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Re: Static Loops, Quantized Sequences and Music that Breathes
Quoting RICK WALKER <email@example.com>:
> D. wrote:
> " the drummer doesn't like clicks or
> flashing lights & in any case, we all think that for the music to be
> able to "breathe", we don't want quartz-locked BPM.
> Having been a live and studio drummer professionally for 30 years I
> feel compelled to
> chime in here...
This topic is fascinating and so relevant to the looping genre wherein
we humans (inherently intuitive and flexible) interact with machines
My professional work is as a classical organist. Most (electric
action) pipe organs are inherently sloppy. Often times the console
(the keyboards) are seperated by great distances to the pipes. Before
the day of solid state actions, the the combined travel time of all
the mechanical relay switches contributed to the slop. As a result of
all of this, most organists learn to play "ahead of the beat" to
compensate for the delays. Add to this that we are also trying to
pull congregations along to keep them from dragging... again, playing
a little ahead of the beat. Now, if this isn't enough to destroy
one's sense of timing, consider that most hymns are written with
straight, un-syncopated rhythmns.
To practice organ with a metronome is quite an experience -- you hear
the music half a beat after you hit the notes!
I have often thought that organists should be REQUIRED to study drums
as a second instrument as an antidote to the straight rhythmic
language of most traditional church music.
As beautiful as soaring melodies and sonorous harmonies are, rhythm is
the force that drives the music -- even when percussion instruments
aren't used. In an involved work, such as a Bach fugue, a missed note
or two isn't too noticeable however a botched rhythm messes everything
Well, I can't say that I have looped any organ music. My looping
work is with electronic instruments -- synthesizers and theremin.
The discussion here about rhythm -- to play ahead of and behind the
beat -- suggests that this rhythmic push/pull imparts "life" to the
music the same as harmonic tension/resolution. One notices that
there must be a beat: "the reference beat" around which to play. A
click track, other musicians, or one's own internal clock may provide
the reference beat. So, a drummer that doesn't like click tracks is
well... a little suspect! Hopefully his preference is not to LISTEN
to a click track though one hopes that he could stay in tempo with one
Whether I listen to a click track or not, I find it necessary to have
some kind of "reference" -- an internal click track -- so that my
performance will have energy.
To make music with loops forces the rhythmic issue to the fore. Even
if the music is non-percussive, one must play with precision to avoid
"slop" and, at the same time, play with enough flexibility to impart
life and emotion to the music. As does consonance and dissonance, the
ebb and flow of "on" and "off" beat rhythm imparts warmth, humanness,
and energy to the music.