Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Half-time feel funk: the “Syncopation” section — a small tweak

Continuing with my late Reed funk method here, which now has its own label— click on that link to get the whole series. It's becoming quite substantial— I see a book in our future...

If you've been working on the last entry in this series, you might have felt, as I have, that none of the interpretations is 100% satisfactory in creating a real, final-product funk feel. You need to apply your own musicianship, and transform the materials with your playing and improvising to turn them into something real. That's fine, you can continue developing the things you like, and understand that the things you don't like have a purpose as well. But we can also continue refining our method, to make the results hipper and more like a finished drum groove, without making the reading too absurdly, counter-productively difficult.

One of the things I don't like in the interpretations, is where you get into running 8th notes on the same drum. So let's break up any groupings of four 8th notes beamed together with a BSSB (when the grouping falls on beats 1-2) or SBBS pattern (when it falls on 3-4). To apply that, then:

When you see this rhythm in Syncopation:

You would orchestrate it this way when it falls on beats 1 and 2:

And this way when it lands on beats 3 and 4:

Continued after the break:

So this line of music from Reed:

...which would be played like this if we do the BD on beats 1-2 / SD on beats 3-4 method:

Would now be played like this:

This is an easy thing to do once you can do all of the basic interpretations pretty well; when you see those four 8th notes beamed together, you'll know to do one or the other of those substitutions. You can use four-note pattern you like as a substition; I just happen to favor that ABBA/BAAB construction. Also don't sweat forcing this to work if it messes with the character of the interpretation too much, or makes the reading too difficult— just move on to another part of the system.

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