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  1. #1

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    I'm going to try to resurrect this thread, since it's a topic I find fascinating. I posted it originally on the Recording section of this forum, but received only a few responses (although those were great).

    This is about the details of what good time-feel looks like on the waveform when you record a group.

    Background: This started with Covid style recording -- all the players at home recording by themselves into a DAW. I use Reaper. The mechanics vary a bit, but, for the most part, I start by writing out the arrangement note by note in MuseScore and then exporting tracks with virtual instrument sounds. The live musicians replace the computer's tracks, one at a time.

    In a DAW, like Reaper, you can look at the waveform against a background of vertical lines representing the metronome click and see where the notes are in relation to a computer's precise reading of the Musescore chart. You can also hear the click.

    I was fortunate enough to enlist a top Brazilian pro drummer on a project. He submitted his track (using Reaper in Brazil) and then, after some discussion (with him in the role of teacher) recorded another take to demonstrate a different approach.

    His recommended approach for this tune, a samba at 100bpm in 2/4, was in what he called a "jazz" style.

    In Reaper, I could see that his drum track tended to be about 35ms ahead of the click. Now and then, he'd hit something on the click. This is a sophisticated style of playing, not an error. That's about a 64th note early at the tune's tempo.

    To show us the difference, he was generous enough to record a "metronomic" version in which he was still ahead but only by about 5ms. That's pretty close to the click -- you can't hear it and I'm not certain if you can really feel it.

    But, you can feel the difference between the two versions. The one that's 35ms ahead feels better and sounds more like authentic samba.

    He recommended that we use our ears, not the waveform, to place the other tracks.

    We still couldn't stop thinking about the waveform.

    So, the rest of this post reflects going against expert advice.

    If the drums are 35ms ahead, where should bass, keys and guitar be? Bear in mind, that the answer is likely to be different based on song, style, player, tempo etc.

    But, what about for this song, with this drum track?

    As it happened, the bassist was often 15-20ms behind, but with a lot of variability. Some of his notes were ahead. The drummer suggested that the bass might have been too far behind, but the bassist, a fine player of this style, didn't think he could do any better. And he liked what he had done. So did I.

    The pianist, a stickler for accuracy, played right on the click or, perhaps, edited in MIDI to get right on the click.

    On guitar, I played the first part of the song a bit behind (unintentionally - probably took me a chorus to switch mind-sets from recording engineer to performer) and then played the rest more or less on the click, which sounded better. So, I cut up the track and moved the errant notes in the first chorus closer to the click.

    Here's a link to the current rough mix of the track. Muito Non, second on the list.

    Ginga | SoundClick

    My main question here is whether anybody has gone down this rabbit hole and come out with answers as to how to place the various parts in different situations. How might being able to visualize the note placement inform one's practice to develop better time feel?
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 10-02-2020 at 10:32 PM.

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  3. #2
    Wow. Thanks for sharing.

    Way beyond anything I'm currently doing, but I would think about maybe experimenting with the order in which things are recorded/layered in. Sounds like you're saying that everyone is recording to the click from midi multi-track? ...maybe consider having bass play to the drums rather than the click etc, or some other order?... I know that the midi upload /sharing is a lot less of a headache than sharing audio etc..., but those drums will evoke a lot more than a click and would sync a ton better?...

    I'm jealous. Very cool project and great playing.

    Thanks.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Wow. Thanks for sharing.

    Way beyond anything I'm currently doing, but I would think about maybe experimenting with the order in which things are recorded/layered in. Sounds like you're saying that everyone is recording to the click from midi multi-track? ...maybe consider having bass play to the drums rather than the click etc, or some other order?... I know that the midi upload /sharing is a lot less of a headache than sharing audio etc..., but those drums will evoke a lot more than a click and would sync a ton better?...

    I'm jealous. Very cool project and great playing.

    Thanks.
    Thank you for the kind words.

    This may be more detail than you wanted, but here's how it went.

    I wrote the tune out in Musescore, including right hand piano, guitar comp, bass and some simple percussion. I rendered that in wav form and loaded it into Reaper as separate tracks.

    If I recall correctly (because this process did not go in a straight line and several other tunes were in various states of completion at the same time), I then recorded the guitar parts. There are two, rhythm and lead. I think that's the Comins GCS-1 through the Boss ME80 pedalboard right into the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 and then into Reaper on a laptop. No amp. No mic. I monitored everything with the Little Jazz - the pianist was incredulous, but I liked the way it sounded.

    I then sent all those tracks to the pianist, who added his track. He recorded midi into Logic. He and I then edited our tracks to correct what we were thinking of as timing errors. Basically, we moved notes that seemed too far from the click, based on looking at the waveforms. That's probably exactly the wrong way to do it, but it did seem to sound a little better.

    The bassist added his track next. Also using Logic. He punched an area that had some timing instability and I moved some bass notes to make the stuff around bar 9 be more like son clave than rumba clave. Not an error on the bassist's part, but it's the way I heard the tune.

    We then tried some different mixes, sending them back and forth. Eventually we agreed on a mix

    Then, we sent all the tracks to Brazil for the drummer. The reason he was last is that we wanted to verify that we had something we all felt was pretty good before we involved one of our idols in the project. Ideal order to record? Honestly, I don't know. If we had heard his track first, we'd probably have played with him -- meaning all of us 35ms ahead because Americans tend to feel it that way -- and we would have lost the tension between the drums and other instruments which, arguably, impart the authentic samba feel.

    He did three versions, one without a click, two with a click. One of those is the "jazz" version in which he's about 35ms ahead most of the time. That's the version you heard. He did a "metronomic" track as an educational tool for us to demonstrate the difference. It sounds fine, but it doesn't groove anywhere near as hard, IMO.

    Subsequently, the pianist did an experiment. He moved piano, bass and guitar to get them closer to the drums. That was about a 64th note for the keys and about a 32nd for the bass, although not every note. He was doing that by ear at that point, but everything was moving towards the drums.

    The resulting discussion focused on the impact of that. If everybody is ahead of the click, then it just sounds like you started sooner, right? How can you tell if *everybody* is ahead? It just becomes the new beat, or so it seems to me. The pianist theorized that there is a difference when everybody is playing ahead of a mental click. He suggested that, even though it might seem like you just started the tune 35ms sooner, it won't have the same feel. Personally, I'd take the other side of that bet.

    We asked ourselves, if the drummer had played to the pianist's adjusted tracks, would he have played the same part, or would he have felt it even further ahead? We don't know.

    I ended up with this ...

    If the drums sound good 35ms ahead of the click, how many ms ahead, or behind, the click should the other instruments be for songs with grooves like this one, which is a fairly typical samba? Should the bass be a little behind (which it is at times in this track)? Should the kb be ahead? How much? Where should the guitar be? I have a favorite chord in the rhythm guitar. It occurs near the start of the first solo and it is absolutely spot on the click. If not there, where?

    Just what the heck are we trying to do?
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 10-02-2020 at 09:15 PM.

  5. #4
    Here's another samba.

    This one was done with an American drummer. Long time working pro, incredible resume, deep groove. Has played with well known Brazilian musicians. You may be able to hear that this track is not as far ahead of the beat. Much more comfortable for the American ear or time-feel. I don't think it's worse. In fact, I might consider it better, but that's because it's more like what I'm used to hearing.

    This track was done more or less the same way. Same players except the drummer.

    Rick's Samba, first on the list.

    Ginga | SoundClick

  6. #5

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    Studying with a drummer atm.

    one thing he said is that these micro rhythmic nuances are actually dynamic, they may shift back and forth over the course of a groove and it feels right for them to do this.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-03-2020 at 05:56 PM.

  7. #6

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    Hey Rick...how goes,

    Yea the Samba is much easier to listen to. Almost a modulating samba de "O"ish etc... Very cool. Where's the vamp or interlude... maybe on the Db13#11..LOL Fun tune.

    Maybe bass needs more attack and less sustain... more percussive. It's just fat, which leaves no room, for percussion and Pn. montuno lines. (nice pn. part). You sound great.

    I'm no expert with recording technique.... 1st tune, Muito non, was just hard to listen to. The subdividing or double time... what was going on with the feel.

    Anyway, sounds like your having fun.

    Reg

  8. #7

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    Painful doubts, if we are not sure that the offset kills the music, I totally agree.
    Although far example, but similar issues arise in filmmaking sychronizing the picture with the sound. So they use clapperboard, since a century.

    so the musician who creates the inital track, use metronom to record say a 80 ish tempo at least 10 seconds. It does not need to do anything with the tune. Then waits a few minutes, to allo others to focus, counts her/his preferred way and starts playing.

    All other musicians start they recording with the metronome and try to click with a pen on a table as exact as they can the tempo, hopefully they can catch the exact tempo, an can execute the clicks pretty steady after 5 seconds. (If this is not the case, then end of story, syncing tracks is not an issue anymore in the future :-))

    All of this will remain the prologue of the track, giving a relative exact sync way. You will have always a clear set of sync point at least a dozen, so you can even outrule some less exact for every track, and sync on the other metronome ticks, in a statistical way, more matches win, then set the offset. You can do this by waveform, but I recommend to do by "feel" which is the only thing what matters.

    The final step when each track paired with the reference first track, listen your band. It the clicks souns good in chorus, the should not be timing problem with the music, which is the continous part ov the tracks.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Hey Rick...how goes,

    Yea the Samba is much easier to listen to. Almost a modulating samba de "O"ish etc... Very cool. Where's the vamp or interlude... maybe on the Db13#11..LOL Fun tune.

    Maybe bass needs more attack and less sustain... more percussive. It's just fat, which leaves no room, for percussion and Pn. montuno lines. (nice pn. part). You sound great.

    I'm no expert with recording technique.... 1st tune, Muito non, was just hard to listen to. The subdividing or double time... what was going on with the feel.

    Anyway, sounds like your having fun.

    Reg
    Thanks, Reg!

    Rick's Samba has an American drummer. He also had better recording gear at home. I think his part sounds great. But, it occurs to me it may be easier for the American ear to accept his approach. And btw, you nailed it -- I wrote that tune to try to get the feel of Samba De Orfeo. That was a conscious choice. I put the bridge a half step down and then up a minor third for the last A section so it wouldn't be the same tune. He send 8 tracks reflecting 8 mics on one performance. That allowed mixing and panning. I learned that mixing drums is a deep dive -- I avoided all that and, fortunately, the drummer liked the result.

    Muito Non has the Brazilian drummer playing what he termed a "jazz" feel, about 35ms ahead of the click through much of the tune. He also sent a "metronomic" version, only about 5ms ahead of the click, which sounds more American or something. The "jazz' version is a little harder to accept, or maybe I'm inappropriately bending over backwards because he's an idol. That said, when I've played with some great Brazilian players a lot of them have that forward pressure. We aren't sure how to play with it, which prompted this thread.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 10-03-2020 at 04:17 PM.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    Painful doubts, if we are not sure that the offset kills the music, I totally agree.
    Although far example, but similar issues arise in filmmaking sychronizing the picture with the sound. So they use clapperboard, since a century.

    so the musician who creates the inital track, use metronom to record say a 80 ish tempo at least 10 seconds. It does not need to do anything with the tune. Then waits a few minutes, to allo others to focus, counts her/his preferred way and starts playing.

    All other musicians start they recording with the metronome and try to click with a pen on a table as exact as they can the tempo, hopefully they can catch the exact tempo, an can execute the clicks pretty steady after 5 seconds. (If this is not the case, then end of story, syncing tracks is not an issue anymore in the future :-))

    All of this will remain the prologue of the track, giving a relative exact sync way. You will have always a clear set of sync point at least a dozen, so you can even outrule some less exact for every track, and sync on the other metronome ticks, in a statistical way, more matches win, then set the offset. You can do this by waveform, but I recommend to do by "feel" which is the only thing what matters.

    The final step when each track paired with the reference first track, listen your band. It the clicks souns good in chorus, the should not be timing problem with the music, which is the continous part ov the tracks.
    If I understand this correctly, it's partly about the count-in. I started with a Musescore generated backing track at a known tempo. You load the wav or midi file into reaper (mp3 comes with an extra 40ms you have to delete), after first setting Reaper for the tune's tempo. This will line up the Reaper click with the Musescore click -- perfectly. You then program the bar numbers and the metronome so that you have as long a count-in as you want (typically 4 bars) and the song starts on bar 1 by Reaper's count. You actually get negative numbers for the count-in bars. That allows you to talk to the other players -- you can mention a bar number and they can see it on screen and find the right place in the chart.

    You can play back with or without a click. You can also make a new track with nothing but click (recommended, in case one of your players doesn't know how to program his DAW's metronome). The click is also shown as a vertical line on screen and you can see where the sounds of the various instruments are in relation to it.

    Apologies if I have misunderstood your post.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Thanks, Reg!

    Rick's Samba has an American drummer. He also had better recording gear at home. I think his part sounds great. But, it occurs to me it may be easier for the American ear to accept his approach. And btw, you nailed it -- I wrote that tune to try to get the feel of Samba De Orfeo. That was a conscious choice. I put the bridge a half step down and then up a minor third for the last A section so it wouldn't be the same tune. He send 8 tracks reflecting 8 mics on one performance. That allowed mixing and panning. I learned that mixing drums is a deep dive -- I avoided all that and, fortunately, the drummer liked the result.

    Muito Non has the Brazilian drummer playing what he termed a "jazz" feel, about 35ms ahead of the click through much of the tune. He also sent a "metronomic" version, only about 5ms ahead of the click, which sounds more American or something. The "jazz' version is a little harder to accept, or maybe I'm inappropriately bending over backwards because he's an idol. That said, when I've played with some great Brazilian players a lot of them have that forward pressure. We aren't sure how to play with it, which prompted this thread.
    One thing I was told about Samba (by a master percussionist) is if it doesn't feel like it's speeding up, you're doing it wrong.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    One thing I was told about Samba (by a master percussionist) is if it doesn't feel like it's speeding up, you're doing it wrong.
    What you can see in the waveform on Muito Non is that he doesn't speed up, but he's so far ahead of the click, a high enough percentage of the time, that you can feel pressure to speed up. You can hear it in the recording. The pianist heard it and wanted to redo his part,
    moving things forward, since it felt so far behind. If he does that, and we send it back to the drummer, would he leave his part alone or want it even further ahead?

    I think that's what the Brazilians mean when they talk about feeling like it's rushing -- they're trying to express this in language that gets the idea across. I think it has to be felt, but it's like learning a nuance of pronunciation in a new language as an adult. It's hard to hear the difference and it's hard to reproduce.

    OTOH, not every Sambista plays that way. For example, the Zimbo trio pianist, Maestro Amilton Godoy, seems more relaxed than that, and his groove is every bit as deep.

    There are at least two paths to that mountaintop.

  13. #12

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    Yeah it doesn't actually speed up it's just feels like it does.

    (Although in practice music off click has tempo fluctuations.)

    TBH I think you can get into the woods over thinking it; it's a feel thing.

    This is certainly not a situation unique to samba. Most feels in the world have some sort of micro rhythmic push pull to them. Samba and jazz swing are famous examples, but the general rule is that in most musical cultures people do not learn grooves with a click, they learn by feel, ear and physicality. Later, when a musician becomes a professional, they probably need to be able to get more 'on grid' so to speak, to get recording work and so on.

    As my teacher says - people who learn these traditional grooves are not themselves musicians in the European sense. The members of a Rio samba school are not professional musicians, for example. OTOH in this part of the world we start with the grid and often have to inject the feel later.

    (Your man, being a consummate professional gave the choice between something more authentic and something that might be more usable for you in your situation.)

    Obviously without a click, this can also manifest itself in tempo variations. There's some great YT videos talking about this, but a lot of groove music has surprisingly large variations in tempo. A good musician wants to get some of this energy into the dreaded DAW grids that plague our existence.

    I've obviously been recording with a click a lot recently (haven't we all.) When I record with a click, it often feels better to have a take that's slightly pushed or behind in some places to me (usually this has some relation to the structure of the music; so a chorus or outré vamp might be pushed, while a verse could be maybe more relaxed.) Again - I am playing with a click, so so long as my placement is consistent I won't be speeding up, but it can create a feeling of energy, but it is perhaps ahead of the bass, for instance. (or the opposite relaxation if I am behind)

    For swing rhythm guitar it feels about right to place the quarters slightly ahead of the beat, I think 35ms would not be unusual.

    The more I do it the more control I get over this stuff. You can do anything you like so long as its intentional.

    This stuff creates feel. It's the microrhyhmic nuance that makes the groove what it is, whatever groove you happen to be playing. Players pushing and pulling against each other. It's not an art, but a science. Not everything has to line up, in fact lining things up can kill the thing that makes it feel good.

    Listening to the track it sounds nice. I'd probably want the bass a little bit more pushed in this situation. This version feels like American jazz; I feel like the Brazilian version would be more pushed generally.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Y

    Listening to the track it sounds nice. I'd probably want the bass a little bit more pushed in this situation. This version feels like American jazz; I feel like the Brazilian version would be more pushed generally.
    Thanks.

    Were you referring to Muito Non or Rick's Samba?

    Muito has the Brazilian drummer. He thought the bass was too far behind (good call, Christian), but the bassist liked it and didn't feel he could play it any better.

    Rick's Samba has the American drummer.

    We're working on the concept of "pushed more generally", trying to detail what it might in this context, in waveform terms.

    The pianist did a mix he likes in which he moved the rhythm guitar and bass 50ms each, ahead of the beat.

    So, he moved the guitar to be maybe a little ahead of the drums and bass about equal with it. On average, with some variation.

    He edited the piano, laboriously, cutting up every phrase and placing it by ear. The only thing that remained untouched was the melody, which is heavily interpreted anyway.

    He feels the resulting track both coheres and grooves better. I'm reserving judgment -- I'm not sure how I feel about my track being moved 50ms (between a 32nd and 64th note) and I don't know how the bassist will feel either. I can hear the improved coherence, but I'm trying to convince myself he didn't inadvertently remove the Brazilian magic. That is, the band, except melody, is all together, in front of the click, so he's changed the tune in only two ways -- everybody is with the drummer and the melody is more laid back. That description sounds Muito Americano ... no push forward in the drum set and the melody behind the beat.

    Work in progress.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    If I understand this correctly, it's partly about the count-in. I started with a Musescore generated backing track at a known tempo. You load the wav or midi file into reaper (mp3 comes with an extra 40ms you have to delete), after first setting Reaper for the tune's tempo. This will line up the Reaper click with the Musescore click -- perfectly. You then program the bar numbers and the metronome so that you have as long a count-in as you want (typically 4 bars) and the song starts on bar 1 by Reaper's count. You actually get negative numbers for the count-in bars. That allows you to talk to the other players -- you can mention a bar number and they can see it on screen and find the right place in the chart.

    You can play back with or without a click. You can also make a new track with nothing but click (recommended, in case one of your players doesn't know how to program his DAW's metronome). The click is also shown as a vertical line on screen and you can see where the sounds of the various instruments are in relation to it.

    Apologies if I have misunderstood your post.
    I am not into neither Reaper neither synthetic tracks so my recommended method is for waveform tracks, for both team work with other musicians both record yourself then playback record again (and again)

    Regarding non waveform tracks my idea is when generating them with any tool, then attach a waveorm track, and do the metronome thing on that track. Bacause the synth track and the attached waveform track is in sync ba definition, any other track what are in sync with this waveform track is proven sync with the synthetised track.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    I am not into neither Reaper neither synthetic tracks so my recommended method is for waveform tracks, for both team work with other musicians both record yourself then playback record again (and again)

    Regarding non waveform tracks my idea is when generating them with any tool, then attach a waveorm track, and do the metronome thing on that track. Bacause the synth track and the attached waveform track is in sync ba definition, any other track what are in sync with this waveform track is proven sync with the synthetised track.
    I think this thread isn't so much about how to record in synch or lining up waveforms... it's about where the different instruments should be landing relative to a downbeat to create a good or authentic groove which is relevant to whether one is recording or playing live.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Thanks.

    Were you referring to Muito Non or Rick's Samba?

    Muito has the Brazilian drummer. He thought the bass was too far behind (good call, Christian), but the bassist liked it and didn't feel he could play it any better.

    Rick's Samba has the American drummer.

    We're working on the concept of "pushed more generally", trying to detail what it might in this context, in waveform terms.

    The pianist did a mix he likes in which he moved the rhythm guitar and bass 50ms each, ahead of the beat.

    So, he moved the guitar to be maybe a little ahead of the drums and bass about equal with it. On average, with some variation.

    He edited the piano, laboriously, cutting up every phrase and placing it by ear. The only thing that remained untouched was the melody, which is heavily interpreted anyway.

    He feels the resulting track both coheres and grooves better. I'm reserving judgment -- I'm not sure how I feel about my track being moved 50ms (between a 32nd and 64th note) and I don't know how the bassist will feel either. I can hear the improved coherence, but I'm trying to convince myself he didn't inadvertently remove the Brazilian magic. That is, the band, except melody, is all together, in front of the click, so he's changed the tune in only two ways -- everybody is with the drummer and the melody is more laid back. That description sounds Muito Americano ... no push forward in the drum set and the melody behind the beat.

    Work in progress.
    Yeah I really feel the bass thing on Muito. But again, the lockup between bass and drums is critical. I also want a more definite accent on '2' (or '3' depending on how Gringo you are haha) more 1st Surdo... Not louder necessarily just defined, more pointed and pushed. This is a much more important beat than '1'

    Anyway, my favourite album for drums that are not on any kind of grid known to man but unbelievably grooving


  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Yeah I really feel the bass thing on Muito. But again, the lockup between bass and drums is critical. I also want a more definite accent on '2' (or '3' depending on how Gringo you are haha) more 1st Surdo... Not louder necessarily just defined, more pointed and pushed. This is a much more important beat than '1'

    Anyway, my favourite album for drums that are not on any kind of grid known to man but unbelievably grooving
    ..
    I always thought the surdo was exactly on the 2. But, now with the ability to examine the waveform, I'm not so sure. On Muito, the bassist varied his placement of the 2 depending on how relaxed the tune was at that point. Where the tune relaxes, he's behind the beat. Where the tune intensifies, he's pretty close to the click on 2.

    Last night, I did an experiment. I went back to our original tracks and, this time, moved the drums back 50ms. This put all the instruments together (by eliminating how far ahead the drummer is) and kept the melody where it should be in relation to the other instruments.

    It sounds pretty good to this gringo's ear -- but, the Brazilian drummer heard those tracks, that way, and chose to play 35ms ahead. He even mixed it -- so I know he heard it that way.

    Still a work in progress. I know what the drummer would say ... "don't worry about the waveform, just use your ears".

  19. #18
    When we used our ears ...

    1. We began to suspect a latency error of some kind with the drums. We're both fairly new to Reaper. I can't explain how he could play it and hear it aligned properly and then render it misaligned. It worked better when he was on the click or up to maybe 20ms ahead. If this suspicion is correct, it basically solves the problem. Duh, I guess. Basically, everybody stays close to the click, give or take some stretching because it's jazz. Maybe, the drummer can be ahead 20ms or so with the music sounding energetic but still in time.

    2. The bass part seemed behind in a few places. We were on the fence about whether to deem it a clever artistic choice (which might be right), but because we were having groove problems, we moved the errant notes onto the click.

    3. With that done, the bass and drums locked together, with or without the click.

    4. The pianist moved his phrases to align with the drums. Not single notes. He worked in phrases. I thought his original track sounded fine and I still have to listen more to figure out what he changed.

    5. The melody was heavily interpreted and worked well with everybody on the click or up to 33ms ahead.

    6. Rhythm guitar aligned with the click.

    So, the whole exploration may have been motivated by an engineering, not musical glitch. Ugh. But, tracking it down was an interesting process because it further illuminated some issues relating to groove.

    Thanks to all who responded and commented on the tracks!

    I'll post the result shortly.

  20. #19
    Ginga | SoundClick

    That links to a list of tunes, the new Muito Non mix is at the top, Muito Non 7Oct20 KD33.

    We ended up leaving the drums and keys (recalling that the pianist cut up his track phrase by phrase to match the drums) at (what we guessed to be) around 17ms ahead of the click. Bass and guitars are on the click, give or take 15ms or so because this is jazz.

    Really, how I would interpret this is that everybody was more or less on the click. Even the instruments which were ahead on average, sometimes went behind it. The pianist felt that he wanted to be on or in front, but I wasn't sure he was right about that.

    I think having the drums up to 20ms ahead (this song/tempo/groove ymmv) may give a certain forward leaning feel.

    Some thought the bass can be a little behind, but I liked it pretty much on the click.

    The melody was so interpreted that it barely mattered. I have been criticized in the past for taking liberties with a composer's melody. I don't buy it. Did Sinatra hit every eighth note written by Cole Porter right on the click? I mean, if he had a click.

    If everybody had been on the click it would groove as well as the computer generated "band" that MuseScore exports. That is, not so great. The variability is what makes the groove great and, after all this digging through rabbit excrement in the hole, we could not provide even a guideline, much less a rule. We were told to use our ears and not look at the waveform and we have independently verified that the guy who told us that was right.

    This mix is the best I can do with my ears and equipment (the latter of which I will shortly replace). The final mix will probably be done by somebody with better gear and ears. I won't be surprised if the bass is at the wrong volume (don't know whether it's too loud or too quiet) and the high frequency content may be lacking or exaggerated.

    An aside for mixologists with hearing loss:

    If you get an audiogram at the Audiologist's office, you get a calibrated graph. It shows hearing loss graphed by frequency.

    In Reaper, click View, Monitoring FX. Add in EQ as an FX module. Switch to 11 band in the dropdown menu. This affects what you hear on playback, but doesn't actually change the track.

    Then, program in the inverse of your audiogram. That is, if you're down, say, 10db at a certain frequency, change the EQ in Reaper to add 10db at that frequency.

    Play back Aja or some well produced album to make sure it sounds good.

    It will work best with headphones that are either flat in frequency response, or, maybe, at least typical of what your listeners use, if you have any idea what that might be.

  21. #20

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    That is a great playing there, glad for you having such a good time in a good company.

    My taste and playing abilities are not quite to the level, but still as an opinion of an unsophisticated listener.
    I like the latest Muito Non mix much better. The first one sounded as if the bass was struggling and the groove (in a sense of Victor Wooten, for example -- a strong feel of beat placement imposed on the listener) is not there.

    And I still like Rick's samba even more. I find it sounding more as a whole - it is completely coherent, everyone is playing the same thing and style. On the Muito Non the drummer's level of fanciness is noticeably higher than of the rest of the band. And also there is some cool quality in your style of playing which doesn't ask to be pushed by playing ahead the beat for example.

    Still my deepest respects to the everyone and to the what comes out of your playing!

    If everybody had been on the click it would groove as well as the computer generated "band" that MuseScore exports. That is, not so great. The variability is what makes the groove great and, after all this digging through rabbit excrement in the hole, we could not provide even a guideline, much less a rule. We were told to use our ears and not look at the waveform and we have independently verified that the guy who told us that was right.
    MuseScore exports lack dynamics/accenting nuance first of all - that is the primary reason it sounds so lifeless. The second thing is - no changes to tempo itself.

    I'm using an app to train sight reading Rhythm Sight Reading Trainer on the App Store and I can testify that the damn thing grooves every silly rhythm it spits at you by having sensible dynamics in place.
    There is a whole genre out there 'electroswing' (here is my bad taste coming in) which by definition is a groove-centered dancing-style music.
    Personally, I'm not convinced at the slightest that the band's groove is product primarily of note placement deviations (and I would not encourage especially rhythm section players put much faith into this idea. To me it is -- learn to play strictly on time first, then experiment with what will be a micro syncopation). I'm not saying there are no compositions/styles which call for some looseness or that you should strike the beat each time - far from it. But do believe it is difficult to be too precised most of the time.

  22. #21

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    Is electro swing still a thing?



    My enduring memory of the genre is when I spoke to an electroswing DJ about what he did and it turned out he hated it as well.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Is electro swing still a thing?

    My enduring memory of the genre is when I spoke to an electroswing DJ about what he did and it turned out he hated it as well.
    I tend to hate what I'm doing too, this doesn't say much about any genre I touch with my clumsy fingers Of course mentioning it here is a heresy.
    Parov Stelar and Club Des Belugas seemed to be active till relatively recent and I hear them in malls and cafeterias. Not a big accomplishment, but who said it is a serious stuff.
    I see it as part of general pop music development -- every genre will mutate and breed in a search of something catchy -- fresh and new enough to be interesting, but with a connection to acquired experience not to be alienating. That thing was due to happen and its life span is/was bound not to be too long.

    I still find Club Des Belugus arrangements to be interesting - a lot of fine details.

  24. #23

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    Well it's not so much heresy as it triggers flashbacks of about 1,000 gigs I did in the early 2010's.

    No music is heresy... but electroswing was quite simply peak annoying early 2010's hipsterism. To think, we went from UK dubstep and minimal techno to this.... (Of course Skrillex murdered dubstep in 2013 but that is a different story. RIP the wub 2008 - 2013, we loved you well.)

    Anyway, I quite like Air Mail special with a backbeat. Don't know why.

  25. #24

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    Although my parents really enjoyed seeing Caravan Palace at Love Supreme last year, so my opinion is null and void.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Then, program in the inverse of your audiogram. That is, if you're down, say, 10db at a certain frequency, change the EQ in Reaper to add 10db at that frequency.

    Play back Aja or some well produced album to make sure it sounds good.

    It will work best with headphones that are either flat in frequency response, or, maybe, at least typical of what your listeners use, if you have any idea what that might be.
    Maybe the engineer for Aja had a similar hearing loss as I do, if that's the case then I'm hearing it the way it was intended to be heard. Right?

    Of course that's not the case but Aja sounds damn good to me leaving it alone.

    Just talking to Mark Rhodes yesterday about the Gaucho and Aja albums and how there is some sort of mixing magic going on, so many instruments but it all sounds so clear yet at the same time so glued together.

    Oh yeah, dig your tune and the band.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Well it's not so much heresy as it triggers flashbacks of about 1,000 gigs I did in the early 2010's.

    No music is heresy... but electroswing was quite simply peak annoying early 2010's hipsterism. To think, we went from UK dubstep and minimal techno to this.... (Of course Skrillex murdered dubstep in 2013 but that is a different story. RIP the wub 2008 - 2013, we loved you well.)

    Anyway, I quite like Air Mail special with a backbeat. Don't know why.
    Wow, electroswing was actually a thing over there? Here in the states, it's just shitty background music for fitting rooms.

  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Danil View Post
    That is a great playing there, glad for you having such a good time in a good company.

    Personally, I'm not convinced at the slightest that the band's groove is product primarily of note placement deviations (and I would not encourage especially rhythm section players put much faith into this idea. To me it is -- learn to play strictly on time first, then experiment with what will be a micro syncopation). I'm not saying there are no compositions/styles which call for some looseness or that you should strike the beat each time - far from it. But do believe it is difficult to be too precised most of the time.
    Great post.

    First off, thanks for listening and for the kind words.

    Second, your last paragraph addresses the exact issue we were struggling with. Is there some way to understand groove by looking at waveforms? And, after a dive into the rabbit hole, we ended up at the place you suggest, i.e. that staying close to the beat is a good idea and that it was difficult, otherwise, to see groove in a waveform.

    The received "wisdom" that the drums should be ahead and the bass a little behind was not borne out by our experiment. At least not this time -- with this tune, this groove, this tempo and these players. We did notice that the melody could be heavily interpreted - including being behind - and that would work. But, most of the places where bass or comping was behind the beat had to be corrected.

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Maybe the engineer for Aja had a similar hearing loss as I do, if that's the case then I'm hearing it the way it was intended to be heard. Right?

    Of course that's not the case but Aja sounds damn good to me leaving it alone.

    Just talking to Mark Rhodes yesterday about the Gaucho and Aja albums and how there is some sort of mixing magic going on, so many instruments but it all sounds so clear yet at the same time so glued together.

    Oh yeah, dig your tune and the band.
    Somebody suggested adding the "Aja Test" to my attempts to compensate for high frequency hearing loss. That is, program in the corrections and then make sure Aja still sounds great. He suggested Aja for exactly the reason you point out -- it is one of the all time great accomplishments in engineering/mixing, among its other exemplary qualities.

    Thanks Fep, for your comments all along this process.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    Wow, electroswing was actually a thing over there? Here in the states, it's just shitty background music for fitting rooms.
    It's hard to believe, but there were many vintage/electro swing nights over here.

  31. #30

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    These debates can go into the 'should we practice with a click/get super anal on DAW's?'

    (I have for some months BTW been getting super anal about waveforms on DAW's, there's not much else to do.)

    What I am learning, is that synching with a metronome is a whole lot easier if you are good at synching other things, such as your voice with your body etc. So while the metronome is a relatively new addition to the practice room (no really), it's not really telling you anything that you couldn't learn by other means. However as a tool of diagnosis, it tells you right away. However practicing with a metronome may not in itself improve your ability to synch with a metronome. I think many people assume that it will.

    Anyway, a little off topic. I think metronomic time itself is not really an aesthetic ideal, and in fact may be anti-human. Which doesn't mean don't work with a click. Just have the right combination of respect and contempt for it.

  32. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Danil View Post
    That is a great playing there, glad for you having such a good time in a good company.

    And I still like Rick's samba even more. I find it sounding more as a whole - it is completely coherent, everyone is playing the same thing and style. On the Muito Non the drummer's level of fanciness is noticeably higher than of the rest of the band. And also there is some cool quality in your style of playing which doesn't ask to be pushed by playing ahead the beat for example.

    .
    Thanks for that!

    Rick's Samba has an American drummer who I've played with quite a few times. He has a full recording setup at home. He had no trouble with the tech side of things and provided 8 tracks, each reflecting a mic on the kit. He's a world class player, in my opinion and tremendous fun to play with. The groove is deep and there's all kinds of rhythmic information to pick from as you comp.

    Muito Non's drummer is Brazilian -- and I've played with him, live, only twice (my group hired him to do two workshops with us). He recorded three tracks, drumset, tamborim and shaker, and mixed them down to one, which is what he provided to me. He also provided a full mix with the other instruments, I couldn't submix or pan. He used Reaper and indicated that he's new to it. He doesn't have a full studio setup at home. I agree with the comment that the drumming is fancier in conception -- possibly as a pedagogical approach?

    As noted, I suspect a tech error in the timing of the track. It is clearly better when delayed by about 33ms. That threw us off while we puzzled out whether the problem was in the timing or our perception of it. Sounds dumb in retrospect, but we had been told that the drums should be "on top" in samba, this is a great player and his own mix had him ahead (I now wonder if he mixed down, inadventently introduced a delay and then didn't double check the mix - but I haven't yet found out what happened).
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 10-09-2020 at 02:27 PM.

  33. #32

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    I can’t really contribute any knowledge on waveforms but the discussion reminds me how much I miss my favorite local band Entremundos and especially drummer Jeff Busch whose gigs with various groups I tried to follow until COVID hit. I love the way the various instruments and vocals play with the time, yet the drive is irresistible. It would be interesting to analyze the waveforms for each of these musicians.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post

    Anyway, a little off topic. I think metronomic time itself is not really an aesthetic ideal, and in fact may be anti-human. Which doesn't mean don't work with a click. Just have the right combination of respect and contempt for it.
    Danger of losing soul because of having one's time too good is exaggerated, as if it is that difficult to play loosely.
    In fact, may be the lack of timing practice itself is often the reason why recording to the click sounds bad -- a player tenses up because of time constraint imposed on him and looses fluency of expression.

    To me what is above looks like a profound manifestation of humanity. He gets 3 rhythm parts completely interlocked and blended together with a loop pedal as it is nothing. The click is nowhere in sight, yet many many hours of metronome practice are there and he started really early - VW is big on practice with metronome.

    Another reference is Emily Remler. In her instructional video she is saying that her teacher said her time was bad and she worked with metronome to address this.
    It obviously worked for her -- she is my favorite guitar player regarding time feel. She encouraged to use metronome and not to be afraid to sound robotic when playing streams of 8s or 16s as an exercise to establish 'free flow'.
    She called metronome on 2&4 to be the best drummer in the world -- in the related thread it was mentioned how important is to play with someone else with good time, here it is from Emily.

    Metronome is a something like tuner only for time - to make music clear and consonant time wise.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danil View Post
    Danger of losing soul because of having one's time too good is exaggerated, as if it is that difficult to play loosely.
    In fact, may be the lack of timing practice itself is often the reason why recording to the click sounds bad -- a player tenses up because of time constraint imposed on him and looses fluency of expression.

    To me what is above looks like a profound manifestation of humanity. He gets 3 rhythm parts completely interlocked and blended together with a loop pedal as it is nothing. The click is nowhere in sight, yet many many hours of metronome practice are there and he started really early - VW is big on practice with metronome.

    Another reference is Emily Remler. In her instructional video she is saying that her teacher said her time was bad and she worked with metronome to address this.
    It obviously worked for her -- she is my favorite guitar player regarding time feel. She encouraged to use metronome and not to be afraid to sound robotic when playing streams of 8s or 16s as an exercise to establish 'free flow'.
    She called metronome on 2&4 to be the best drummer in the world -- in the related thread it was mentioned how important is to play with someone else with good time, here it is from Emily.

    Metronome is a something like tuner only for time - to make music clear and consonant time wise.
    It's so easy to get strawmanned in these things. There are some musicians who advice not practicing with a metronome, and many who never went near one, but enough of my favourite musicians practiced with one diligently for me to say that at the very least it does no harm.

    So, in common with most musicians today, I practice with a metronome. A few points I have learned over the years, not responding to you, but just things I've observed:

    1) musicians like VW often don't have a really good map of how they learned, and may not necessarily be able to teach how they learned. Not always true; but worth bearing in mind when looking at lessons from famous musicians like that. Some people with naturally good time may actually be prescribing certain practice activities because it's their best guess. Not always true, as I say. It is true that Emily OTOH said she had crap time and it was working with a metronome that sorted it out, so you do hear these stories. Emily also lived in NOLA and was at one point married to Monty Alexander. This probably also helped.

    I suspect VW had great feel and groove and learned to get it more click accurate later (the traditional way), but you might know more than me.

    2) Most guitarists don't know much about rhythm and aren't very good at it really, realise this, and often pass their own stress and insecurities about their time onto their students. They will repeat what their teacher said, which is probably play with a metronome, which is, luckily, far from the worst advice you can get. However we miss a lot of tricks; we tend not to do things like rhythmic independence exercises and so on that help who a lot of these things. We often tend to be nerdy dudes a bit unaware of our bodies rhythmically.

    My (Konakol) teacher suggests that sometimes as you say it necessary to start with grid accuracy and get freedom from there, much like Emily. I would describe this as the most common view I've come across in education. However there's a deeper level to this which is what causes inaccuracy, and where does it come from?

    3) The metronome doesn't DO anything apart from tell you when you are wrong with respect to the metronome. In order to learn to play better with a click, you have to do the work. Practicing WITH a metronome is only beneficial if your feedback loop works and you can understand why you are getting it wrong.

    Most often, the metronome is a tool for teaching us about ourselves. The problems revealed by practicing with a metronome are not necessarily solved by simply playing with a metronome. For instance:

    4) The metronome is not the only way to practice rhythm. Some things make it easier to synch with a click that aren't praciticing with a click; for instance. Konakol for instance is useful for this, because you spend a lot of time sticking down the 'junction points' in polyrhythm. So it's very useful to do this in order to get better at playing with a click. After all to play with a click, you are practicing synchronisation, not timing per se. Recording yourself is also a good way to learn to evaluate how well your are preforming metronome exercises.

    5) I get the impression some people (not you) I think have the impression that practicing with a metronome is about refining an internal clock. I don't think so - I think most people's internal clock is just fine, but other stuff gets in the way. If you think this is the case, try comparing your performance with a metronome with an instrument in your hands and purely vocally or clapping. For me I am always worse when playing the guitar. So there's something else going on; probably psychological and maybe technical. If you haven't tried this, you maybe surprised. Put the click on at 10bpm, and see what you notice.

    6) Most of our favourite classic jazz musicians learned time on the bandstand and never went near a metronome. As a result their sense of swing and feel is often not on the grid with surprisingly large fluctuations in tempo and so on, while sounding absolutely killing. OTOH, it is expected to be able to play on grid today. Do with that info what you will.

    7) If you practice enough with a metronome, Stevie Wonder starts to sound out of time. This is where I start to wonder. (Boom Ching.)

    8) The metronome doesn't necessarily teach you to be responsible for your own pocket. Players who play almost exclusively with a click get very good at sitting back in the pocket, but often lack confidence in projecting their own rhythmic pocket. Drummers who play on click a lot can be draggy. Perhaps less important for a guitar player who plays with rhythm sections, but something to consider.

    9) Quantisation squishes the life out of everything. It's interesting to see the current gen waking up to this; they grew up with DAW's.

    So the contempt side of it comes from practicing it, but also realising how limited that training, however helpful, in the broader scheme of things. Practicing like a scientist is one thing, playing music like one quite another.

  36. #35

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    Also, something I've been thinking about a lot, because my technique doesn't encourage evenness, is evenness = good time?

    Also swinging is not necessarily the same thing as accurate time. You can swing like a barn door and be all over the place tempo-wise.

    A lot of my favourite musicians are strikingly uneven in their articulation, but nail the time where it's important. Guitarists are expected to sound more even? The aesthetic now is towards evenness in line playing which encourages techniques like alternate picking, but Wes wasn't even, for example.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    I think this thread isn't so much about how to record in synch or lining up waveforms... it's about where the different instruments should be landing relative to a downbeat to create a good or authentic groove which is relevant to whether one is recording or playing live.
    You are right, my bad.

  38. #37

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    I'm mostly agree with all this (or willing to accept where I don't have much to say). Amen to that.
    My grudges come mostly from observation that working on time is almost of no importance for many, this in turn affects quality of my musical life I observe that after extended period of exercising time I play noticeably better and become more of pulse provider than consumer, would be good if others helped with it. Need to stop complaining at this point and get back to work on my own playing.

    Of course, the practice should be meaningful (your point #2) -- to be challenging enough and with reflection on the results. Using metronome as a crutch at comfortable tempos will not do much. There are plenty of ways to improve (I too feel that diversity of approaches helps) with or without metronome, which is after all just a tool, not the end of road. Also it is very true that technique itself is a major source of timing issues.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Also, something I've been thinking about a lot, because my technique doesn't encourage evenness, is evenness = good time?

    Also swinging is not necessarily the same thing as accurate time. You can swing like a barn door and be all over the place tempo-wise.

    A lot of my favourite musicians are strikingly uneven in their articulation, but nail the time where it's important. Guitarists are expected to sound more even? The aesthetic now is towards evenness in line playing which encourages techniques like alternate picking, but Wes wasn't even, for example.
    Of course not, to quote yourself -- play like you wish provided it is intentional. It is about control and knowledge of the rhythm, not about the rules.
    And, if the technique leads to certain style and one is happy with it that is also a good thing. Quoting Rammstein - 'do your own thing, and then overdo it'.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danil View Post
    Of course not, to quote yourself -- play like you wish provided it is intentional. It is about control and knowledge of the rhythm, not about the rules.
    And, if the technique leads to certain style and one is happy with it that is also a good thing. Quoting Rammstein - 'do your own thing, and then overdo it'.
    Oh that is a very good quote.

    I've also heard it said 'find out what you are, and then do it on purpose.'

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danil View Post
    I'm mostly agree with all this (or willing to accept where I don't have much to say). Amen to that.
    My grudges come mostly from observation that working on time is almost of no importance for many, this in turn affects quality of my musical life I observe that after extended period of exercising time I play noticeably better and become more of pulse provider than consumer, would be good if others helped with it. Need to stop complaining at this point and get back to work on my own playing.

    Of course, the practice should be meaningful (your point #2) -- to be challenging enough and with reflection on the results. Using metronome as a crutch at comfortable tempos will not do much. There are plenty of ways to improve (I too feel that diversity of approaches helps) with or without metronome, which is after all just a tool, not the end of road. Also it is very true that technique itself is a major source of timing issues.
    A quote I've heard: 'there are two types of musicians: ones who work on there time and those who don't, and I know who I'd rather play with.' The Brazilian percussionist I mentioned above also said 'no-one has perfect time' which was good to hear because his time is amazing. But he's worked very hard at it.... In my experience people who actually say 'I don't need to work on my time' usually have bad time.

    When I see a new rhythmic exercise I suck at, I'm overjoyed, because I know if I work on it my time is going to get a touch better as a result of working on it. I'll learn some new aspect of rhythm that will deepen my listening and playing. There are things I prioritise - I'm more interested in groove and feel than tempo consistency, for example, but TBH I'm not sure there's a bad exercise; the only bad exercise is doing one exercise for years and expecting results. (I also think people can get a bit over preoccupied with the metronome as the only way to practice rhythm, but that's a side issue.)

    It's good to set out with the goal in mind? Or perhaps, more accurately examine your playing from some perspective, such as 'are my upbeats consistent?' (place the click on alternate ands for instance) and so on.

    That said, problems in music 99% of the time come down issues in one of two things:
    1) issues in audiation
    2) issues in execution

    I have both!

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    This mix is the best I can do with my ears and equipment (the latter of which I will shortly replace). The final mix will probably be done by somebody with better gear and ears. I won't be surprised if the bass is at the wrong volume (don't know whether it's too loud or too quiet) and the high frequency content may be lacking or exaggerated.

    An aside for mixologists with hearing loss:

    If you get an audiogram at the Audiologist's office, you get a calibrated graph. It shows hearing loss graphed by frequency.

    In Reaper, click View, Monitoring FX. Add in EQ as an FX module. Switch to 11 band in the dropdown menu. This affects what you hear on playback, but doesn't actually change the track.

    Then, program in the inverse of your audiogram. That is, if you're down, say, 10db at a certain frequency, change the EQ in Reaper to add 10db at that frequency.

    Play back Aja or some well produced album to make sure it sounds good.

    It will work best with headphones that are either flat in frequency response, or, maybe, at least typical of what your listeners use, if you have any idea what that might be.
    This bit has got my mind a going...

    Check out this video, in particular the part on the multi-band compressor at 05:30 (I wish Kenny Gioia had something like this but I couldn't find anything from him on mastering). You can use the multi-band compressor in a way of checking your mix given suspected hearing loss issues (I'm guessing we all have hearing loss except for babies). Take Aja, load it in Reaper, run it through the multi-band compressor, adjust the levels to where it is just touching them, then run your mix through that multi-band compressor with the same settings. I'd be looking how my mix was hitting those compressor settings versus how they were hitting when Aja was playing. To make the comparison you probably have to adjust overall volume to level match Aja with your mix.

    And as an aside, I'm struggling to hear the kick on your mix with both my headphones and monitors (maybe one of my hearing loss frequencies?).


  43. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    This bit has got my mind a going...

    Check out this video, in particular the part on the multi-band compressor at 05:30 (I wish Kenny Gioia had something like this but I couldn't find anything from him on mastering). You can use the multi-band compressor in a way of checking your mix given suspected hearing loss issues (I'm guessing we all have hearing loss except for babies). Take Aja, load it in Reaper, run it through the multi-band compressor, adjust the levels to where it is just touching them, then run your mix through that multi-band compressor with the same settings. I'd be looking how my mix was hitting those compressor settings versus how they were hitting when Aja was playing. To make the comparison you probably have to adjust overall volume to level match Aja with your mix.

    And as an aside, I'm struggling to hear the kick on your mix with both my headphones and monitors (maybe one of my hearing loss frequencies?).

    Interesting idea! I'll try it.

    On Muito Non, the Brazilian drummer mixed three tracks down and sent me one. I asked for the three original tracks but didn't get them. So, there's one track and you can't hear the kick very well. I also couldn't EQ or pan.

    In Rick's Samba, I had 8 separate tracks from the American drummer and I mixed the kick where I thought it should go. The tracks are EQ'ed in a couple of places and panned according to how a drummer sets up from the audience perspective (hi hat panned a little to the right, for example). I understand that mixing drums is a complicated art, but I didn't dive deep into it. Fortunately, the drummer liked the mix.

    BTW, since I started using Monitoring EQ (which I set to look like a graph of an airplane taking off ... flat for a while and then a steep climb), I stopped getting complaints about the high frequency instruments being too loud in my mixes. That is, now that I can hear them because of the amplification of those frequencies, I don't turn them up too loud in the actual track.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    Studying with a drummer atm.

    one thing he said is that these micro rhythmic nuances are actually dynamic, they may shift back and forth over the course of a groove and it feels right for them to do this.
    On guitar, Bobby Broom is a master of this sort of thing. He plays with time like it's Silly Putty.

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77 View Post
    It's so easy to get strawmanned in these things. There are some musicians who advice not practicing with a metronome, and many who never went near one, but enough of my favourite musicians practiced with one diligently for me to say that at the very least it does no harm.

    So, in common with most musicians today, I practice with a metronome. A few points I have learned over the years, not responding to you, but just things I've observed:

    1) musicians like VW often don't have a really good map of how they learned, and may not necessarily be able to teach how they learned. Not always true; but worth bearing in mind when looking at lessons from famous musicians like that. Some people with naturally good time may actually be prescribing certain practice activities because it's their best guess. Not always true, as I say. It is true that Emily OTOH said she had crap time and it was working with a metronome that sorted it out, so you do hear these stories. Emily also lived in NOLA and was at one point married to Monty Alexander. This probably also helped.

    I suspect VW had great feel and groove and learned to get it more click accurate later (the traditional way), but you might know more than me.

    2) Most guitarists don't know much about rhythm and aren't very good at it really, realise this, and often pass their own stress and insecurities about their time onto their students. They will repeat what their teacher said, which is probably play with a metronome, which is, luckily, far from the worst advice you can get. However we miss a lot of tricks; we tend not to do things like rhythmic independence exercises and so on that help who a lot of these things. We often tend to be nerdy dudes a bit unaware of our bodies rhythmically.

    My (Konakol) teacher suggests that sometimes as you say it necessary to start with grid accuracy and get freedom from there, much like Emily. I would describe this as the most common view I've come across in education. However there's a deeper level to this which is what causes inaccuracy, and where does it come from?

    3) The metronome doesn't DO anything apart from tell you when you are wrong with respect to the metronome. In order to learn to play better with a click, you have to do the work. Practicing WITH a metronome is only beneficial if your feedback loop works and you can understand why you are getting it wrong.

    Most often, the metronome is a tool for teaching us about ourselves. The problems revealed by practicing with a metronome are not necessarily solved by simply playing with a metronome. For instance:

    4) The metronome is not the only way to practice rhythm. Some things make it easier to synch with a click that aren't praciticing with a click; for instance. Konakol for instance is useful for this, because you spend a lot of time sticking down the 'junction points' in polyrhythm. So it's very useful to do this in order to get better at playing with a click. After all to play with a click, you are practicing synchronisation, not timing per se. Recording yourself is also a good way to learn to evaluate how well your are preforming metronome exercises.

    5) I get the impression some people (not you) I think have the impression that practicing with a metronome is about refining an internal clock. I don't think so - I think most people's internal clock is just fine, but other stuff gets in the way. If you think this is the case, try comparing your performance with a metronome with an instrument in your hands and purely vocally or clapping. For me I am always worse when playing the guitar. So there's something else going on; probably psychological and maybe technical. If you haven't tried this, you maybe surprised. Put the click on at 10bpm, and see what you notice.

    6) Most of our favourite classic jazz musicians learned time on the bandstand and never went near a metronome. As a result their sense of swing and feel is often not on the grid with surprisingly large fluctuations in tempo and so on, while sounding absolutely killing. OTOH, it is expected to be able to play on grid today. Do with that info what you will.

    7) If you practice enough with a metronome, Stevie Wonder starts to sound out of time. This is where I start to wonder. (Boom Ching.)

    8) The metronome doesn't necessarily teach you to be responsible for your own pocket. Players who play almost exclusively with a click get very good at sitting back in the pocket, but often lack confidence in projecting their own rhythmic pocket. Drummers who play on click a lot can be draggy. Perhaps less important for a guitar player who plays with rhythm sections, but something to consider.

    9) Quantisation squishes the life out of everything. It's interesting to see the current gen waking up to this; they grew up with DAW's.

    So the contempt side of it comes from practicing it, but also realising how limited that training, however helpful, in the broader scheme of things. Practicing like a scientist is one thing, playing music like one quite another.
    I believe John Mclaughlin had a DVD method available about the Indian polyrhythms you mentioned. Its good and difficult.

  46. #45
    I had an odd gig for a little while when I lived in Nashville. A singer with a band called Mel and the Party Hats would pay me to bring my drum machine and sit near the sound man for four hours to play the electronic clap function in time with the live band. It was kind of a goofy, funky rock group put together by a not so great singer with pretty good taste in musicians. Robert Pops Popwell played bass sometimes and I got to meet him and ask if we could get together and play sometime? He said he had started a church in Lebanon,Tn. about 30 miles from Nashville. I went out there early on Sunday before others had arrived and Robert sat at the drum set playing bass drum and hihat while playing bass at the same time and I got to play with him for about 30 minutes. He showed me a Hammond B3 organ and Leslie that a member of the Crusaders had donated to his church. I thought this was extremely generous but we reap what we sow. I observed people speaking in tongues which I had never seen before or since. I first heardPops with the Larry Carton Quartet at Dontes in LA opening up with a fast swing version of Misty. Pops did the Olivia Newton John Lets Get Physical Tour with Buzz Feiten and Michael Landau on guitars! I saw them on TV and Buzzy and Michael Landau trading fours was really special! When I lived in NYC I played with drummer Ronald Shannon Jacksons Decoding Society. I had to read to play the heads. Playing with really good drummers helps the most I think. Playing at public open jams is a good way to meet really good drummers to play with and ask if they want to get together and play is a good way to have fun and improve.

  47. #46
    I just looked on YT and there is a video of ONJ Lets Get Physical Live! Looks like she has really good taste in sidemen! People Who Need People BY Stevie Wonder and Barbara Streisand sure sounds good to me! When I first saw ONJ tour video was years ago but her band is really SMOKIN!

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve burchfield View Post
    I believe John Mclaughlin had a DVD method available about the Indian polyrhythms you mentioned. Its good and difficult.
    Johnny McLaughlin was the first Western jazz musician to use Konnakol AFAIK. Popularised it.

    There's a free online from my teacher if you like. Here is lesson one.


    It's not that it is difficult? It's actually more that it offers you a very clear and logical roadmap for doing very complex things. It's a tool box.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    You may be able to hear that this track is not as far ahead of the beat. Much more comfortable for the American ear or time-feel.
    They sound very different to me! I'm not deep into the brazilian thing, but I far far prefer the feel on Muito Non. A great salsa pianist once told me that it should feel like your are leaning out over the very edge of a cliff on time feel, in an exciting way, and that's how Muito Non feels to me. Whereas Rick's samba sounds good but a little more vanilla.

    If the drums are a bit ahead then I feel like the bass really needs to be right on the beat in this style, at least that's how I would hear it, particularly on downbeats.

  50. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    They sound very different to me! I'm not deep into the brazilian thing, but I far far prefer the feel on Muito Non. A great salsa pianist once told me that it should feel like your are leaning out over the very edge of a cliff on time feel, in an exciting way, and that's how Muito Non feels to me. Whereas Rick's samba sounds good but a little more vanilla.

    If the drums are a bit ahead then I feel like the bass really needs to be right on the beat in this style, at least that's how I would hear it, particularly on downbeats.
    Thanks. I appreciate the feedback.

    After our struggle to get this thing to groove, we ended up exactly where you suggest. The bass was pretty much on the click for quarter notes. The drums are 17ms ahead, based on a rough eyeball estimate from the wave form, given that there's natural variation. It's hard to hear 17ms, but you can definitely feel it.

    The pianist moved his track, phrase by phrase, to match the drums. The rhythm guitar was on the beat or late (my bad), and I fixed the notes that were egregiously late by moving them to the click.

    So, the track ended up with some of that forward lean, which, by the way, Brazilian musicians talk about in a similar way, at least, when they're trying to communicate the proper feel to American musicans, in words.