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odd times


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Although I've been into jazz and fusion for a while, I've recently tried to play a lot of the stuff recorded by bands like the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever...and discovered I can't play most of the timings. If anyone could help me out finding how to count 19/16 and/or explaining it to me that'd be great. Just anything that has to do with understanding those types of time would be a great help.
When the music's over.
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Victor, welcome to the Lowdown.


Well, looks like to me that you have 19 16th notes per measure. Kinda like 4/4 time with 3 extra 16th notes or one and a half 8th notes.


Sometimes, it's just getting the tempo down that opens up a piece of music for you. Good luck.



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Some people just break the whole pattern up into 2s and 3s e.g 9/8 as (or counting 1,2, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2,3 and tapping my foot on the ones) [or 3.3.3 or howvever the band is braeking up the time]. When you get used to this you can feel it as shorter and longer rhythmic units. I got this approach from an interview with jazz drummer Marvin 'Smitty' Smith. If it's something like 19/16 then as ATM, I would usually count this as 1234, 1234, 1234, 1234, 123. But whe you hear the tunes often enough they start to come more naturaly.
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Allow me to offer a welcome as well, Victor.


Phil is right. Actually, he said "some people" but he should have said "All people." Odd time signatures are played by grouping into twos or threes.


Think of 2/4 time. 1+2+ is really 2 groups of 2 eighths, and could be counted as 1-2, 1-2. So if we had, say, 5/8 time, it could be grouped as 1-2, 1-2-3 or 1-2-3, 1-2. When I was in conducting school, we were taught to beat the short and long pulses.


Expand that to 7/8, and you'll see that there are 2 "short" beats and one "long" beat. And there are three ways to group them... 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2 is one of the ways.


We've had several pertinent discussions on odd time in our little club. I did a search and came up with 9 pages of hits. One of the best discussions is

Counting Odd Rhythms. I'll have to clean up my post on that thread, where I improperly referred to this as duple and triple "meter."


And one of the best books to practice out of would be "Modern Time In Odd Time Signatures" Here is the Amazon Link, where you'll find this text grouped with a 4/4 companion book. Master these 2 books and you'll be the strongest player out there.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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