Counting music

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by lhallam, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Here's how I was taught to count music.

    Counting music is important for three reasons:

    1) It helps you keep the beat
    2) It helps you figure out how to play a figure
    3) It helps you keep track of where you are in the music

    4/4 = 4 beats to a measure, the 1/4 note receives the full value of one beat/pulse

    Examples below are in 4/4:

    one whole note - counted 1 - (2 3 4) (parens = count in your head) So in this example: (WONNNN)

    two 1/2 notes - counted 1-(2) 3-(4) (WONN Threeee)

    four 1/4 notes - counted 1-2-3-4

    eight 1/8 notes - counted 1-an 2-an 3-an 4-an

    twelve 1/8 note tripletts - counted 1-la-lee 2-la-lee 3-la-lee 4-la-lee or 1-trip-let 2-trip-let 3-trip-let 4-trip-let

    sixteen 16th notes - counted 1-e-an-da 2-e-an-da 3-e-an-da 4-e-an-da

    or

    1-ta-tay-teh 2-ta-tay-teh 3-ta-tay-teh 4-ta-tay-teh

    Note: My college profs preferred 1-ta-tay-teh because 1-e-an-da caused students to swing the beat.

    twenty four 16th note tripletts - 1-te-la-ta-lay-teh 2-te-la-te-lay-teh 3-te-la-te-lay-teh 4-te-la-te-lay-teh

    I was told to feel quintuplets (5 notes for one beat) and septuplets (7 notes for one beat) and 32nd and 64th notes. So I have no syllables for them.

    I have little idea how to count polyrhythms using syllables. Vai's site has some insight but doesn't tell you how to use syllables.

    http://www.vai.com/LittleBlackDots/tempomental.html -- good article BTW.

    I know that Indian rudiments use different syllables which may cover what I don't know such as quintuplets and polyrhythms.

    Please contribute.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  2. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

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    Or you can use letters

    1 a b c 2 a b c 3 a b c 4 a b c

    Want fives?

    1 a b c d 2 a b c d

    Sevens?

    1 a b c d e f

    All those weird sounds are just more to have to remember IMO, keep it simple.
     
  3. BBHollowbody

    BBHollowbody Member

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    Use "Guacamole Queen" for fives. Didn't you learn that from "Inca Roads" :D

    Seriously I use some Indian syllable thing that someone taught me.
    Most 5's and 7's are additive. Like 2+2+3 or 3+2.

    I use gamala for 3 and taka for 2.

    Taka taka gamala would be 7. Or Gamala taka taka, or taka gamala taka depending on where the accents lie.

    Taka gamala or gamala taka for 5's.
     
  4. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Cool Joe, this is a new one for me.
     
  5. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Same here...
    Except I use taka for 2, and takadame for 4.
     
  6. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    FWIW, the cool thin on the syllable thing is that it leads itself for the right rhythm.
    Explaining to somebody the difference between 4 to the beat and 5 seems much easier/simpler this way. As in...
    ta-ka-da-me vs. ta-ka-ga-ma-la.
    as aoppossed to 1-a-b-c vs. 1 a b c d
    The sylables roll off much easier. to me at least.
     
  7. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    I like the way the Indian syllables roll as well.

    If in 4/4, how do you know if you're on the 1,2,3 or 4 using the Indian syllables?
     
  8. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Ha? I don't understand the question...
     
  9. BBHollowbody

    BBHollowbody Member

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    That I don't know. You might have to ask Sandip Burman or Zakir Hussein that one.

    Seems like they don't worry about that as much, but rather keep it as little bits of information that add together.

    Takadame takadame gamala gamala taka.
     
  10. BBHollowbody

    BBHollowbody Member

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    I think he means like how I was taught in school:

    1-ee-and-a
    2-ee-and-a
    3-ee-and-a
    so on.

    Unfortunately my elementary school teacher didn't have one of those for 7.:rolleyes:
     
  11. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    well...
    ta-ka-da-me for 4 (16th)
    gamala for 3 (triplet)
    ga-ma-la-ta-ka-da-me
    or
    ta-ka-da-me-ga-ma-la for 7

    Also the syllable way makes sense to me for stuff that turns four note patterns into say 7 feels, or vice versa.
     
  12. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    I was asking how you know which beat you are on within a measure without saying |4/4 1-2-3-4| 1-2-3-4|1-2-3-4:||

    Taka = two 1/8th notes but which beat? Are they on the 1-2-3 or 4?

    In thinking bout it, I see that it doesn't matter.

    When counting off pickup to a tune, instead of saying 1-an-2-an-3-an-- you could say taka-taka-taka--. Or if you're John Lennon - Sugar Plum Fair-y Sugar Plum Fair-y.

    Ever heard a horn player do tut-taka tongue exercises? Edgar Winter is incredible at it.
     
  13. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Check out Inidan guys doing the mouth drumming...UNFREAKINBELIEVABLE!!!
     
  14. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Oh yeah, I've heard the tabla players going through the rudiments and yes they are incredible.
     
  15. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

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    I am an idiot I guess, my little brain likes:

    1 a b c versus 1 a b c d

    I can remember D comes after C, just don't count on me for anything after the letter L. :rolleyes:

    For some unknown reason, musical education always finds a way to make thing 10x more complicated than they need to be. It is like some club where you can only speak Latin in, helps keep the riff raff out. When I taught I tossed 1/2 of the stuff I learned out the window and boiled the concepts down to the lowest common denominator. You can feel I did my students a disservice, but they all felt that they finally understood concepts that at one time seemed beyond their abilities.

    When you go to the doctor and you ask him a question you want a SIMPLE answer that a non-doctor can understand. If the time comes where medicine interests you so much you decide to go to medical school, you can cross these bridges at that time. :D
     
  16. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    I'm not having any opinions to whether you did your students a disservice.
    But dismissing the usage of words that roll with the rhythm over using letters does not equate with being in a club where you can only speak latin.
    That would be the same as me telling you thinking in modes is useless becuase I find keycenter thinking the easier approach.

    BTW, are you always this defensive?
     

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