foot tapping discovery

willhutch

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,916
There have been some recent posts about Al Dimeola lessons. I watched and found that much of Al's comments on youtube are about keeping the tempo consistent and tapping your foot.

So I worked on tapping my foot. Hey - it helps!!!

I practiced by playing a non-challenging backing track at a medium tempo. I tapped my foot with conscious effort. I then played. Eventually, I entered into a pleasurable zone where my hands were locking in with my foot. It felt very much like dancing.

Adding the tapping foot seems to connect me physically with the beat in a way that I don't get without the tapping. When locking up to my tapping foot, I am more sensitive to the tension and release of the on and offbeats. Syncopation feels really good.

The issue of tapping my foot with precise meter still remains, of course. But I think I may have found something here that will help me experience music in a new way.

Try it!
 

Kappy

Member
Messages
14,049
Some people really bag on it, but I can't help do some type of tapping if I'm getting into it. I can play without doing it, but I don't really see how it detracts from my own playing and enjoyment of what I'm playing when I do -- though I could understand if I'm too loud about it others I'm playing with might not dig it.
 

Swain

Member
Messages
2,404
I always have my students tap their feet. For the same reasons you mentioned.

Just like telling a story. If you're into the story, others will be more interested in hearing it. And tapping your foot can get you a whole other level of connection and depth to the rhythms.

Good for you, and the listener.
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,908
The most helpful thing I ever learned as a musician,
was to feel tunes in cut time whenever possible ..

It has allowed me to play & fit in with Afro-Cuban, Brazilian
& other world beat musicians in a much more relaxed way ..

In other words, to subdivide 4 taps into two taps..
or body movements ...

Watching Mike Stern move back & forth to a groove while
he is soloing is a great lesson in this ....
 

ivers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,595
In other words, to subdivide 4 taps into two taps..
or body movements ...

As usual I agree with you, Joseph, I try to either tap every other, or just sway my body like an old style metronome, or do a little 'dance' thing that probably is embarrassing to look at, but works nicely for me.

It's weird how my concept of the beat has changed. Before I saw it as these moving targets I needed to shoot, now I see it more as a continuous wave that reaches its crest at the beat (so 1 is a crest, 2 is a crest etc).
 

Bussman

Member
Messages
2,822
...It's weird how my concept of the beat has changed. Before I saw it as these moving targets I needed to shoot, now I see it more as a continuous wave that reaches it's crest at the beat (so 1 is a crest, 2 is a crest etc).

That's a really good way of looking at it. Makes for a very flexible yet accurate concept of time once you wrap your mind around it. Good tip.
 

Shiny McShine

Member
Messages
9,493
Said in my best Arnold voice:
What a bunch of girly-men. Try studying African percussion for a year or so (before it was a fad by the way for me), doing elemental rhythm studies at the Faunt Conservatory and working with a dance coach for about 4 years. That'll get your rhythm going.

Said in my best Frenchman-on-the-castle-voice in Monty Python's Holy Grail:
I laugh at your simple foot tapping nonsensical talk.
 

gennation

Member
Messages
8,059
I started as a drummer. So at an early age I kept the pulse with my foot and dealt with all the subdivisions with my hands when playing snare rudiments. I can't even imagine playing without tapping my foot or bopping my head. It's like helping the music live or something...it's got to move ya.
 

Kappy

Member
Messages
14,049
Said in my best Arnold voice:
What a bunch of girly-men. Try studying African percussion for a year or so (before it was a fad by the way for me), doing elemental rhythm studies at the Faunt Conservatory and working with a dance coach for about 4 years. That'll get your rhythm going.

Said in my best Frenchman-on-the-castle-voice in Monty Python's Holy Grail:
I laugh at your simple foot tapping nonsensical talk.
Does flashdance count?
 

chrisrob

Member
Messages
42
A friend of mine saw Al Dimeola play at Spivey hall near me awhile back. He said that the foot tapping was actually loud enough to be distracting. I guess it was some bad combination of hard shoes/floor and good acoustics...

I guess the lesson is to make sure your guitar speaks louder than your foot.
 

triple_vee

Senior Member
Messages
1,141
I'll go one step further (pardon the pun) and assert that once you can tap on every beat, the next thing you should aspire to is to tap only on the 2 and 4 (do a search for Tomo).

The thing that Tomo advises regarding tapping on 2 and 4 really improved my rhythmic feel. When you tap on every beat, it's like driving those cars at Six Flags...you can let yourself deviate slightly because there will be a reference point every beat that you can correct yourself against. When the "beat" duration is longer (2 and 4), it forces you to "let go" of the crutch (reference point every beat) and be much more in tune with the musical phrase and its relationship over the 2 and 4.

Breaking down phrases into quarter note beats and then subdividing the quarter note creates rhythmic building blocks that might have "meaning" mathematically but not musically. Once you start breaking down phrases over the 2 and 4 do the rhythmic building blocks (and thus your rhythmic vocabulary) become musically more interesting, meaningful, and significant.

That's what I have found for myself at least.
 

Shiny McShine

Member
Messages
9,493
Does flashdance count?

Only if you also saw Dirty Dancing around the same time.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if you have to tap your toe to feel where the beat is, you've got pathetic rhythm. Also, it would interfere with moving outside the explicit rhythm of the song like when a guitar phrase moves in and out of time or when a bass player plays behind the beat.
 

willhutch

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,916
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if you have to tap your toe to feel where the beat is, you've got pathetic rhythm. Also, it would interfere with moving outside the explicit rhythm of the song like when a guitar phrase moves in and out of time or when a bass player plays behind the beat.

I don't think people tap their feet to feel where the beat is. I think it is about connecting in a physical way to the pulse. Having never been a foot-tapper, I found it helped to lock-in in a new way. Not that I was, like, horrible before.

I think you are going out on a limb. There are a million foot-tapping musicians out there - Al D and John Mclaughlin come to mind. Plus the millions of teachers who have been saying tap your foot for generations. I don't think all those pros have pathetic meter.
 

Shiny McShine

Member
Messages
9,493
OK, I took it a little too far. Nonetheless, toe tapping is to full body rhythm awareness what Taco Bell is to Mexican Food. Odd too because when I think of artists known for their rhythm, I don't think of those two. I would have said Charles Mingus, Sly Dunbar, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, etc.
 




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