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  1. #1
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    Thinking of rhythm like pitch

    So I was in conversation with some musicians digging into a couple topics. One topic was with pitch there is established terms and theories on how to describe pitch and its use, but when it comes to rhythm there is very little. I found it interesting trying to think of rhythm in similar terms. The one I've been trying to figure out how to define is what is the rhythmic equivalent to tonic, sub-dominant, and dominant. So rhythmic what is a feeling of home or rest, feeling of moving away, and pull back to home.


    So just one of those things to ponder in the wee hours.
    Focus on one thing at a time and get into all the details of it. - John Coltrane

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    So I was in conversation with some musicians digging into a couple topics. One topic was with pitch there is established terms and theories on how to describe pitch and its use, but when it comes to rhythm there is very little. I found it interesting trying to think of rhythm in similar terms. The one I've been trying to figure out how to define is what is the rhythmic equivalent to tonic, sub-dominant, and dominant. So rhythmic what is a feeling of home or rest, feeling of moving away, and pull back to home.


    So just one of those things to ponder in the wee hours.
    I'm not sure I follow what you mean. There's definitely vocabulary about functional aspects of rhythm, e.g.,

    - Strong vs weak beats
    - Syncopation
    - Swing vs straight
    - Clave
    - Not sure if there's a single term for this, but emphasizing beginnings/endings/transitions in the form via accents, fills, crashes, etc.


    Plus, there's a lot of discussion of the distinction between genres centered on rhythm (e.g., as one of the defining features of bebop), and defining genres and sub-genres in terms of rhythm (especially in Latin music).

    Out of curiosity, did your conversation include any percussionists? If so, what was their take on this?

    John

  3. #3
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    I read Dan Tepfer's blog often and he did an entry awhile back regarding the duality of rhythm and pitch. It was a very interesting read that might help in finding what you are looking for.

    Rhythm / Pitch Duality: hear rhythm become pitch before your ears

    Rhythm / Pitch Duality: hear rhythm become pitch before your ears | Dan Tepfer
    Seeking beauty and truth through six strings.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I'm not sure I follow what you mean. There's definitely vocabulary about functional aspects of rhythm, e.g.,

    - Strong vs weak beats
    - Syncopation
    - Swing vs straight
    - Clave
    - Not sure if there's a single term for this, but emphasizing beginnings/endings/transitions in the form via accents, fills, crashes, etc.


    Plus, there's a lot of discussion of the distinction between genres centered on rhythm (e.g., as one of the defining features of bebop), and defining genres and sub-genres in terms of rhythm (especially in Latin music).

    Out of curiosity, did your conversation include any percussionists? If so, what was their take on this?

    John

    No percussionist on that particular conversation mainly horn players I think I was the only guitarist but there will be more talk on the subject. Latin music definitely has names for most its rhythms. There are terms like you point out but not as many and not as well defined. The tonic, sub-dominant and dominant is the one that perked my interest.

    I think it will be interest what comes out of the person doing this work, but no matter it is thought provoking.
    Focus on one thing at a time and get into all the details of it. - John Coltrane

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGrandWazoo View Post
    I read Dan Tepfer's blog often and he did an entry awhile back regarding the duality of rhythm and pitch. It was a very interesting read that might help in finding what you are looking for.

    Rhythm / Pitch Duality: hear rhythm become pitch before your ears


    Rhythm / Pitch Duality: hear rhythm become pitch before your ears | Dan Tepfer

    Thanks I'll have to read that. I like Dan Tepfer's music I don't read a lot of blogs but will check this out.
    Focus on one thing at a time and get into all the details of it. - John Coltrane

  6. #6
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    His blog entries are excellent, though he hasn't made an entry in a while. Very technical in nature of both music analysis and the physical world. A very engineering type of mind, his is.
    Seeking beauty and truth through six strings.

  7. #7
    Interesting tidbit,

    I find that it is not the notes that I play that demonstrate my knowledge of the idiom, it is WHERE I play the notes. I am trying to apply that to my comping as well, where I place the hits, where I place tension, where the resolution occurs. Getting hip to phrasing pulls it all together.

    Weak beat strong beat is the micro

    Phrasing is the macro (2 bar, 4 bar, 8 bar)

    My knowledge of phrasing helped me fake being a drummer for a couple of jam sessions. I was fine until we got to the Bossa tunes... then I fell apart.

    I did a couple of pod casts on this topic to demonstrate, even one where I showed how to listen for phrasing in all types of music. I would be willing to repost the pod cast, but only for a short time. I don't have the license to put up other people's music... and I don't wanna get sued.

    There is definitely a connection between pitch and rhythm. Unfortunately, many music schools (even those with Jazz Performance in the title) seem to only give rhythm cursory attention. I am still studying the connections between pitch and rhythm. It is a very interesting and crucial topic in most forms of music.
    Last edited by Irez87; 01-18-2016 at 11:25 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    So I was in conversation with some musicians digging into a couple topics. One topic was with pitch there is established terms and theories on how to describe pitch and its use, but when it comes to rhythm there is very little. I found it interesting trying to think of rhythm in similar terms. The one I've been trying to figure out how to define is what is the rhythmic equivalent to tonic, sub-dominant, and dominant. So rhythmic what is a feeling of home or rest, feeling of moving away, and pull back to home.


    So just one of those things to ponder in the wee hours.
    We should go hang out drum forums?

    I always think of the the 3:2 as the dominant, but then that's literally what the frequency ratio is for the perfect fifth interval so that's a bit literal. 3:2 going to 1/8s or 1/4s definitely feels like a resolution though.

    EDIT tepfers blog details the sorts of things I've been thinking about for years. But then we have the same degree, so that's no surprise, similar way of thinking.

    Speaking of astronomy related people, Galileo had a whole theory of intervals based around this sort of thing.
    Last edited by christianm77; 01-18-2016 at 11:38 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    So I was in conversation with some musicians digging into a couple topics. One topic was with pitch there is established terms and theories on how to describe pitch and its use, but when it comes to rhythm there is very little. I found it interesting trying to think of rhythm in similar terms. The one I've been trying to figure out how to define is what is the rhythmic equivalent to tonic, sub-dominant, and dominant. So rhythmic what is a feeling of home or rest, feeling of moving away, and pull back to home.


    So just one of those things to ponder in the wee hours.
    Another thing is I think jazz is quite vague about terminology for swing rhythms. The tendency tends to be to view everything as rhythmically free when there are clear rhythmic patterns that emerge when you analyse accents etc.

    Often these are related to latin American things, no surprise.... Would it be fair to say that people treat swing as somehow separate from 'grooves'? To me they're intimately related.

  10. #10
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    As to Swinging trying to notated it is impossible because the real feel is floating back and forth within the beat. I Johnny Vidacovich NOLA drummer describes it as beat is more linear, melodic across the measures. And others say Swing came from the Jazz roots in NOLA. That 3:2 but slushy which would explain why a quarter note bass line can Swing, no way to writing that.


    So writing this I it hits me both rhythmically and melodically we tend to look at things through a microscope and cut into small sections, but in real world we are listening and feeling in large sections. That what we like that make things human is that wiggle room within rhythmic and melodic structure that happen over time. Like I've said in posts before our ears are so much hipper than we are, so things like clusters and parallel motion they pickup on instantly even if we don't understand it we just know it works. Then I think the ear and brain also hear the big sections to and the subtle variations that make something Swing or Groove, feel good. Then the more varieties of music we listen to the more sophisticated our ear and brain become. Like an old guitar player buddy of mine who doesn't like or understand Jazz, what I find interest is he refuses to even listen because quote "I don't want to know about it". It's like he knows if he exposed his ears to it, he they might learn something and like it.

    I think the key to playing music is trying to understand how the ear and brain understands music. In school this was touched on a little but not enough. Doesn't classical music delve into this some like emotions related to keys, modes, tempos. I know that book I had on film scoring talked about shapes of melodic lines that associated with love, heros, fear.

    Oh well time to get to shedding.
    Focus on one thing at a time and get into all the details of it. - John Coltrane

  11. #11
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    Great post.

    That's funny about your friend. There is a wisdom there. Getting bitten by the jazz bug is a road to penury and pain (with one would hope, eventual wisdom and enlightenment. Or perhaps not:-))

  12. #12
    Speaking of the relationship of rhythm and pitch have been very curious about the idea of rhythmic solfeggio, like takadimi (sp?). In my mind, traditional Western rhythmic notation kind of breaks downfor notating what's really happening in jazz. Because it's all strictly in reference to the beat, many of the relationships are easily lost or missed which would otherwise be more obvious, like polyrhythms and patterns which repeat, but on different beats.

    Has anyone spent anytime with any of this? I know it's big in Indian music. I mean, it's an Indian thing, but I'd imagine it's bigger among drummers probably. Makes bell patterns and such easily sung etc.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Speaking of the relationship of rhythm and pitch have been very curious about the idea of rhythmic solfeggio, like takadimi (sp?). In my mind, traditional Western rhythmic notation kind of breaks downfor notating what's really happening in jazz. Because it's all strictly in reference to the beat, many of the relationships are easily lost or missed which would otherwise be more obvious, like polyrhythms and patterns which repeat, but on different beats.

    Has anyone spent anytime with any of this? I know it's big in Indian music. I mean, it's an Indian thing, but I'd imagine it's bigger among drummers probably. Makes bell patterns and such easily sung etc.

    Back when playing bass I got into the Indian Takadimi system, but also discover there are multiple takadimi system. But it is useful for working on odd meters or creating ways of breaking ups a odd meters.

    For those not familiar with Takadimi system here's a summary:

    http://www.takadimi.net/documents/Ta...0for%20Web.pdf
    Focus on one thing at a time and get into all the details of it. - John Coltrane

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