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ktzj Profile
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Definition of swing.


Ever since I took drumming seriously, I've heard the word "swing" used alot in drumming language.

I understand that the technical aspect of "swing" is the jazz ride cymbal beat.

What I don't understand though, is when people say "young drummers nowadays can't play with swing".

I myself was brought up with the almighty 8th note groove, but most of my life up till now have been listening to drummers that people say have swing like Ian Paice and Jeff Porcaro. Is it the feel of the groove? or is it a technical thing?

So my question is, what is "swing"?
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Re: Definition of swing.


I'm not a music expert but I always thought it was the way the jazz music flowed before it got complicated in the 50s. You know the big band [sign in to see URL]
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posticon Re: Definition of swing.


I concur Phil, the big band [sign in to see URL] form - like jam sessions from a big band,
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Re: Definition of swing.


The word swing has as many definitions as there are people. Big bands [sign in to see URL], you [sign in to see URL] a swingin' song...

The technical definition I guess would be the triplet feel applied to dotted eighth/sixteenth note patterns(1 2 ah 3 4 ah 1 and so on). It can also mean to "feel" the groove. "He's a swingin' drummer".

Jack
emoticon

---
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" Les Brown
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Re: Definition of swing.


"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that SWING....
DOWOTDOWOTDOWOTDOWOT
           D
           O
           W
           W"
SWING is as much an attitude as a technique.
          
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PhillyJoe1205 Profile
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posticon Re: Definition of swing.


quote:

ktzj wrote:

So my question is, what is "swing"?



Anything bassist Ray Brown played on! LOL Music is such a personal thing as we all know and that's a great thing. Here's my take. Sorry it's so long but I hope you dig.

One thing is the placement of the skip note, It will differ from every player. Placement can create tension and drive the band by being on top (Tony Williams on the live Miles stuff) or more in the pocket and relaxed on the other side (Blakey shuffle for example).....all appropriate in different situations as I'm sure that you're aware.

Another thing is that sound has something to do with it. Philly Joe or Greg Hutchinson had a more open cymbal sound where Jack Dejohnette or Kenny Washington have a more dry sound. Their ride feel has the emphasis more on the note with the cymbal cutting out almost immediately as opposed to the more consistent 'swishhh' sound that Philly and Hutch preferred.

Most importantly in my opinion is what the drummer is NOT playing!!! No matter what your sound is the fact that the ride cymbal is driving the band (along with feathering the bass and the 2 + 4 on the hats to hold it all down if desired) is the most important thing about swing. They don't call [sign in to see URL] call it swing so the emphasis should be on accompanying the other musicians, driving the band with that groove, and feeling it.

Make any sense? Thoughts anyone?

There's something that has always fascinated me about a drummer, that can play whatever hey wants to on the kit, finding the need to NOT play it because the groove is more important. emoticon (need to catch my breath)
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Re: Definition of swing.


PhillyJoe, man you are spot on! I like your writing. I concur: the notes you don't play are as important as those you do play. Less is more. It's what makes the listener want to pick up the needle and start the record over. (That line dates me, but you get the idea.) And it's the reason why everybody wants to listen to In-a-Godda-Da-Vida only once! emoticon
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Re: Definition of swing.


Tommy, you have any idea how many times I played that song??????? I think maybe "Smoke on the water" was played [sign in to see URL] least once or twice.......... emoticon
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Re: Definition of swing.


quote:

tommykat1 wrote:

PhillyJoe, man you are spot on! I like your writing. I concur: the notes you don't play are as important as those you do play. Less is more. It's what makes the listener want to pick up the needle and start the record over. (That line dates me, but you get the idea.) And it's the reason why everybody wants to listen to In-a-Godda-Da-Vida only once! emoticon



Thanks. It was a bit long winded. There's such a wide definition of what that word could mean in music. Swinging isn't contained to jazz or blues either as you're all [sign in to see URL]'s such a great conversation topic.
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Throwoff Profile
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Re: Definition of swing.


I grew up on Rock & Roll but the genre hasn't changed much given the amount of time it has been around. I still hear things that sound fresh and that I like a lot, but a person can only listen to so many eighth notes before the surprise is lost - and no surprise, no tension; no tension to release, no musicality. It's not that Rock isn't great music; it's just that I've listened to so much of it for so long that I've wrecked my ear for it by overexposure.

Because of this, I started about fifteen or twenty years ago to listen to as many musical genres as I could find, and I was amazed to find out what was out there and how much of it sounded fresh and exciting to me. Now I love almost any genre of music if well performed; classical, Zydeco, Byzantine chant, Mongolian throat singing, bluegrass, you name it.

But above all I have come to really love swing music. Twenty-five-year-old Ella Fitzgerald reprising her hit A-Tasket" is, to me, sublime. emoticon Even though the clip is from a 1942 movie rather than the original ]Chick Webb band at the Savoy, you can hear most of the hallmarks of swing on that cut - the beat way in the pocket, the ghost notes on the snare, dropping bombs on the bass drum at the song's windup.

I wish I could make it sound like that! emoticon
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