Hey guys, I’m trying to work my rhythmic chops a little harder these days. As I’ve been getting further in to Blues You Can Use I’ve found the 12/8 time signature a little difficult to play along to. Maybe it’s because my metronome isn’t ideally suited for it (I’ve just been doing 4/4 with triplets since that’s my only functional option) but some of the pairings of sixteenths-dotted quarter notes to straight quarters and eighths have been mixing me up more than I care to admit.
I’m surprised JohnG doesn’t make much mention or offer advice about the rhythms in the lessons. If there is one minor gripe I have about the book it is that. Now, when I’m learning the song by ear and playing to the recording it’s pretty easy to learn because it’s a by the feel thing, but when trying to slow it down with the metronome and break it down into “separate blocks” for greater analysis and understanding I’m finding it to be troublesome. Anybody have some tips or advice for this? The earlier 12/8 songs were easy enough but as the rhythms have been becoming more complex it’s a lot harder to learn this way. Did John intend for us to learn more by ear anyways? Because that’s a lot easier, I find..
The quadruplets in particular are what’s giving me grief.
Yes, most people count 12/8 time as: "ONE-and-a-TWO-and-a-THREE-and-a-FOUR-and-a". If a quadruplet is inserted, then that counting scheme does not fit, and that would usually be counted as "one-e-and-a-... ". If a quadruplet is inserted let's say on the third beat of an otherwise triplet measure, I would count: (ONE-and-a-TWO-and-a-THREE-e-and-a-FOUR-and-a". I would try setting the metronome to sound on the capitalized numerical beats (so the metronome would sound as 4 beats per measure). Personally, I find all the clicks in a metronome that actually clicks all 12 beats in a measure kind of bothersome. A good exercise for this might to be counting aloud (or playing muted strums): "ONE-and-a-TWO-e-and-a-THREE-and-a-FOUR-e-and-a" over and over to the metronome.
Post by grampalerxst on Jun 11, 2020 12:08:33 GMT -6
I count it the way mentioned above as well. At least in blues 12/8 is just a notation convenience for 4/4 time where the pulse is eighth -note triplets. To fit in a sixteenth I usually just try to mentally divide a beat in half, or if I have to resort to counting ... 1 e and e ah e 2 e and e ah e, etc. But that gets to be a mouthful/brain-full even at slow tempos. Anything more complicated and I'll have to both listen/imitate while coming up with a custom counting method for the particular phrase in question, based on the basic counting mentioned above.
In 12/8 you can also count 16ths as though they are sextuplets which is occasionally useful. I count sextuplets 1-ta-ta-and-ta-ta 2-ta-ta-and-ta-ta etc. I agree that one of the areas I find lacking in most books is that very little guidance is given regarding development of a process for keeping track of time in complicated passages. I guess because it's only pertinent to a minority of us unable to rely on rhythmic intuition to "just do it".
The note being played at this moment *is* the song
Thanks everyone for your helpful replies, it’s greatly appreciated. I also just found out that John has video lessons included with the book, I never realized this! I had downloaded the zip file for all the music but I didn’t notice the video material before now
I also find counting 12/8 difficult. I don't count out complete licks or bars; I find it a lot easier to lock down on the beats just before a lick, for example counting "1, 2, &", and then play the following lick by "feel", where I don't count out that part. That's pretty much how John G explained different licks to me during lessons.
You might find this interesting. Tomaso Zillio has a gift for explaining things clearly. He doesn't address 12/8 specifically. However, you can extrapolate what he says about 6/8 and apply it to 12/8. In 12/8 time there are not 12 beats per measure. There are 4 beats and each is subdivided into triplets.
I totally agree with what Joachim said above. Don't over think this and get caught up in the minutia.