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IT MUST BE A CAMEL ANALYSIS
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superjudge
Joined: 2005-02-20
Posts: 79
Location: Västerås
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Post 2018-08-27 16:42   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
superjudge wrote:
There's a subtle difference between something as simple as a group of 4 with accents on 1 and 3 and two groups of 2.
How ever poor my explanation may seem to be, isn't that my point? When I listen to that phrase I hear 3 4 2 3, I don't hear 3 3 3 3.


Yes.
I was agreeing with you.
Smile
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polydigm
Joined: 2005-10-28
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
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Post 2018-08-27 17:46   [Quote] 
oofers wrote:
polydigm wrote:
explained why. Because the beat grouping is 3 4 2 3.
I guess we just have to disagree.

Agreed.
oofers wrote:
You're also vague on your terms, "beat grouping" doesn't mean anything to me.

I hear that bar, for the main melody, as having 12 beats in four groups of 3 + 4 + 2 + 3.
oofers wrote:
Beaming, on the other hand, is a purely notational construct and I find it odd here. No point is discussing this with you, as we have now seen proof that this is how Zappa notated it. And sorry, but I do hear this as triplets when I count here. Just as I hear the drums as triplets. I even slowed the track from FZMTMOP to 50% and followed along with the score, looking for accents or whatever it is you're saying makes that notation necessary, and sorry, but I just don't hear it.

I personally believe he notated it that way, because that's how he wanted it played. That's how I hear it. It does not sound like 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 to me. And you don't need to apologise for how you hear it. I disagree that there's no point in discussing it though. There would only be no point if he were still alive, because someone could just ask him.
oofers wrote:
My original point is that it's harder to read than straight triplets. And I also mentioned it's incongruence, given the drums do not share this unusual beaming.

Horses for courses. I'm the opposite. I find odd accents over regular rhythms harder to read than blocks like these and that's how I write them. And there are lots of places in FZ's music where different rhythms go across each other. Look at Echidna's Arf. He's got fives, threes, nines and elevens in there going across a basic quarter note beat, but they're not 5:4 or 9:8 type groups, they have the same sized sixteenth note pulse and eventually come round to the basic beat. Personally when I play those I just play them as groups of five or nine or whatever, I would go crazy trying to actually follow the core beat and accent the start of each group.
oofers wrote:
As I said, I am sure there must be a reason why, but unless you channel the disembodied spirit of FZ, I don't think we'll know.

Indeed, but I believe you can have a better than zero idea because the music speaks for itself. Interestingly enough, Myers notates the whole thing in straight triplets after the electric guitar has joined in with the melody in bar 20, where to me it sounds more like 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2.
oofers wrote:
And although I don't think this is the case here, all you need to do is look at some of the transcriptions of the FZ Guitar Book to know that it is indeed possible to "over"-notate to the point of obfuscation.
That's ironic. I've not studied that book comprehensively, but Vai himself believed he was making things more transparent. Personally, the way FZ lets loose on most occasions, it would be impossible to write all the rhythms exactly without it looking like a mess. There are one or two things that I have gleaned from that book that I don't agree with, but what a mammoth task.
oofers wrote:
Personally, and I am a good sight reader if I do say so myself, I would rather read straight triplets with accents placed wherever, as opposed to an unsual beaming with "12:8" over the whole measure. After all, the pulse underneath is a swung reggae 4/4 and seeing an accent over, say, the second note of the second group of triplets is more meaningful (to me) than having to figure out where I am in relation to the pulse based purely on an odd beaming choice.
As I said, it seems perfectly natural to me. One of the things that attracted me to FZ's music in the first place was the way he used rhythm.
oofers wrote:
But hey, that's just me.
That's the thing about music interpretation, we all have different perspectives.

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polydigm
Joined: 2005-10-28
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
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Post 2018-08-27 17:50   [Quote] 
superjudge wrote:
polydigm wrote:
superjudge wrote:
There's a subtle difference between something as simple as a group of 4 with accents on 1 and 3 and two groups of 2.
How ever poor my explanation may seem to be, isn't that my point? When I listen to that phrase I hear 3 4 2 3, I don't hear 3 3 3 3.

I was agreeing with you.

No worries. Smile

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oofers
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Post 2018-08-27 19:43   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
oofers wrote:
And although I don't think this is the case here, all you need to do is look at some of the transcriptions of the FZ Guitar Book to know that it is indeed possible to "over"-notate to the point of obfuscation.
That's ironic. I've not studied that book comprehensively, but Vai himself believed he was making things more transparent. Personally, the way FZ lets loose on most occasions, it would be impossible to write all the rhythms exactly without it looking like a mess. There are one or two things that I have gleaned from that book that I don't agree with, but what a mammoth task.


I often think that just as we can't discern a pitch increase of say, a fraction of a hertz, we can't really discern rhythms when they become very, very small. The underlying "grid", if you will, of what our ears can detect is discrete.

I think you can see this by using any software that records MIDI and can display the result in staff notation. Record yourself playing quarter notes at a slow tempo, with no quantization activated.. Do your best to only sound your note right on each beat. Any musician can do this in a such a way that another musician would clearly hear that quarter notes are played. Then look at how the software notates it. You'll see things like a double-dotted eighth note tied to the first 5 notes of a septuplet, and the remaining two septuplets are actually the beginning of what is, for all practical purposes in regards to what the human ear can detect, the next quarter note. (And I didn't actually do the math on this hypothetical example, but you get my point).

Anyone who has used software like this has seen this type of "black page". And yet, when you close your eyes and hit "play", all you hear is quarter notes.

Maybe this illustrates my point?

Nevertheless, even David Ocker acknowledges that he thinks Vai over-notated in the FZ Guitar Book.

But it certainly looks cool. Smile

And maybe this doesn't need to be said, but consider someone like Ferneyhough -- he is intentionally going for that "this isn't even playable because the divisions are not humanly-calculable thing".

Again, just my opinion.
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polydigm
Joined: 2005-10-28
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Post 2018-08-28 00:27   [Quote] 
That's funny, because MIDI recording is one of the things I was thinking about when I was referring to your comment about the FZ Guitar Book. What you're talking about with the 4/4 is feel. I use Logic Pro X and that has an interpretation setting. When it's on, your quarter notes would look like quarter notes.

By the way, Logic Pro X might be where I picked up the beat grouping terminology from. When you create a time signature, there are three main settings: Number of Beats, Note Value and Beat Grouping. The last one determines beaming, so I could have a bar of 12/8 grouped as 3+4+2+3. Annoyingly though, you have to adjust the beaming manually with tuplets and it also doesn't do nested tuplets, which is a pain.

Sometimes, getting the rhythm detail exactly right is important. A rhythm pattern I use a lot is two dotted quavers followed by a quaver. It's similar to a 3:2 crotchet triplet, but a different feel, like a triplet with a little delay on the second two notes. When that's the rhythm you want, you don't want automation turning it into a triplet. A very similar rhythm is used in that enigmatic solo sax phrase the first time it appears in Holiday In Berlin, Full-Blown, at 2:13, (D3 F#3 A3) (C#4 G#3 F#3) (G#3 E3 D3) (G#3 E3). After the initial three notes which are definitely quavers, if you program the following six notes as two triplets, it just doesn't play back sounding right, whereas two groups of two dotted quavers followed by a quaver sounds more authentic.

Most of my compositions start with messing around on the guitar - they don't all end up as guitar pieces. I have one that I initially created at least two decades ago that I'm working on at the moment, that is specifically a guitar piece. It's very complicated rhythmically and I've had to use some weird and wonderful time signatures to get it to sound how I play it. But that's not how it was created. It just came together very naturally in several practice sessions in varying moods. I'm trying to create a drum part for it, which is why I'm trying to notate it in the first place, but I may end up just recording it and jamming along with the result on the drums until I come up with something I like. My point is, that I was not thinking in terms of complex rhythms when I created that piece, so trying to notate it might be a mistake.

That's what I think about transcribing FZ's improvisations. I think you can drive yourself crazy trying to nail stuff like that down and I'm not sure it's worth it. Although, transcribing is good discipline up to a point, but I think it's better applied to FZ's more structured compositions. Have a look at how heavily he himself edited many of his solos.

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oofers
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Post 2018-08-28 00:52   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
That's funny, because MIDI recording is one of the things I was thinking about when I was referring to your comment about the FZ Guitar Book. What you're talking about with the 4/4 is feel.

If you're referring to my hypothetical example of recording what sounds like quarter notes, only to have the software (whose clock beats any subdivision that a human can achieve) render something extremely difficuly to read -- well, I was not talking about feel. I was making the point that without quantization turned on, the software can capture rhythms that you and I simply can not discern.

polydigm wrote:
I use Logic Pro X and that has an interpretation setting. When it's on, your quarter notes would look like quarter notes.

That setting is just another side of the same coin as "quantization". It avoids lots of tiny rests if you, for example, don't hold a quarter note for the complete 960 ticks.

As I said, we just disagree I guess. The point I am presently making is that it is possible to over-notate. It is done by software as I have tried to demonstrate, and it can be done by humans. David Ocker said Vai did it. Vai is so talented that I am willing to hedge my bets and say that he really can tell the difference between something like a 17-tuplet for one beat, versus 16 64th notes and the last note of the 17-tuplet really being on the next downbeat.

Anyway, I think it's time to move on, as I am not sure where this is going, plus this has turned into a substantial thread-hijack.
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polydigm
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Post 2018-08-28 05:13   [Quote] 
I have found the discussion interesting. Anything that really makes me think about what I'm doing is beneficial. And we're discussing FZ's music. I don't think the thread has been harmed, but I'm happy to leave it that.

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Thinman
Joined: 2007-10-07
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Post 2018-08-28 12:36   [Quote] 
Since I don't do composition anymore (I only do improvised music these days), this is from several years ago: I never used the notation function to enter music in a midi sequencer, I mainly used the piano roll and finetuned the timing to my liking with quantization switched off. I didn't think about notation much at that point. Only afterwards when I wanted to produce a score and/or parts for other musicians I used Coda Finale for converting the midi data to notation which is a time consuming work to make the results look good and correct. But I returned to handwritten notation later (as I did before), because I am much faster at that. In a practical music creating situation with other people I would prefer a simpler stripped down notation (the "quarter notes") and a finetuned (sequencer-)demo to listen to for the details and the "feel". That always worked well in my case.
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cookie_manager
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Post 2018-09-01 19:04   [Quote] 
I admit I didn't read all posts on this page, but for me it's simple triplets too. If the beam above the notes always reflected the groupings within note runs, we'd be in sight-reading hell.
I mean what to make out of groupings of three notes in a 16th-note run, following that logic? Write groups of three 16th-notes with their own beam respectively?

Also I don't hear accents in that phrase (refering to the idea to write it in triplets and then add accents for the respectively first note of those 3 4 2 3-groupings). There's some natural emphasizing on certain notes simply from the way the melody is constructed.

Ok, but that discussion seems to be over.

I actually never listened to "It Must Be A Camel" isolated like that. Following that video gave me a fresh lstening experience and I enjoyed the piece more than ever before - nice thing with a track I've been familiar with for so long.

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Ledsuit
Joined: 2018-10-11
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Post 2018-10-11 11:43   [Quote] 
Hi folks,

Didn’t know this site existed till now, jumped on and found this place...so, referring back to bar four of Alien Orifice...I hear quite clearly a note grouping of 2,2,2,3,3, and clearly spaced as triplets...the first six notes are merely repeated notes in twos...better written as triplets like the drums :)...no need for accents as the note groupings take care of it really. Not even sure the tuplet is right...kind of think it should be just a 12 in middle of bracket across the whole bar...as in 12 notes evenly spaced over four quarter notes or beats. I once saw in a bar of 4, over the last two beats, a bracket across the top with a 3 in the middle, and under it three groups of quavers bracketed as two quintuplets and one sextuplet, which clearly meant each tuplet was to be played over the length of a quarter note triplet. Cool. Tuplets aren’t the same as time signatures like 4/4, 3/4, or 6/8...it’s just saying fit this number of notes within this number of beats...so, 5:2 means five notes over any two quarter notes (beats) placed anywhere...usually written as 5 beamed quavers with a bracket over them and a 5 in the middle...don’t even need to put 5:2 there...over 3 beats in a bar of 4 just bracket the 5 or remaining notes with a line with a 5 in the middle and the fact that in the bar there is only one crotchet worth of value left of notes or rests outside that bracketed quintuplet means 5 over 3...if you want it to span the whole bar it would be two lots of bracketed 5’s or it could be just one bracket of 10...so 12:8 (12 over 8 what? Quavers? Same as four crotchets?) really should be just 12 across whole bar because we know it’s in 4...think the transcriber got the tuplet confused with a 12/8 feel...no need for the tuplet at all. Always best to write music consistently so it’s easier to read I reckon...would be consistent, and simpler, to write triplets like the drums.


Last edited by Ledsuit on 2018-10-12 03:23; edited 2 times in total
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cookie_manager
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Post 2018-10-11 18:55   [Quote] 
Ledsuit wrote:
I once saw in a bar of 4, over the last two beats, a bracket across the top with a 3 in the middle, and under it three groups of quavers bracketed as two quintuplets and one sextuplet, which clearly meant each tuplet was to be played over the length of a quarter note triplet. Cool.
What you describe (or what I understand) is present in The Black Page #1! Cool indeed. Smile

(a couple of years ago I practised exactly that rhythmic creation, with mixed results - that's why I remember)

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Ledsuit
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Post 2018-10-11 22:39   [Quote] 
Think you may be right...you’re better than I trying to play that shit...this is partly why I only free improvise now...no need for that kind of neurotic mind bending practice...plus, I hate reading! Arghh! :)
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cookie_manager
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Post 2018-10-11 23:29   [Quote] 
Free improv is my main field too, but you know what? Zappa, and especially something like the Black Page made me delve into complex polyrhythms, and being able to improvise with some of those (and/or with the "feel" they create) allows me to play stuff (on drums) that sounds like free on top of a more or less obvious 4/4 and I still know where the next "1" will be. It helps me to relate free rhythms to a regular metric structure, like playing completely out, but still having the basic control. So looking into that polyrhythmic stuff really opened new doors for me for free improv.

I mean... of course Zappa and Colaiuta did that a lot duting guitar solos. Very inspiring approach!

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Ledsuit
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Post 2018-10-12 01:14   [Quote] 
Yeah, get it re percussion...can be helpful...I’m coming more from a Bailey, Chadbourne free improvising place...I got into it to get out of IT...IT bring conventional musical forms/metrics/conventions/traditions/histories and accompanying jazz culture/industry bullshit that drove me nuts...not to mention I was crap at playing it all or at least average (jazz background really)...Frank was my Elvis, not jazz, but I dug the improvising side...but the jazz world really doesn’t want originality at all...it wants you to sound more like every other jazz player with such a language...Frank’s more real jazz than most...unique...the Coltrane of rock guitar...kept the long solo as composition rather than callisthenics alive...anyway, rambling on... :)
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cookie_manager
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Post 2018-10-12 10:17   [Quote] 
We seem to come from a very similar place (Bailey's my favorite guitarist). That 70's Stevens/Oxley/Lovens-tradition is a strong basis for me, but I also enjoy to move that spirit into metrical realms in a certain complex "post-Zappa" way. At some point I figured I'm too much into noise-punk/Beefheart/Zappa to ignore that side in my own practise as free improvisor (if we delve deeper into this we probably should switch to p.m.?)

"the Coltrane of rock guitar" - that's a view on Zappa I totally agree with.

Oh... but one additional thing that comes to mind... in the field of free improv, there seem to be quite a few Zappa-fans... I remember reading about a larger gathering of improvisors, like... international level, singing various complex Zappa-parts to each other for fun (not sure but I seem to remember Lê Quan Ninh was involved).
So that's maybe an interesting field to explore: Zappa and the international free improv scene (or did Ben Watson do that already? - he's a writer familiar with both sides)

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