Question about groove.

?

I have been looking at midi data derived from real performances, and using the patterns to improve my programming. But I’ve a question. I know that aside from electronia, just plopping the beat right on does not make for much of a groove. WHat I’ve noticed is that for each bar of midi data, lots of grooves are about moving the sound ahead of the beat (sometimes behind). No problem, I understand that. But it occurred to me that what ends up happening with loops is that at the beginning of the bar the kick (or whatever is on the first beat) is dead on, and then the rest of the sounds move ahead (or behind) as is appropriate, then the next bar the kick (or whatever) is dead on again, then the rest move ahead, then dead on, then ahead…etc…

Now, why would “playing ahead of the beat” mean playing ahead of the beat on beats 2, 3 and 4, but not 1?

Just a guess, but if you played ahead of the beat on 1 2 3 and 4, then you would end up playing on the beat. One of the beats has to be right in order for the others to be off.

Dave T2

Quote (TomS @ Oct. 01 2006,10:03)
I have been looking at midi data derived from real performances, and using the patterns to improve my programming.

There’s midi data in live performances?

And all these years I’ve been playin’ no one told me!

So who is holding all my data? Is this gonna be another one of those conspiracy theories?


To answer the question, I think our minds ear needs that 1, we need it bad, like a child needs a stuffed animal.
When that 1 is off, somehow even a non-musician knows it.
Heck metallica wrote a song about it “One” so it must have been important even to them! :D Not that they were ever groovy, but if you listen to some of Cliff Burtons solo’s from “Decline of a Western Civilization” you might think otherwise. :;):

Yeah if that one is off it’s like the whole groove falls apart.
Sometimes I like to live on the edge, and I push that one, as far as it can go to the left, then I bring it back cautiously with an echo effect! Man that’s livin’ dangerously! :p


On a side not I’ve been lookin into a guitar called the LGXT by
Godin.
It’s a butte’, and a freind of mine has the xtSA and it is smokin’. I was amazed at it’s variety of natural tones along with the midi synths. Only 70,000 more pennies in the wish jar and she’s mine!

keep shinin’

jerm :cool:

Tom,

I’ve been through similar thought processes myself in many years of midi/loop programming.

The only reason I can think of for why each loop starts with the first beat firmly on the beat is to make assembling tracks using a grid easier.


X
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I tend to agree with XonXoff, Dave2 - one coudl have all of the kick and snare beats ahead of the beat, and it still wouldn’t mean that the “off” was “on.” And if XonXoff is correct, then really loops are defective in that a real drummer would play with placement all the way through. So good midi tracks would need to be through-programmed rather than looped.

On the other hand, I can see Jeremy’s point - the one defines what is on. But that doesn’t seem to me to be quite right, since it does seem that sometimes drummers play with the placement of the sound all the way through a track.

In the third hand loops can sound very good, very groovy.

On the fouth hand, the one often seems stilted to me when using midi loops with grooves.

???

I think there is a deep and important issue here… Then again it is Sunday…

TomS,

If you are asking why this happens “musically” then I might have an answer for you. When playing with great players, you find that not all of them always play “on the beat”. Ron Carter used to play slightly behind the beat where as Ray Brown would be just in front of it.

If I had to guess why Ray Brown didn’t push the band tempo forward and why Ron Carter didn’t slow things down, it is because they knew where “1” was and made sure the tempo would not change because of their playing (they always hit “1”).

Playing just in front of the beat tends to add a bit of energy to the playing or “groove”, where as playing behind tends to make the groove feel more laid back or relaxed. I guess where you put the playing has more to do with the energy (groove) you are trying to create.

I personally like how the Brecker Brothers create a groove. Their work tends to be right on the beat and is all about precision. Listen to Billy Cobham. He is precision personafied. He sounds like a dam.n machine.

I think you can create a fine groove with everybeat on the money as long as the dynamic expression (don’t make every beat the same loudness but instead decide on the beats and drum sounds to emphasize) is there.

Mike

Another thing to think about is how this is in relation to the other players. A bass player who pushes means he is ahead of everyone else consistantly. A drummer behind means the rest of the band is in the same rhythm consistantly and the drummer is behind. So there are a lot of relative things to keep in mind. A drummer on his own cannot consistantly be ahead/behind the beat without also playing a consistant “anchor”. If all 1,2,3 and 4 are the same amount of time ahead, then all you have done is taken a straight rhythm and moved forward in time slightly. Groove is as much dynamics as it is timing too. It may only be pushing a single note in a quarter or it can be the dynamic of a note in the quarter. There are alot of things that makes a groove a groove… so I think it is importatnt to take each groove as an individual and disect it from there with all the variations in timing and dynamics that can make a groove what it is.

<!–QuoteBegin>

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If all 1,2,3 and 4 are the same amount of time ahead, then all you have done is taken a straight rhythm and moved forward in time slightly.


That was the point I was trying to make.

Dave T2

Quote (davet2 @ Oct. 01 2006,09:27)
<!–QuoteBegin>
Quote
If all 1,2,3 and 4 are the same amount of time ahead, then all you have done is taken a straight rhythm and moved forward in time slightly.


That was the point I was trying to make.

Dave T2

I understood ya the first time and think you nailed it!

But nobody likes answers that are direct and to the point.

Next time write at least 6 paragraphs. (Well you don’t have to actually write 6…just cut and paste 5 paragraphs from anywhere and add your final answer to the end).

Put a smiley face after the answer and that will draw their attention to it. They’ll be amazed at how smart you are (after all they couldn’t figure out the purpose of the first 5 paragraphs) and they’ll be really happy they understood the last paragraph. Win/Win situation.

HTH :)

KingFish

Quote (KingFish @ Oct. 02 2006,03:54)
Quote (davet2 @ Oct. 01 2006,09:27)
<!–QuoteBegin>
Quote
If all 1,2,3 and 4 are the same amount of time ahead, then all you have done is taken a straight rhythm and moved forward in time slightly.


That was the point I was trying to make.

Dave T2

I understood ya the first time and think you nailed it!

But nobody likes answers that are direct and to the point.

Next time write at least 6 paragraphs. (Well you don’t have to actually write 6…just cut and paste 5 paragraphs from anywhere and add your final answer to the end).

Put a smiley face after the answer and that will draw their attention to it. They’ll be amazed at how smart you are (after all they couldn’t figure out the purpose of the first 5 paragraphs) and they’ll be really happy they understood the last paragraph. Win/Win situation.

HTH :)

KingFish

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So to conclude then, it’s not where you put the beats, it’s what you hit to make them. And next time use eggs or cream. They are much better candidates for beating. :)

The big doughnut at Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood, CA, is a few miles north of LAX Airport off the 405. Trees and brush obscure the freeway view more than they must have in 1953, when the Big Donut Drive-in chain opened. Once up the exit ramp and on the cross-street, the 22-foot diameter snack appears poised to roll off an otherwise uninspired drive-thru store.

Randy’s is a destination with Hollywood star status. It appears over and over as movie backdrop or in obliquely angled atmospheric LA montages. The big doughnut needs a regular smog and soot scrub – a black grime is caked across the top and settled around the texture nubbins. The neighborhood itself is a little grimy.

But… the doughnuts baked at Randy’s are fresh and tasty – honey-glazed, chocolate drenched, and fat bearclaws acquired at the drive-thru window from friendly staff. Randy’s sells souvenir hats, and a T-shirt featuring an illustration of the building.

About ten miles southeast of Randy’s, west of the 110, stands Donut King II, which sports an identical though lesser known structure. It’s been painted bright yellow with rough red lettering that reads “Donut King II.”

Another vestige of the Big Donut chain is called Kindle’s Donuts, on South Normandie Avenue and West Century Boulevard in LA. Head east to La Puente to admire our final California doughnut landmark.

See…XonXoff’s got it down pat! :)

KF

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Steroids are known to have a major negative effect on people’s health

The condition is well known in the bodybuilding world, where it is referred to as roid rage.

Thanks for the reassurance KF. :)

X
.
.

Quote (davet2 @ Oct. 01 2006,22:27)
If all 1,2,3 and 4 are the same amount of time ahead, then all you have done is taken a straight rhythm and moved forward in time slightly.


That was the point I was trying to make.

Dave T2
Next question: why is a pseudo Latin text known as "greeking" to the world of graphic artists?

Anyway, dave2, I don't think it can be that simple. As has been pointed out, every member of an ensemble might be playing with placement. In fact, it may be the case that no one is playing exactly on the beat at any time, including the drummer (sort of the rhythmic equivalent of Ornette Coleman's "harmolodic theory"?). Yet there is still an "on" that they are all playing around, although no one ever hits it squarely. So putting the one squarely on the beat wouldn't be necessary, and playing all note ahead of the beat would not necessarily move the beat ahead.

DrG, I'm not really asking about pushiing ahead or pulling back, I am interested in why midi loops that are generated by real humans and have the groove intact have a certain property: I often see placement of notes ahead of the beat (sometimes behind) in beats 2, 3 and 4, e.g., but the 1 is always dead on. If that's just a convenience for programmers, and if real drummers "push" sometimes on all 4, including the 1, then midi groove loops are defective. On the other hand, a beat might need to be anchored with placement on the 1 every so often.

I've usually found Cobham's playing tedious, by the way, but I bet he usually plays ahead or behind the beat.

Since these midi loops are made out of context (no other musical instruments), then I would think that the reason the 1 is on beat is related to your “convenience for programmers” idea. Once the loops are mixed with other instruments, then you could easily move the 1 beat to your preference.

(I tried to think of some padding to sound clever, it just isn’t in me).

Dave T2

OK, if that is correct, how the heck to good midi programmers get a good groove going? One really has to understand the song pretty much totally before doing the programming…

IF I was doing it, I would first build a basic drum track. Then after instruments are added, go back to the drum midi and add the grooves and extras.

Dave T2

I’m reading this topic with deep interest. So keep it up guys, because my midi drum tracks suck. :(

I vary the dynamics and timing to make it more ‘real’, but I still can’t get nothing that has the feel of a good human jazz drummer.

Geez, Gizmo, I just want to be able to program a ska beat. :)

thing is, Dave2, say we start with a basic drum part, and then play the intruments to it, and then go bakc and tweak the drum part to add grooviness. Meanwhile, the guitar parts have been played to the scratch drum track, which is probably really L7, and hence the guitar parts are too. My tentative solution is to get to know the song really well, and then program the drum part with the proper groove to start with. Not good for quick songwriting…

I don’t think it would be any different than playing against a click track. You still FEEL the song while you are playing the guitar, even if the beat is an even beat.

I know I have found that many times the other instruments have dictated the drum enhancements, so I don’t want to spend a lot of time programming and then find later that the other instruments fight the drums or the drums need MORE work.

But each person approaches their songs differently. I know my songs very well before I start recording.

Dave T2