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Keith White

 

Posts: 5
Joined: Jan. 28 2014
 

counting issues whilst playing 

OK, first of all, I have searched the forum but, perhaps I'm searching for the 'wrong' terminology.

Let me tell you what is happening and also, this is NEW to me. Flamenco as opposed to the guitar which likely isn't helping.

I'm working with 2 very simple forms.

Solea and Tangos.

If I count... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 I have no issues.

What I'm finding, more so with solea, is my brain, when I'm relaxing into the feel, is instead breaking it down more like...

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & especially when introducing my as yet simple rasgueo.

Is this just something that will come with time. Should I in fact, BE trying to count my way through everything or, should I invest in a flamenco style metronome ?

Help.

Thanks.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 12:07:16
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

In all honesty I think the best thing is to tap your foot on every beat and sing along with a recording of a simple solea.

That's hours and hours of work right there. Do it in the car on the way to work or while out walking.

You will probable need a rhythmical solea for that. Once you can do that then count instead of singing.

That way you get to focus on listening and your subcouscious gets to figure out the compas. And the thing is that solea is a group of compases really, there is no one size fits all way of feeling it because the music mixes things up so much. It is far better to feel it first with an authentic recording because when you are playing yourself the feel may not be what was intended.

Best of luck.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 12:30:30
 
Keith White

 

Posts: 5
Joined: Jan. 28 2014
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

Thanks for the advice.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 12:36:38
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

Slow down, break it into smaller pieces. Counting while you play is a must when your starting out. Eventually someday you won't have to(or it happens subconsciously). You gotta do it though.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 13:45:32
 
n85ae

 

Posts: 865
Joined: Sep. 7 2006
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

I was practicing rather repetitive compas patterns and noticed on a couple that I was
turning 12 beats into 10, until I slowed way down and repeated slowly beat by beat
until I got it stuck in my brain. So I think David's suggestion to tap every beat is the
logical fix. I can't agree to singing part for myself since it doesn't fit the way I
remember things (it would work for my daughter since she sings everything) however
when I can hear it in my mental recorder either from repetition, or listening then I
can usually play something much easier.

Oddly (or maybe not) I do a lot better at Falseta's for keeping time than for Compas strumming. Seems that repeating patterns make it easier to make the
chain slip a tooth or two on the sprocket.

Regards,
Jeff
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 14:11:31
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

That's common. It's easier to count to twelve then it is to say 1, 12 times.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 15:04:53
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Leñador

Counting in four sets of three is easy way to feel it. Also tapping every beat is good practice, and after lots of practice, tap only the accents, that would be very helpful thing to learn especially if doing accompanying. I have never counted to twelve when playing, probably because it distracts me too much. However four sets of three can be felt quite easily and don't require counting

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 15:10:33
 
athrane77

Posts: 785
Joined: Feb. 6 2011
From: Reykjavik

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

Stop counting!!!! Try to learn a waltz or something first. I messed so much time thinking about 12 and 3 and 9 and 10. after I learned to groove on a simple 3/4 rhythm everything has become natural. Forget those numbers, It is just and synchopated 3/4 rhyhtm. I suggest to learn some Fandango de Huelva stuff before you start with bulerias or soleares.
Listen and try to feel compás. It's all about that. Couting is probably the most gratuitous thing when you want to learn flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 15:32:05
 
n85ae

 

Posts: 865
Joined: Sep. 7 2006
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

That's too simplistic. If you are sitting with a group of people playing, and you feel
the groove fair enough that works. However if you are trying to learn a new set of
patterns, then no just "feeling" the groove does not work. Once you know the
new patterns, then you can keep in time by feeling the groove.

It sorts of like this - When you know how to play something then you can "feel"
the groove to stay in time. When you are learning something new you have to
count.

It's not that I can't play or keep time, I can. The issue is I know how I learn,
and best of all I know very well how I can royally screw something up I am in the process of learning.

click-click-click dead straight metronome, and foot tapping, with counting is the
only way to correctly learn a piece of music. then feeling the groove to keep it
flowing correctly once you learn it.

All that said - This might NOT be the best way for other people, but for me it
is the only correct way.

Regards,
Jeff
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 16:24:39
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13512
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to tele

quote:

ORIGINAL: tele

Counting in four sets of three is easy way to feel it. Also tapping every beat is good practice, and after lots of practice, tap only the accents, that would be very helpful thing to learn especially if doing accompanying. I have never counted to twelve when playing, probably because it distracts me too much. However four sets of three can be felt quite easily and don't require counting



AT most, this is also what I advocate. However most students can do without counting. Metronome is essential for developing sense of steady tempo, but for learning I steer people away from fancy "flamenco" metronomes and such. Just a basic click is more useful. Flamenco metronomes are fun to use after you are already playing a lot of material in compas. But too many fall into traps of counting and chasing accents rather than grooving. Only count to 3 if you must count at all, learn how to feel phrases of different lengths and learn precise technique for making music, ie strumming patterns for compas or exact numbers of notes and spaces of a falseta, with a simple click. The music itself will add up to the correct phrasing and it will feel much more natural than if you try to force your playing into a counting cycle.

I post this vid a lot, but I recommend it as the fastest way to learn flamenco music. Here i am learning a falseta of tomatito in a short time with having only had a quick look at the encuentro book/video. No counting needed as simply adding up the notes and spaces to a steady groove create the compas cycle. Now if I made a mistake about adding note or space it would be off I admit. It is good to keep yourself in check about it, but keep the groove going.
http://youtu.be/axEJYoc_OOU
Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 16:47:48
 
n85ae

 

Posts: 865
Joined: Sep. 7 2006
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

I've seen that video before Ricardo, and it certainly seems to work for you ... BUT
you are a gifted musician! For me (not a gifted musician) I do a super slo-mo version
of that, which includes a lot of stopping to look at paper and the fretboard. Then
when finally I remember all the notes I then go back and correct all my timing and
phrasing issues.

I will admit though, and reluctantly, that after almost ten years on the Foro I find
I like learning by watching somebody (video, etc) than working off a tab, etc. So
often the tab misses entirely the part about how to make something sound
correct.

Jeff
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 17:17:11
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to n85ae

I agree with jof...stop counting ...just listen a lot and play and use a flamenco metronome and just get used to it ..then thats how it works ....people dont count to the first chord change in the blues ...yoiu just get used to it so you can jump in any time ...
I think that you are overthinking things and making your own life complicated

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 17:43:13
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13512
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to n85ae

quote:

of that, which includes a lot of stopping to look at paper and the fretboard. Then
when finally I remember all the notes I then go back and correct all my timing and phrasing issues.


Gifted or not, students should not be memorizing notes unless those notes are intrinsically tied to the correct rhythm from the get go.

It's the equivalent of trying to learn a poem, but first memorizing all the letters, then later trying to "work out" what the words and sentences where based on all those letters. The student should not move forward past the first word until it is both memorized and understood. Then the next word, then the next, then back to the first word and do the entire sentence, and so forth. Learning music by slowly repeating notes, that your brain might be tying to the wrong rhythms anyway, is not very efficient.

Ricardo

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www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 17:52:15
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

I may be a moron but when I was learning and especially when I was just hanging out on the tonic I would loose track of which group of 3 I was on.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 17:57:49
 
Keith White

 

Posts: 5
Joined: Jan. 28 2014
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

well, I didn't expect so many responses.

Quite conflicting too.

I listen to a fair bit and it stuns me when, well, the approach seems to be "This falseta is a bit longer, so lets lengthen the beat". Sort of, if it doesn't fit, stretch it.

It's in these zones I'm struggling. I'm pretty good with most timings, even compound but they still follow the X amount of quarter notes for example, FIT in this bar. I'm probably wrong but sometimes it feels to me, some falsetas seem way longer between some beats, than others. Obviously this is allowed and it doesn't detract from the 'music'. I'm just used to structure and bricks that stack up, not rubber bricks that bend around corners.

I also find I'm not completely following the llamada and changes in compas if the music is more complex. So lets suggest the first 2 beats are silent in a solea, I can follow that, but they aren't always.

Could anyone perhaps suggest some clear cut pieces where the rhythm is solid.

Sorry if i'm not making sense and perhaps I'll try tapping the foot, and get a metronome to try both. It can't hurt as right now, it's not happening.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 18:09:10
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13512
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Leñador

quote:

I may be a moron but when I was learning and especially when I was just hanging out on the tonic I would loose track of which group of 3 I was on.


You are not a moron, but I ask in what context were you learning to "hang out on the tonic"??? If you work with a metronome A LOT...eventually the "track" is not ever lost as it's ticking away inside you even after the music has stopped.

quote:

I also find I'm not completely following the llamada and changes in compas if the music is more complex. So lets suggest the first 2 beats are silent in a solea, I can follow that, but they aren't always.


Wow, why are you already wrapped up in llamadas and such and don't have a feel for the basic compas yet?

I suggest it's time to get a teacher to straighten you out. A single short lesson on basics could have you on your way.


In general, students should be approaching flamenco as simple THEME and VARIATIONS....that being your basic theme has already defined the compas. Assuming you can play it after having practiced it so much and repetitively that it is a mindless groove you can play in your sleep, it's next time to add variations ON TOP of the theme you understand. So new music is in no way compromising your basic foundation, you just add new details on top of it. And continue this way forever pretty much. Even advanced players are simply adding little details to what they already know, whether that is something borrowed from a maestro, or "discovered" when improvising or accompanying etc.

Ricardo

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 18:28:35
 
Leñador

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

quote:

You are not a moron, but I ask in what context were you learning to "hang out on the tonic"???


Like this entrada kind of thing you hear in the beginning. I had to count that as 123 123 12 12 12, I couldn't count that as 123 123 123 123, I loose track of which group of 123's im on. Even the 123 123 12 12 12 was harder for me then just going 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12..........



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 20:48:40
 
n85ae

 

Posts: 865
Joined: Sep. 7 2006
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Ricardo

For me I have to get at least a few beats worth of notes in my memory before I
can put them in time, or else my brain locks up because I don't know where I am
going. A page of notes? No. But at least enough notes that I know where I am
going. I simply cannot go one note at a time like you do in the video.

On the other hand there have been times I thought "Ricardo" was wrong, only
to find out later that indeed he was right. (gee, that's not nearly as painful as
admitting my wife is right ...)

Jeff

quote:

Gifted or not, students should not be memorizing notes unless those notes are intrinsically tied to the correct rhythm from the get go.

It's the equivalent of trying to learn a poem, but first memorizing all the letters, then later trying to "work out" what the words and sentences where based on all those letters. The student should not move forward past the first word until it is both memorized and understood. Then the next word, then the next, then back to the first word and do the entire sentence, and so forth. Learning music by slowly repeating notes, that your brain might be tying to the wrong rhythms anyway, is not very efficient.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 21 2014 21:24:35
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Gifted or not, students should not be memorizing notes unless those notes are intrinsically tied to the correct rhythm from the get go.

It's the equivalent of trying to learn a poem, but first memorizing all the letters, then later trying to "work out" what the words and sentences where based on all those letters. The student should not move forward past the first word until it is both memorized and understood. Then the next word, then the next, then back to the first word and do the entire sentence, and so forth.


I totally agree with Ricardo. This is how i study myself, how i expect my students to study and how i received and give lessons. Obviously when studying "word by word" as Ricardo calls it you are totally free to take all the time you need to get it right. Before you play anything (either a letter, a syllable, a word or a combination of words) you have to be aware of the rhythmical/musical context of every single note involved. Obviously some notes are more important as other notes. Most important are the melodic keynotes (the melodic accents). The other melody notes generally are either heading for that note or leaving it. On top you have to integrate various supporting noters like bass notes, chords, coloring notes, arpeggios etc., all to be played in a natural and clear relation to the main melody and it's natural accents. When a melodic line lacks flow it might help to play the accented melody note first a couple of times, giving it your full love and attention. Next you add 1 or more of the notes heading for it (or leaving it) WITHOUT LOOSING THAT ORIGINAL FEELING OF DROPPING THAT KEY NOTE. When things become really complicated i study the events layer by layer, starting with the main event, then the notes directly linked to the main line, next the notes linked to those notes etc.

So before you play anything (either a letter or a word or a combination of words) you have to be aware of the musical context of every single note involved in other words you have to know in advance what you want to express. Next you have to find the proper technique to express exactly that feeling. Like Paco Peña i favor musical understanding and perfect biomechanics/movement/relaxation over playing it rhythmically correct at first. If i need a little more time in the beginning to handle my fingers, to check if they are sufficiently relaxed or to make mental notes of other things i find important i just take that time. Playing fluently means pairing the correct thought to the correct action and tolerating imperfections in order to be "on time" to me is another example of being impatience.

Once i have my thoughts and actions covered (taking all the time i need to get them right) it is time to drill like Ricardo is doing in that bulerias demonstration. I try to avoid playing any faster then i can (perfect thought,action and execution are essential) and generally prefer to study at very low speeds. Obviously when you already have a good technique you can study new material at the tempo Ricardo demonstrated. If you are less handy just adapt lower speeds or do what i do....every time i notice an imperfection i take a step back, studying single letters or syllables again in relation to technical aspects and musical context.

Above is how i study music. On top you have to study the biomechanics of single fingers/moves and parts of fingers/moves (as well as simple combinations) at extremely low speeds/free of speed. On top one also needs to do tons of tonal/dynamic/rhythm studies, just to have a full pallet of colors to chose out.
Once you have the skills to execute things on the spot it's also very affective to focus on the rhythm/dynamics first and then add the notes. I generally favor to execute the pulse a couple of times in my mind first before executing it on the guitar, with or without visualizing the technique as well. But in all cases it is basically a "word by word" approach, either executed on the guitar alone or in dialog with your inner self (i used to think "how would i sing this" but switched to "how would i dance this", telling a good story having only rhythm and dynamics to my disposal).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2014 0:24:25
 
athrane77

 

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Joined: Feb. 6 2011
 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2014 0:49:02
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13512
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to n85ae

quote:

going. I simply cannot go one note at a time like you do in the video.


Well, if you look closer you notice I don't just go one note at a time, I do mostly 4 or 5 note phrases at a time, as a group, to bridge the beat gaps I do with my foot. In the cases I add and focus on a single note, they are usually contra beats that are important for setting up the NEXT phrase of 4 or 5 notes. And so on. What I am doing is a sort of game of getting from one beat to the next properly, and I don't move on to the next beat (foot tap) until I have mastered that loop of a few notes. At a MEDIUM tempo. Neither fast or slow. Now I use my foot as the metronome and I don't play metronomically on purpose, so for extra tricky spots I can slow it down a little then bring it back up gradually till it matches the other parts I have already "mastered". But the foot is important so I have a way to "feel" all the notes relative to each other. I don't mean to imply it's ok to let the foot change speeds as you please when performing, rather I am using it as a quick tool when learning instead of stopping the groove to change the speed dial for a certain little group of 5 notes. If you can't tap your foot and keep with the metronome when you play then the foot is not going to be a good tool by itself. Metronome is always your friend.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2014 6:46:08
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3400
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: counting issues whilst playing (in reply to Keith White

quote:

I listen to a fair bit and it stuns me when, well, the approach seems to be "This falseta is a bit longer, so lets lengthen the beat". Sort of, if it doesn't fit, stretch it.

It's in these zones I'm struggling. I'm pretty good with most timings, even compound but they still follow the X amount of quarter notes for example, FIT in this bar. I'm probably wrong but sometimes it feels to me, some falsetas seem way longer between some beats, than others. Obviously this is allowed and it doesn't detract from the 'music'. I'm just used to structure and bricks that stack up, not rubber bricks that bend around corners.
what are you listening to? can you post a clip or video or some kind of reference?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 22 2014 15:23:57
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