Rhythmic motifs -- any great instructional sources?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by frdagaa, May 16, 2011.

  1. frdagaa

    frdagaa Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Lots of info out there about what to play melodically/harmonically (e.g. where to put a mixolydian in blues, what notes to play over a Bbmaj7#5, higher triads, quartal voicings, you name it.) Videos, books, etc.

    But so little attention seems to be paid to the same type of thing from the rhythmic side.

    I'd love to see some videos, for instance, where the instructor guitarist plays some great phrase and then explains what he did rhythmically. "This lick started on the upbeat before 3 and featured a run of 16th notes against the shuffle background beat....like so..." and then go on and demonstrate it again.

    Or " here I play just simple eighth notes, but I place them slightly behind the beat, like so..."

    I know there are drumming books for such, and sight reading texts that introduce you to all sorts of rhythmic patterns so that you can gain facility with playing them off the page. But, dammit, a lot of us just aren't ever going to sight read, and we need to build up our rhythmic vocab too.

    I think it's not done as much because rhythms are more easily captured just by listening and parroting back. My contention is that this is not enough, and that formalized instruction in rhythmic motifs could be really helpful to non-sight readers in expanding their musicality, improvisational sophistications, ability to nail the authenticity of a particular style of music, etc.

    Anyone know of any good sources?
  2. russ6100

    russ6100 Member

    Dec 26, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I think you hit the nail on the head here:

    Just from my own personal experience, copping rhythms, syncopations and "feels" kind of came natural to me, maybe it was the all the music I was raised around.

    I do think that note choice and "what scale over what chord" seems to get a lot more emphasis in academia than rhythm and time-feel, but it's not hard to understand why. If more students were made to face the hard reality that their mastery of rhythm and time-feel was lagging far behind the rest of their achievements, and moreover, that without a great rhythmic component to their playing, all the other stuff is just moot, there'd be a lot more students / parents asking for their money back, and / or yanking their kids out of these institutions, and we can't have that, can we? ;)
  3. purestmonk

    purestmonk Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    what i personally do is copy a rhythmic motif that i like and i play along with the motif on the recording first to capture the "feel"

    then i take a tune that i know and use that motif through the tune
    after that you can start modifying the motif

    i think it acts as a good springboard to bring out the rhythmic inner you
  4. frdagaa

    frdagaa Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2007
    Yeah Baby! This is exactly what I'm talking about!

    Like the first one -- If I heard this, I could sit down and learn to parrot this back. But by featuring this rhythmic motif as an entity to learn, you are expanding my rhythmic chops. IOW, I might have appreciated it when I heard it, but it wouldn't have necessarily been something that I would have taken the time to copy and integrate into my playing. Now I will.

    Would love more!

    BTW, I LOVE your playing!

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