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Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

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Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Anon on Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:41 am

Hello everybody.
I'm learning a song that contains groups of eighth notes. The sheet tells me that the eighth notes can be played in a long-short pattern. Isn't this like a dotted eighth note with a sixteenth note? What's the point of writing them as two eighth notes Question Exclamation

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:13 am

I think it might be helpful if you could show us the measures in question. If you have a link to the sheet or can scan the piece.
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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Anon on Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:35 am

It's from Alfred's All-In-One piano course book. Here is the link to the preview in Google books
http://books.google.com/books?id=ULH_8UMFv-oC&printsec=frontcover&dq=alfred+all+in+one&hl=en&ei=Amq2TMTBLoKBlAfk69WQBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=alfred%20all%20in%20one&f=false
One example is a song called Light and Blue (page 16). Another example is The Hokey-Pokey (page 64). Hope that explains my question.

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:47 am

I took a pic of it:



I see what you mean. And I find that a bit silly. A piece of music is written either so or so, and that's how it is supposed to be played. If they wanted you to play it "uneven" it should have been written as a dotted eighth note with a sixteenth note, as you said.
Like the old Egyptians said: So let it be written, So let it be done
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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:49 am

Nevertheless, this is the standard way to write ALL jazz music Wink The rhythm intended is not exactly "Dotted8th - 16th" but is a bit smoother than that (something like "triplet4th-triplet8th") with a small accent on the shorter note. The reason for writing it like that is to make it easier to read.

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Anon on Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:30 am

Thanks everybody. I thought a little along your lines Matthieu but I wasn't sure. Thanks again.

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:40 am

Ahaaa.
I'm unfamiliar with Jazz music (as I don't care for it), and I'd never heard of this concept. A good thing we have people with experience in here. Thanks for explaining this Matthieu.

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:28 am

You don't care for it? Wink Then you lose a lot of gems!






And so on... Wink

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:35 pm

Sorry, I just can't stand Jazz. To me it sounds, at best, like they forgot to agree on what to play before they climbed the stage. At worst, it's just plain noise. But hey, that's just me, I don't like Picasso either Smile

If we all liked exactly the same things, it would be a boring world.


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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:35 pm

I guess you just don't know it enough... Did you listen to all the recordings I sent? Wink For me, it is obvious that as long as you "hate" a musical style and hear it as "noise", it means that you don't understand it... yet. I guess you would say the same about Boulez, maybe even Messiaen, and maybe (who knows) even some of Ravel's music.
But our sensibility is expandable. Jazz is not noise, and people do agree about what to play before starting. Maybe you heard only free jazz, or more modern performers, which are a bad thing to start with (but even them don't play noise!).
Is this noise?



Smile

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:18 pm

No, this is definitely not noise Smile

I like Ella Fitzgerald, but in my mind this is more Blues, than Jazz.
But maybe I'm just referring to what you call "modern jazz".

I did listen to the first two of you previous videos, but didn't make it all the way through, couldn't stand it, he he.
And yes, one shouldn't judge a genre "in general". There are, as a matter of fact classical and other pieces that I can't stand as well, that's just a matter of taste. Oh, by the way, I really like Ravel.

I guess you could say, I'm just old-fashioned. I like a painting to look like something I can recognize. And I like music to be melodic, as in carrying a tune. Which is why I don't like some music, like some Jazz, punk rock and most rap. That doesn't mean I "judge" the music as "bad", it just means I don't like it. I don't like spinach either.




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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:52 pm

I think I just found out exactly what you meant, and why they write notes like that (open to interpretation). I was just playing the first part of Charles Aznavour's "She". Now, I can play it perfectly smooth on the piano (so it sounds like it is sung), but there's no way I can write it down. I have tried (a looong time) every conceivable combination of notes, but no matter how I write those passages, it's not right, it's always "sort of in between". It's driving me up the walls.
Now, I could probably divy the measure up into 64th notes and get'em split so it'll sound pretty smooth, but there's no way anybody's ever going to make sense of trying to read that. Being at an impass, and getting pretty frustrated with myself, I went and had a peek at what sheets might be out there, and sure enough, there are sheets available of different sorts, and you get enough of a preview to play the first part of them. And they all, without exception, had that exact problem - and they sound horrible!
So, I guess I'm down to: I can listen to his beautiful singing, and I can play it by ear, but it can't be written down. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

For anyone not familiar with this particular song, here it is:



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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:08 pm

What Aznavour is doing is yet another thing! He is using rubato, which literally means "stolen time" in order to place the notes of the melody a little bit too early or too late, depending on how he wishes to articulate the phrase. This particular technique was always present in classical music and has been discussed formally since at least the XIXth century, and is one of the central themes of Chopin's music.

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:11 pm

Well, that's fine, they can do that when playing or singing, but how do they convey that in written music, you can't?
I mean, unless we can skip back in time and actually hear Chopin play (oh, I wish), there's no way to know how it was played, we can only see how it's written.
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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:19 pm

We can only see what is written, indeed. But we know enough about music to imagine how it could have sounded. Also, it is very likely that they didn't play it the same way each time, on the contrary.
Also, it is interesting to know that from the middle of the 19th century on, the rhytmical notation became more fluid, using a lot of "tuplets", sometimes even getting rid of the barlines. Also, the agogic vocabulary got extended too: more ritardandi, accelerandi (quantitatively) and new words as "disperato", "smorzando", "mezza voce", also, after Beethoven, some composers started writing agogic words in their native language (good examples are the french impressionists: Debussy, Ravel, etc.) in order to describe it more precisely.

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:28 pm

Ok, there was a number of words in there that I'll have to look up first, but I do get what you mean.
I also get that music is always "open to interpretation". I don't always play a tune the way "it's written", but often "the way I like it".
It is frustrating though that one can't always write exactly what one plays.

And thank God for modern technology that allows us to listen to a recording of the artist him/herself.
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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by VictorCS on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:37 pm

Jazz reminds me of Gran Turismo, the game, they always used jazzy soundtracks appart from in the races. Jazz and blues is kinda what i dislike the most, but I do find some pieces quite good.

It's pretty cool to improvise this kind of music, I turn on a jazzy drum beat, and improvise over it. Great way to practice, even tho i'm not good yet. Also just started to learn arpeggios with the CAGED system on the guitar. Dominant 7th's etc, to get this twisted disonant sound.

A saxophone is perfect for this kind of music Smile
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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Kelly on Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:59 am

Neither am I a jazz fan, even though I used to listen to it quite often when I lived in the US. I was just a child back then and I really didn't mind listening to it. Once my ears became unaccustomed listening to that kind of music I never heard jazz the same way, It sounds kind of messy and disturbing to my ears now.
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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:55 am

I am really amazed to hear such reactions about jazz! I wonder, then, what you all think of this excellent rendition of "oiseaux exotiques" by Messiaen!


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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:08 am

Don't forget part 2 Wink


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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Rickard on Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:12 am

Matthieu Stepec wrote:Don't forget part 2 Wink

Crazy to say the least. Although I understand that the music is incredibly advanced I find it difficult to listen. I suppose it's mostly becuase it takes time to get used to such music. Right now the limit for such kind of music (20th century classical stuff) is at Demon's Souls soundtrack (if most of it can be called 20th century classical stuff), let me show you some examples:













Of course maybe it isn't similar to 20th century classical music but it's still a kind of wierder music but it's awesome. Well what would you call the music genre/s of the music above?

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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:23 am

It sounds like early XXth century russian classical music, such as Prokofiev or sometimes Stravinsky. It's a kind of music that is quite engaging to listen to, that features dissonance but without ever trying to break the rules of tonality.

More incredible awesomeness:


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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:15 am

Oh lord. Messiaen, No Thanks, that is noise without reason to me.

The Demon Soul clips I found interesting though. Not the kind of music I'd listen to to relax, but rather engaging and conveying strong emotions.
Prokofiev is not my favorite exactly either, but the Scythian Suite is melodic and emotion-provoking.

To me the master of descriptive music (as opposed to "just a pretty tune") is Tchaikovsky!
His 1812 Overture for example is wonderful. You can hear the battles, you can see the farmers on the field, you can feel the fortunes of war shifting back and forth. Marvellous.

(this is just a part of it, and not the best recording, but you should see what I mean)


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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by jytte on Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:29 am

Isn't it wonderful how music has the power to move us? It'll give us goose bumps, make us smile or cry, send shivers down our spine, urge us to dance, or bring back fond memories. And all that from an imaginative mind and a few notes. Marvelous.
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Re: Long-Short Eighth Note Rhythm

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:53 am

Tchaikovski as the master of descriptive music? Neutral
Tchaikovski is a romantic composer, most particularily an amazing melodist. But descriptive?
One should not forget that music NEVER describes anything. You can write music that is inspired by facts, by poetry, by feelings, but these facts cannot be transmitted directly through music: if you listen to a piece (any piece) without knowing what it is about, there is little to no chance that you find it out. Because the vocabulary of music is not semantically objective. So, no, you can't hear the fights. You can imagine that he intended to put fights in music, but actually, you are not even sure! Maybe it was just a pretext, and maybe he was depicting an inner fight that he was having (I'm just supposing). Maybe this piece is about his struggle with the intolerance of XIXth century Russia against homosexuality. We will never know.
Descriptive music is not what is opposed to "just a pretty tune". Just a pretty tune means kitschy music, that is music that simply uses the technique and vocabulary of the past, making empty artefacts. This can include descriptive music.
Anyway... Messiaen is certainly not noise Wink and MOST certainly not without reason! Is this noise?



Messiaen extends a tradition that comes from Debussy and Ravel: a tradition that explores the richness of tone sensuality. Dissonances emancipated as such composers started to be able to feel them without their previous concept (for example you can hear dominant7th9th chords, but they are prepared and resolved in a very strict way: Debussy starts to listen to them for what they are: a beautiful "tone") This concept broadened the palette of musical possibilities. If you stick to a Beethovenian tonal concept, then you don't understand your own time.
I don't mean that Beethoven sucks, of course! I just mean that we, as people of the 21st century, should be able to understand his music as well as OURS (and our music is NOT easy-listening kitschy tunes by Richard Clayderman...)

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