader whose function is to  encourage and coach band members into a cohesive whole rather than the all to common motley collection of sometimes ? musicians doing their own thing!   If the regular leader is unable to be there  another player should be appointed by common consent  to  whom the other band members should stick to like glue.

In a really  cohesive and well practiced ceilidh or other 'folk dance' band if the leader makes a mistake the rest of the band should follow suite so it comes over as a slightly different arrangement!

george
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Stotty

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #73 on: June 23, 2018, 11:45:07 PM »

I have never found metronomes any help: a) Because I can, and always do, tap my feet, b) because without a rigid beat you can vary the speed as George suggests to fit the dance (for example sword dancers going over swords sometimes need more time, or the floor may be too slippery for normal speed), and c) simply because I just can't match playing/foot tapping to the metronomes!

The tempo app Gina suggested acts like a speedo in a car - you (and importantly other players) can see how fast you are playing, but you still have complete control about what speed you are playing. For a couple of quid it seems worthwhile downloading and having a play about.

I don't see the tempo app as a crutch, but possibly something which can help with getting a good, even speed for dancers. 
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 06:52:05 AM by Stotty »
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Emily Peabody

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #74 on: July 25, 2018, 08:06:20 AM »

I can't seem to tap my foot while I'm playing -- can't seem to maintain the rhythm with my feet and my hands at the same time, which is weird because it ought to be the same rhythm. I'd keep trying, but nothing undermines your confidence like toppling over in middle of a tune.

But when I'm trying to follow another box player, watching their shoulders seems to work just as well as watching their feet. The rhythm's all in the upper body.
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george garside

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #75 on: July 25, 2018, 09:36:05 AM »

I suppose the  rhythm  can be in the upper body ,the feet ( or even the bottom as in jiving etc)  or in any other of ones 'parts'  .  Is it that foot tapping comes more naturally to dancers/musicians or is it that it comes more naturally to self taught 'folkies' than to those who have had a dollop of classical training wh;ere I understand it is frowned on?

There is perhaps also some comfusion between light and almost silent foot 'tapping'  and  loud foot banging sometimes even using the knee as well as the ankle? With the former there is no danger of getting too enthusiastic and 'falling over'!


To me light foot tapping helps the player to synchronise with the dancers, be it ceilidh, morris, old tyme  , jazz or whatever in much the same way as   accompanying a singer can be aided by watching the singers face to help  getting the phrasing of musician and singer synchronised.

There are of course those who  presume that  dancers or singers will follow what they the ,? ,musicians are playing

george

« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 09:48:10 AM by george garside »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #76 on: July 25, 2018, 09:43:30 AM »

I can't seem to tap my foot while I'm playing -- can't seem to maintain the rhythm with my feet and my hands at the same time, which is weird because it ought to be the same rhythm. I'd keep trying, but nothing undermines your confidence like toppling over in middle of a tune.

But when I'm trying to follow another box player, watching their shoulders seems to work just as well as watching their feet. The rhythm's all in the upper body.

Then don't tap your feet. There are no rules which say you have to do it. As you have hinted, there are other ways of expressing rhythm with your body. But even that is not compulsory. So long as the music is rhythmical and steady*, that's all that matters.

* If that's what's needed. Some music needs to be flexible - slow airs or song accompaniment, for example.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #77 on: July 25, 2018, 11:15:05 AM »

I can't seem to tap my foot while I'm playing -- can't seem to maintain the rhythm with my feet and my hands at the same time, which is weird because it ought to be the same rhythm. I'd keep trying, but nothing undermines your confidence like toppling over in middle of a tune.

But when I'm trying to follow another box player, watching their shoulders seems to work just as well as watching their feet. The rhythm's all in the upper body.

What Steve says. If it feels right, do it, if it doesn't feel right it's not compulsory. I don't, normally, make a habit of browsing through videos of myself playing, but I have seen a few recently, for various reasons, it has struck me that the foot tapping thing is pretty much subconscious, for me. Some times I'm tramping away like a good 'un, but, lots of others, I'm engrossed in the music and fairly still. Circumstances make a lot of difference. Playing out for dancing I can't keep still for long. Recording something for ToTM, or to show a tune to a friend, I am far more static.
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Greg Smith
Is not the space between Heaven and Earth like a bellows?
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The more it moves, the more comes out of it.
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Chris Rayner

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #78 on: July 25, 2018, 12:17:45 PM »

I think one of the Rolling Stones said he took the beat from Mick Jagger’s ärse.  There’s just so many parts of the body available.
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Theo

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Re: Foot tapping
« Reply #79 on: July 25, 2018, 12:38:13 PM »

For me this is the ultimate example of a player moving to the music.  Every part of Pascale is involved in the music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpAqVJL23I0
I'm sure that sort of rhythmic involvement doesn't come from consciously tapping a foot, but from simply internalising the music and allowing the body movement to happen.   Same with dancing, when you have to count in your head you can dance but it is likely to be a bit mechanical.  Once you have really learned the dance you forget about numbers.    Same with foot tapping, at some point your playing will develop so that you don't have to consciously think about what you are playing, and you may just find your foot is tapping, apparently without your help.  How to get to that point?  I think two things are vital. First listen to lots of really good playing so that you know what you want to achieve.  Second - lots of practice.
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