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Re: Teach Yourself about Time (Part One): Using live looping

excellent Rick. I used to practice like that in the 80's with a 
metronome... rush parts of things on purpose, dragging parts of things on 
purpose, till I found unique ways of being loose within the beat. Taping 
myself, listening back, trying to duplicate it on another track. The fact 
that we can loop it on the fly now is just an amazing tool for learning 
about time for sure. Thanks for sharing that.

On Apr 3, 2012, at 3:28 PM, Rick Walker wrote:

> In a lot of interviews I've given about live looping I frequently
> mention that I have learned more about the concept of time and
> timing from playing with loops than even playing with multiple master
> drummers from around the planet (with their very distinctive and 
> idiosyncratic
> approaches to 'feel' in timing) or to playing with click tracks,  drum 
> machines
> or synthesizer sequencers.
> I'm fond of trying to teach myself and my students to really deeply 
> listen
> to what is being played, viz. a vis  timing.
> Human beings naturally project onto reality.   We have a tendency to
> hear what we really want to hear, intentionally, rather than hearing what
> we've actually played.
> It is also possible for us to hear someone who is playing 'behind the 
> beat'
> or 'ahead of the beat' and to think of it as a musical and valid 
> approach.
> To play too far behind the beat causes the music to 'drag' and be 
> perceived
> as a mistake.  Playing to much ahead of the beat, causes the music to 
> 'rush'
> creating yet another kind of mistake.
> There is, therefore, certain amount of perceptual leeway that we consider
> musical even though it is quantized/metronomic-ally inaccurate
> Looping provides us with a truly stellar way to start learning how to 
> listen
> and to 'hear' what is really being played, even if it is slightly 
> inaccurate, viz. a vis
> a quantized metronomic approach.
> If you make a loop that is lumpy (say the downbeat of the bar is really 
> awkwardly
> played too late) it is a really good thing to listen deeply to your 
> mistake and
> then to learn how to play to it as if it WASN'T a mistake.
> I showed this example at a PASIC clinic on live looping once,  where I 
> purposefully
> recorded a loop that had awful downbeat timing......enough to make a 
> famous
> studio drummer groan causing everyone to laugh. By overdubbing a few 
> times and putting long envelope sounds over the 'mistake', however,  
> suddenly this horrible loop sounded musical again.
> In this case, the listeners were able to have a reasonable suspension of 
> disbelief
> in hearing the 'new' loop that I had created.   They bought the piece as 
> musical
> but only because I had 'learned' the mistake and made a conscious effort 
> to obscure
> it.
>  Many kinds of regional rhythmic feels from around the world, are merely
> slight deviations from what people would call 'quantized' metronomic 
> time and, on some
> levels,  also allow us to have a reasonable suspension of disbelief.
> What this means is that it is possible by being able to stretch one's 
> playing....allowing us to
> play to what is actually a 'mistake' in our loop and do it in a way that 
> is musical.
> Here's a fun exercise to begin preparing to 'fix'  inaccurate loops 
> whilst playing live:
> 1) create a single bar loop and purposefully slow down slight as you 
> truncate your loop
> on the downbeat.    Keep the loop running and sit down and really listen 
> to it.
> Now see if you can play another rhythmic part that purposefully aligns 
> with the 'mistake' you've
> created.
> 2) Do this several times (wonderful if your looper has an undo 
> feature---make an overdub
> that 'fit's musically with your lumpy loop and then undo it and try 
> again).
> Now see if you can freely solo over this new feel you have created.
> 3) Do the same exercise and see if you can speed up as you truncate your 
> loop inaccurately.
> 4)  repeat step 2.
> As you play these exercise get more outrageous with how lumpy your loop 
> is.   Even if this sounds
> highly un-musical (even comedic) keep pushing the boundaries of playing 
> behind or ahead of the
> downbeat as you make your purposefully inaccurate loop.
> If you do this enough times,  then suddenly,  try making a normal loop.
> You'll find that your accuracy is much greater for having practiced 
> these exercises.
> Be fearless!   Really learn how to listen to the inaccuracies in your 
> loops.  If you can really
> discern how they vary from the ideal of a quantized/metronomic time,  
> you will
> gain some mad skills at being able to play with anyone or any loop.
> Just for fun,  listen to the amazing German drummer Marco Minnemann as 
> he plays to random
> cartoon dialogue that is looped.    He is playing to what is happening 
> rhythmically.
> I doesn't necessarily fit to any grid but you can impose a grid over the 
> examples and come up with something that is musical.
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHft4OR7Rus
> Rick Walker