January 8, 2013

Improve your rhythm

Every style of music has at its root rhythm and if the rhythm feels shaky the whole tune feels ....well, not that great. One great tool to improve your rhythm playing is to transcribe rhythms. You can take any song or solo and just transcribe the rhythm part. Put down the guitar and get a pencil and paper instead. Train your brain to recognize the beat and all the subdivision that are going on. Transcribing rhythm is making you think and notate graphically what you hear. Having a clear visual understanding helps you to understand and play rhythms better. This mathematical layer of understanding is what Wayne Krantz calls ' the grid'.  Also Pat Metheny talks about this in an interview. Pat can feel the smallest subdivision in the pit of his stomach. 16th notes for pop songs and 16th note triplets for jazz. You’ll be amazed at what you can discover if you don’t have to think about chords, notes or scales. 

Start with simple tunes such as Happy Birthday,Frere Jaques, Skip to my lou etc. Transcribe those irritating commercials and learn from them.  If you have no problems with that you can pick harder tunes of course. Some Chick Corea perhaps?

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