Counts

toddbishop

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If the tune’s in 4, and somebody says “1, 2”, I’m waiting for the 3, 4. 2/4 is rare enough that you should count it 1 2 1 2.

And I don’t want anyone counting off their own pickups. Maybe if it’s one note, but I’m still going to be irritable about it.
 

toddbishop

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"2 & 4 finger snaps or you ain't Miles Davis"

ALSO bugs me when people try to be too hip, and blow it. Just count the $&@&in’ thing. Be clear about it and let’s start together like professionals.
 

dcrigger

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Comparing your band experiences with many of our band experiences is nothing short of comparing apples to pomegranates. I mean ABSOLUTELY NO disrespect, Mr. Crigger.

Many of us here are professional hacks only in the purest sense of the word, meaning we get paid, just not much.

I should have clarified with my comment. My sister, who was a renowned (but not famous) orchestral clarinet player would certainly have piped up and said “the conductor counts it out”.

You have worked in truly professional situations. I get EXACTLY where you’re coming from. Just I merely spoke in terms of the typical bar grunts hoping we’re not asked to play “Freebird” or “Gimme Three Steps” with, in many cases have a band leader that knows less about music than we do!

I truly appreciate your input and your insight.
Dumpy - No disrespect taken at all - and of course your classical musician sister would have responded that way.

But I think it is a mistake to presume that your band experiences are really all that different than mine. First there's the presumption that I didn't put in my dues as a "bar grunt" (as you put it) or second, there's the idea that various gigs are all so much different - "apples to pomegranates"... because in my experience, they are way more similar than they are different.... more Red Delicious to Fuji...

But leaving that second part aside - just sharing that, in my "bar grunt" experiences, I wasn't always tasked with counting off the band (in fact, often wasn't tasked with that). My first working band in high school.... the guitar player called the tunes and counted them off (and did a great job of it) - we're big in local high school dance circuit. :) Or the gig with a guitar trio backing a Tom Jones wannabe playing on a skinny stage situated up behind the bar - he or the guitar player (who hired the band) counted the tunes.

As I wrote - I totally get, when four-five guys get together for some rehearsals and then book some gigs - having the drummer count off the tune is the common default.

I'm just pointing out that just one step away form that situation (not the ten steps you are implying) - just the next step.... getting called to replace the drummer in an existing band, getting the call to play in a pick-up band, getting asked to play anything outside of that "self-contained rock band" place... be it a jazz trio, a dixieland band, a community theater musical.... anything outside of that.... a drummers counting off tunes is no longer the norm.

I'm not talking about whatever you mean by "truly professional situations" (like doing him film date or a major concert tour or whatever lofty thing you are referring to), I'm talking about the quite possible, very next playing opportunity that can come up for anyone with a little experience being a "bar grunt".

There is no big jump from "bar grunt" to "truly professional situation player" - there are just people asking you to play.... getting together and seeing how it works... and taking it from there. There are rarely "jumps" from apples to pomegranates" - there is just playing with these guys, then getting asked to play with these other guys, to getting a call to play with these other guys, and on and on. That's it - it's the same process... the same journey.... Sure some get further down some roads than others - but that doesn't change the nature of the process at all.

So when I'm speaking of being open to having other folks counting off not seeming bizarre - my point isn't about me - but rather about you and the likelihood that YOUR very next step could include that reality. Not because that's how they do it on concert stages with a conductor - because that's how they might do it on your next gig - where there might be a clear leader that knows what they want, or where there's a songwriter that again, knows what they want. That's all - as a "bar grunt" you are just one situation away from that - so I'm only suggesting that before then would be the time to realize that reality - so it doesn't take you by surprise.

And I really am serious that the lofty heights just aren't that lofty - nor all that different than the trenches.
 

Dumpy

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Dumpy - No disrespect taken at all - and of course your classical musician sister would have responded that way.

But I think it is a mistake to presume that your band experiences are really all that different than mine. First there's the presumption that I didn't put in my dues as a "bar grunt" (as you put it) or second, there's the idea that various gigs are all so much different - "apples to pomegranates"... because in my experience, they are way more similar than they are different.... more Red Delicious to Fuji...

But leaving that second part aside - just sharing that, in my "bar grunt" experiences, I wasn't always tasked with counting off the band (in fact, often wasn't tasked with that). My first working band in high school.... the guitar player called the tunes and counted them off (and did a great job of it) - we're big in local high school dance circuit. :) Or the gig with a guitar trio backing a Tom Jones wannabe playing on a skinny stage situated up behind the bar - he or the guitar player (who hired the band) counted the tunes.

As I wrote - I totally get, when four-five guys get together for some rehearsals and then book some gigs - having the drummer count off the tune is the common default.

I'm just pointing out that just one step away form that situation (not the ten steps you are implying) - just the next step.... getting called to replace the drummer in an existing band, getting the call to play in a pick-up band, getting asked to play anything outside of that "self-contained rock band" place... be it a jazz trio, a dixieland band, a community theater musical.... anything outside of that.... a drummers counting off tunes is no longer the norm.

I'm not talking about whatever you mean by "truly professional situations" (like doing him film date or a major concert tour or whatever lofty thing you are referring to), I'm talking about the quite possible, very next playing opportunity that can come up for anyone with a little experience being a "bar grunt".

There is no big jump from "bar grunt" to "truly professional situation player" - there are just people asking you to play.... getting together and seeing how it works... and taking it from there. There are rarely "jumps" from apples to pomegranates" - there is just playing with these guys, then getting asked to play with these other guys, to getting a call to play with these other guys, and on and on. That's it - it's the same process... the same journey.... Sure some get further down some roads than others - but that doesn't change the nature of the process at all.

So when I'm speaking of being open to having other folks counting off not seeming bizarre - my point isn't about me - but rather about you and the likelihood that YOUR very next step could include that reality. Not because that's how they do it on concert stages with a conductor - because that's how they might do it on your next gig - where there might be a clear leader that knows what they want, or where there's a songwriter that again, knows what they want. That's all - as a "bar grunt" you are just one situation away from that - so I'm only suggesting that before then would be the time to realize that reality - so it doesn't take you by surprise.

And I really am serious that the lofty heights just aren't that lofty - nor all that different than the trenches.
I get where you come from.

Maybe I need to start playing with better musicians!

Thanks again for your insights again, Mr. Crigger.
 

TheBeachBoy

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I usually count two measures like 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4... especially if it's a faster song or just a 4 count if it's slower or an original. How much time do you save with a two count instead of four? In the end it doesn't really matter how you count in as long as everyone's on the same page and if no one has a problem with the count in.
 

jeffintampa

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Don't know why I'm thinking about this actually but counts, standard 4 count and other variations.

I always did a two count, do you really need more? With the exception of odd timing starts, what's the point?

There is a Bonzo bass demo of Fool out there and he sounds stoned but it has this really long windup. Some Youtube drum guys do that also - "a-one and a-two-ah" then start over - "and a-one two three four". What's the point of over-elaborating that? Is it some kind of odd showmanship? I get a little impatient with that stuff, it seems really redundant. Just show me the money, cut the fluff out.
Two bars of four. Wrecking Crew.
 

Peano

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It all depends on the situation - and there are really lots of different possible situations...
***
In my experience, there are no rules.... no one way... just what ever works for the situation....
That's the A answer. The appropriate count-off can depend on several variables. As someone mentioned earlier, a very fast tempo needs a special count-off. For jazz and swing tunes, I think it establishes a better feel to put the stick clicks (or finger snaps) on 2 and 4 rather than on all four beats of the measure. If a song begins on the second or third beat of the measure, then you have to take that into account. Ditto for different time signatures -- 6/8, 3/4, 2/4, etc.
 

drums1225

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I did find it strange on the recording “Turn it On Again” by Genesis, Phil counted four on a song played in 13/8 time.

Of course I think of the time I was in a Strip Club and talking to a dancer, that song came on. I told her to get ready to laugh. This girl admitted they never played that song before. The dancers were lost on the 13/8 time! It was epically HORRIBLE!!! Bwahahahaha!!!!!
Funny story about the strip club! I've heard odd time songs come on in a strip club and said to myself, "This is going to be interesting!" As long as the "denominator" in the time signature is a 4, it doesn't get too weird.

I've seen/heard strippers dance to "Money" by Pink Floyd, which is in 7/4, and "Possum Kingdom" by Toadies which is alternating 4/4 and 3/4 (or 7/4) so there's just the issue of beat "one" shifting every other measure, but nobody is going to trip over the pulse shifting to the upbeats as in, say, "Subdivisions" by Rush, which is in 7/8.

Along these lines, I wouldn't consider "Turn it On Again" to be in 13/8, as I'm feeling a strong quarter note pulse throughout.

Given the context, I would say the guitar opening is 8th notes on a B5 chord. Then, Phil's four count establishes the pulse as quarter notes. When the drums come in, Phil is playing a backbeat groove with 8ths on the hats, and there's an "extra" beat tagged onto the end, which brings the number of beats to 13. If we insist on keeping the whole phrase in one measure (which I wouldn't), it would be 13/4.

I think alternating measures of 6/4 and 7/4 frame the phrase more clearly, and I found a chart that actually breaks it down further: 4/4, 2/4, 4/4, 3/4; if that's the case, his 4 count-in is correct.

https://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmus...4u514UR0PQ-uN1dYxUgPWxzNH8nOUS6oaAmyYEALw_wcB
 

MrDrums2112

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It depends on the song and what’s needed to establish the feel. That said, the majority of the time it’s four stick clicks and into the song.
 

Dumpy

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Funny story about the strip club! I've heard odd time songs come on in a strip club and said to myself, "This is going to be interesting!" As long as the "denominator" in the time signature is a 4, it doesn't get too weird.

I've seen/heard strippers dance to "Money" by Pink Floyd, which is in 7/4, and "Possum Kingdom" by Toadies which is alternating 4/4 and 3/4 (or 7/4) so there's just the issue of beat "one" shifting every other measure, but nobody is going to trip over the pulse shifting to the upbeats as in, say, "Subdivisions" by Rush, which is in 7/8.

Along these lines, I wouldn't consider "Turn it On Again" to be in 13/8, as I'm feeling a strong quarter note pulse throughout.

Given the context, I would say the guitar opening is 8th notes on a B5 chord. Then, Phil's four count establishes the pulse as quarter notes. When the drums come in, Phil is playing a backbeat groove with 8ths on the hats, and there's an "extra" beat tagged onto the end, which brings the number of beats to 13. If we insist on keeping the whole phrase in one measure (which I wouldn't), it would be 13/4.

I think alternating measures of 6/4 and 7/4 frame the phrase more clearly, and I found a chart that actually breaks it down further: 4/4, 2/4, 4/4, 3/4; if that's the case, his 4 count-in is correct.

https://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmus...4u514UR0PQ-uN1dYxUgPWxzNH8nOUS6oaAmyYEALw_wcB
And I am at the age where I forget parts of interviews. I know he said like twelve but add a beat at the end or something like that. If you know what to expect, Turn It On Again can be danced to (to a degree) and isn’t that hard to play.

What people forget is with so many of these odd time signature songs, it’s usually the guitar lick that dictates the odd time; the drummer merely renders it to make sense.
 

dyland

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Found this interesting. Around the 7:30 mark Aubrey explains that he counts in this 6/8 groove using 4 dotted 8th notes to denote the feel.

 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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My brother and I got in the bad habit of only counting 3-4 before starting songs when we were young and dumb and had an acoustic guitar duet... We'd heard our father's band count that way sometimes and stupidly thought that it did sound more "pro": we only need two beats, eat that, you beginners...

We were decent players, mind you, but mostly self taught and with a very "personalized" understanding of music theory.

The first time we were on a TV set for a telethon- type gig with a house band, we had a rude awakening during the rehearsal.
I asked the leader to count the song and he agreed, so I went. "Three, Four..." and in a bit of confusion, the whole band burst out laughing.

The song actually started with a pick up on 3 of the first bar....
I couldn't wrap my head around what I did wrong. In my mind, the first note of the pickup was the 1, end of story :lol:

After a minute or two of me failing to comprehend what the band leader was trying to explain, that we don't start on a 1, we start on a 3, he just said nevermind, count it your way.

He then proceeded to whisper in his talk back mic and the musicians were trying to suppress a second wave of laughter. No doubt he said a few well deserved choice words about some dumb illiterate songwriters...
 

Dumpy

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My brother and I got in the bad habit of only counting 3-4 before starting songs when we were young and dumb and had an acoustic guitar duet... We'd heard our father's band count that way sometimes and stupidly thought that it did sound more "pro": we only need two beats, eat that, you beginners...

We were decent players, mind you, but mostly self taught and with a very "personalized" understanding of music theory.

The first time we were on a TV set for a telethon- type gig with a house band, we had a rude awakening during the rehearsal.
I asked the leader to count the song and he agreed, so I went. "Three, Four..." and in a bit of confusion, the whole band burst out laughing.

The song actually started with a pick up on 3 of the first bar....
I couldn't wrap my head around what I did wrong. In my mind, the first note of the pickup was the 1, end of story :lol:

After a minute or two of me failing to comprehend what the band leader was trying to explain, that we don't start on a 1, we start on a 3, he just said nevermind, count it your way.

He then proceeded to whisper in his talk back mic and the musicians were trying to suppress a second wave of laughter. No doubt he said a few well deserved choice words about some dumb illiterate songwriters...
So, more pro would be to yell “GO!” ?!?
 

Tornado

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My current church band situation has me on keyboards (no drums for now), and our band leader always counts to four. Even when the song is in three. And the tempo of those four counts has no relationship to the tempo of the song. God help me.
 


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