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how to record without a metronome
Old 21st October 2013
  #31
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Mo Facta's Avatar
I feel like many of you are over-complicating the issue. Let's not forget that the object of recording is to capture the best performance. Whether that means perfectly to click or laid back and free is totally incidental to 1. what makes the artist comfortable enough to capture said performance, and 2. the material.

Like one poster said, you can't expect a band/artist who is paying good money to use a studio to be able to play to a click that has never done so before. You would throw his confidence out of whack and end up killing the session for both you and him.

That being said, I agree that practicing to a metronome is an essential part of being a competent musician. It's fundamental in learning to keep time. Real pros can keep the metronome in the back of their mind while carrying the groove. It's when you NOTICE the click that you start making mistakes and/or cause the groove to suffer.

In a recording environment, particularly in the modern DAW, recording to the grid is an essential part of editing in a DAW. It helps keep sync'd effects in time as well. Without it, editing becomes laborious and kills the vibe. I hate that time wasting ****.

My point and my proposed remedy was that both approaches can be accommodated. You can record free and without a click in a DAW and then use Tempo Detection or Beat Detective to shift the grid to the timing of the band. It's not rocket surgery and gives the band an opportunity to play "free" whilst giving the engineer a way to streamline his workflow (editing, effects, etc).

Why so much debate over a [seemingly] simple issue?

Cheers
Old 21st October 2013
  #32
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What's right for one song is wrong for another. Some tunes work best in perfect time, others need a freer tempo, some need a bit of swing. In short: using a metronome or click track isn't always right or wrong. It depends.

It's still good to practice playing in perfect time, though. Shifting away from the tempo should be for deliberate artistic reasons rather than because one simply cannot keep time.
Old 21st October 2013
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdland101 View Post
Music is divided into equal beats if they are not played equally and precisely they are considered out of time, even by elementary music teachers.
True, in theory but music being played by humans isn't a robotic machine doing everything 100% precisely, and those minor discrepancies are actually pleasing to the ear.

Elementary music teachers also know that if you don't sing exactly at the note you are technically off, but that isn't a reason to autotune every single note. It sounds weird and loses something that's only there if the slight imperfections are left intact.

Maybe there are some people who think music that is completely quantized and tuned actually sounds better, but I'm not one of them and that would be a conversation for a different thread. :-)
Old 21st October 2013
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdland101 View Post
Music is divided into equal beats if they are not played equally and precisely they are considered out of time, even by elementary music teachers.
If you play everything equally and precisely it sounds like a midi file generated by a 20 year old shareware program.

Listen to blues. It might be precise, but it's definitely not even. Not if it sounds good.
Old 21st October 2013
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
If you play everything equally and precisely it sounds like a midi file generated by a 20 year old shareware program.

Listen to blues. It might be precise, but it's definitely not even. Not if it sounds good.
Something along the lines of precision is very important, only the grid won't necessarily tell you where the destination of that precision ideally falls......the rest of the music will.
Old 21st October 2013
  #36
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Some DAWs allows you to create a tempo map from a recorded drum track, so essentially it takes the .wav file, analyzes it, then creates the tempo map which you can then write your midi over. You'll them have automation on your tempo track (Ableton Live does this..pretty cool and humanizes a track).

I have played with a click without a click. If you're looking for 100% precision to a grid click track is way the go for some genres. But if you're looking for a human feel click is definitely not going to do it less you play around the click and keep it low just as a guide.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old ghost View Post
True, in theory but music being played by humans isn't a robotic machine doing everything 100% precisely, and those minor discrepancies are actually pleasing to the ear.

Elementary music teachers also know that if you don't sing exactly at the note you are technically off, but that isn't a reason to autotune every single note. It sounds weird and loses something that's only there if the slight imperfections are left intact.

Maybe there are some people who think music that is completely quantized and tuned actually sounds better, but I'm not one of them and that would be a conversation for a different thread. :-)
I agree
I love jazz and jazz time cannot be perfectly quantised its feel, but the temp will generally be in time.
As karloff has pointed out its precision but not necessarily on the grid.
Old 22nd October 2013
  #38
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The notes in JACO's chicken for example can be notated, they will be played with feel, there is a tempo indicated, it does not say start at 130 bpm and end on 110 bpm. A triplet is a triplet... if triplets are being played at 130 bpm you dont play them at 127 bpm for example.
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Last edited by Birdland101; 22nd October 2013 at 09:34 AM.. Reason: .
Old 22nd October 2013
  #39
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I was at an orchestra concert once and I observed the concertmaster's stand partner fumble a page turn. The conductor held the orchestra on the upbeat (fraction of a second) until the page was ready and then went on. Since page turns usually happen on phrase endings it worked. Everyone followed and it sounded great.

I submit that it only worked because it is not so unusual. The orchestra follows the conductor through tempo changes, and holding the end of a phrase is not out of the ordinary.

Making music that sounds good is all about tension and release. ONE way to add tension is to delay the onset of a downbeat. Especially at the end of a phrase.

Adding a click from a performance (as described above) is one thing. Forcing all performances to a metronome (as a matter of dogma) is silly.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #40
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If you are recording (mostly) everything live, then whatever floats your boat and fits the song is cool. If you are tracking out each instrument individually, I would say a click is almost essential... it's much easier to follow along with the time-idiosyncrasies of a performance live, in real-time, looking at your bandmates than it is through a series of overdubs.

I feel like people think that playing to a click will make them sound too clinical and tracking without one will preserve some element of feel and mojo, but in my experience, the exact opposite is true. I feel like I can sort of just relax and play my part with confidence grooving along to the click where, without it, I'm stressing about trying to memorize which chorus the drummer sped up on instead of playing with feel and my take ends up being both out of time and mojo-less.

Those musical fluctuations are very cool, but hard manage when you aren't all playing live.

Also, as an aside, I would never blame a musician for not being able to keep perfect time in their head without a metronome if they don't obviously sound like they are rushing/dragging... usually that isn't required. What's required is that you can follow other musicians and stay in time with them and that you can stay in time with a click if asked. If you can handle both of those, you're fine.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
I was at an orchestra concert once and I observed the concertmaster's stand partner fumble a page turn. The conductor held the orchestra on the upbeat (fraction of a second) until the page was ready and then went on. Since page turns usually happen on phrase endings it worked. Everyone followed and it sounded great.

I submit that it only worked because it is not so unusual. The orchestra follows the conductor through tempo changes, and holding the end of a phrase is not out of the ordinary.

Making music that sounds good is all about tension and release. ONE way to add tension is to delay the onset of a downbeat. Especially at the end of a phrase.

Adding a click from a performance (as described above) is one thing. Forcing all performances to a metronome (as a matter of dogma) is silly.
Tension and release are very nb and they are normally written into the music.

Allegro/Allegretto
Adagio/Adagiett
Crescendo,

But the 2 that are nb here are these 2

Animato. [ah-nee-mah-toh] (Italian) "Animated." Tempo indication, generally modifying an initial tempo. For example, piu animato means "more animated than before."

Rubato. [roo-bah-toh] (Italian) "Robbed." Also tempo rubato ("robbed time"). The practice of performing music in a flexible, instead of strict tempo. Rubato is one of the more controversial issues in musical performance, as its precise manner of execution cannot be precisely notated. However, the "appropriate" application of rubato is often considered to be a sign of the "musicality" of a performer. What sounds like "musical" rubato to one listener may sound overdone and distorted by another.

You will also probably find this is represented in miniscule amounts of actually written music.

Are we saying that all contemporary music be Rubato? When most top 40 songs seems to have electronic drums?

Last edited by Birdland101; 23rd October 2013 at 10:16 AM.. Reason: .
Old 23rd October 2013
  #42
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdland101 View Post
Music is divided into equal beats if they are not played equally and precisely they are considered out of time, even by elementary music teachers.
This can be true, but I have been recording musicians for 40 years and asked for a click exactly three times. Once it was by a tabla player while overdubbing - as if he couldn't play to the other drummer.

You just learn, and practice, practice, practice.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #43
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Mo Facta's Avatar
Wow, forty years without a click. Sounds like bliss.

Cheers
Old 23rd October 2013
  #44
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Birdland101's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mo Facta View Post
Wow, forty years without a click. Sounds like bliss.

Cheers
Old 23rd October 2013
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdland101;
Are we saying that all contemporary music be Rubato? When most top 40 songs seems to have electronic drums?
Maybe that's part of the reason so much of it is so bad. :-/

You make it sound so complicated but if you look at sheet music you will find fermatas are not so uncommon. You're right that the symbol does not tell you precisely how far to deviate from the grid, but it tells you that you should.
Old 23rd October 2013
  #46
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3moPenguin's Avatar
 

Tell the drummer to grow up and record to a click track.

If he's still resistant, then just record without a click track and ignore the tempo completely. If you need to add your own stuff in post, then you are going to need something like Beat Detective to set the tempo to that of what the drummer is playing.

However, if your drummer can't play to a click track, suggest using another drummer just for the recording. However, if you do this, you need to make sure that the drummer is still happy with this. Say something like "You're a really good drummer live, but not the greatest recording drummer. That's a good thing though. Recording drummers are usually really dry live."
Old 23rd October 2013
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3moPenguin View Post
"You're a really good drummer live, but not the greatest recording drummer. That's a good thing though. Recording drummers are usually really dry live."
Except I've never seen all these things be true at the same time
But sometimes lying to keep your friends happy is a-okay

Not picking on you, just reflecting on my own experiences with very good and very mediocre drummers... the ones that could play to a click if need be were, by every possible measure, 1000 times awesome-r than the ones that couldn't for the life of them live/recorded/whatever...
Old 24th October 2013
  #48
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3moPenguin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noclue View Post
Except I've never seen all these things be true at the same time
But sometimes lying to keep your friends happy is a-okay

Not picking on you, just reflecting on my own experiences with very good and very mediocre drummers... the ones that could play to a click if need be were, by every possible measure, 1000 times awesome-r than the ones that couldn't for the life of them live/recorded/whatever...
I never said tell them the truth xD
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