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How can i explain basic rhythm to a client?? Special Ef­fects Plugins
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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How can i explain basic rhythm to a client??

Hey guys, hope somebody can help me!
I run a small recording studio and have many clients who are rappers in the Hip-Hop genre.

There’s this one guy who will just splurt out all of his lyrics over the music with no consideration to timing or rhythm...and when recording, his words are in different places of the music everytime. This makes it impossible to get more than one take of the same part.

I’ve tried explaining to him where he’s going wrong but unfortunately i just cant find the words to explain it without him completely misunderstanding (he is completely oblivious to this) Can anyone recomend any youtube videos or explain it a little better so i can relay it on??

Haha sorry for the random request! Really trying to help this guy out.

Many thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Try nursery rhymes, or Dr Suess - I'm not kidding - you have to take him back to childhood where following the rhythm of a rhyme allowed everyone to recite together.

Good luck, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes - it's hard to imagine someone wanting to rap and not understanding this.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
I think Sharp11 is on to something.

[long story of arguable pertinence]
I was dismissed as having 'no musical talent whatsoever' by two different music teachers as a kid -- it might sound cruel but it was certainly intended as 'cruel to be kind' -- a way of saving me heartbreak and my folks money -- I really was not 'ready' for the discipline of music lessons nor could I demonstrate any appreciable sense of rhythm, apparently, even though I couldn't hear 'the problem' -- I was rhythmically clueless. (And, frankly, I was sorely pitch-challenged, as well.)

I made some fitful tries as a kid, could (with great difficulty) pick out melodies on the family electric organ; saved up 6 months and bought an amazingly hard-to-play, 'cheap' (cost the equivalent of $130 or so today-dollars but you wouldn't pay 20 bucks for it in today's market).

But I didn't really start learning until I was 20, in college, realizing that my dream of being able to play and write music (someday) was simply more powerful to me than continuing on the academic poet track I was on.

I had plenty of problems with pitch (I had great difficulty telling which was higher of two notes if they were within around a fifth of each other) but... rhythm? Forget it!

Finally, my roommate (now a famous engineer and really nice guy who I won't embarrass here ) took pity on me, sat me down, listened to me try to play and listened to me try to explain my perception of my difficulties ("I just can't make it sound like music!") and then said, 'What you should do is take a good, playable guitar [and saint that he was, he then let me use his even-then 'vintage' Strat with the proviso I plug it into headphones so he never had to hear me practice] and then just play the two easiest chords I knew [Em and A7, since I was fond of 'Down by the River' at the time] as steadily as I could, and rinse-repeat until it 'sounds like music'... which was what I did... boring as hell, dreary, unmusical, plodding... but for once I was determined and I just kept doing it until one day, months later, if I sorta listened sideways, it kinda sounded like... music. Sorta.
[/long story of arguable pertinence]

Long story but the bottom line is simple... rhythm is a fundamental facet of music, probably THE most fundamental. But if a poor soul like the young me or your client doesn't 'get it,' it's going to take going back to square one and 'finding' the lost roots of his rhythmic sense and nurturing them, growing them, and then letting them spread out to other areas of musical performance.

Good luck to you and your client, who I feel a certain kinship with -- though I'm kinda glad he's in your studio and not mine.

Old 1 week ago
  #4
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I'm leaning towards using his best take (however bad it may be), calling it a wrap, and screening clients better in the future. He needs a music instructor, not a studio producer.
Old 6 days ago
  #5
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Many thanks guys
Old 6 days ago
  #6
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Hold the Mayo's Avatar
 

Give him a really loud click track
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hold the Mayo View Post
Give him a really loud click track
Haha that was the first thing i tried and he asked me to turn it down

I’m going to recomend music lessons i think
Old 6 days ago
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hold the Mayo View Post
Give him a really loud click track

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsMisterVee View Post
Haha that was the first thing i tried and he asked me to turn it down

I’m going to recomend music lessons i think
Speaking for the congenitally rhythm-deficient, I have to say that there's sort of a 'Dunning-Kruger' threshold for rhythm understanding...

When I was starting out, several trying-to-be-helpful friends loaned me metronomes at different points. They just didn't click with me. (Pun acknowledged.)

To be honest, while my rhythm improved somewhat over my first years of playing, it wasn't really until one of the first drummers I worked with in a band sat me (on bass) and the guitarist/singer (who was his wife) down and lectured us on how to count beats so we wouldn't get lost (1-2-3-4, 2-2-3-4, 3-2-3-4, 4-2-3-4, etc through the section you're counting out, perhaps breaking it into 8 or 16 bar bits for longer passages) that I started being able to find my way around rhythmically.

But the real thing that finally got both the fundamentals -- and, importantly, the feel -- into my head was getting my own drum machine.

Now, of course, it's easy to just download beats -- but it's KEY for someone learning rhythm to be able to experiment, moving from basic four on the floor kick with snare backbeats on out to increasingly tricky stuff; experimenting with a drum machine [hardware or virtual doesn't so much matter, no point in spending money if one doesn't have to].
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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My view is that if they just don't get it, finish the work they want done and move on. Better to spend your energy on better quality clients.

If you really want to work with this client and want them to improve, you can try showing them examples of good and bad flow on line.

Usually when I'm having trouble getting a performance from an artist like that I break up the tracking into smaller bits, going line by line. Tedious but if that's what it takes...
Old 6 days ago
  #10
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If I’m an engineer recording a musician for money, i would probably steer clear of trying to be a producer (i.e., change the client’s performance) ... unless I really know the genre involved and the client wants me to produce and perhaps pays extra for that.

I can see two options:

1. Try to hook the client up with another client who’s a more polished rapper or rap producer, and see if that person can do some critiquing/coaching of the problem client.

2. Don’t try to change what the client’s doing, but explain how comping a vocal works (you need consistent phrasing from take to take to comp) ... then play a couple of the client’s vocal takes *at once*, panned left and right in the phones, over the track ... so the client can hear what your problem is; those takes should kind of match, but they don’t, it’s chaos. *Then leave the choice to the client:* Can you match up your takes, maybe do a take while listening to another? *Or* shall i just comp where I can, and if necessary use *all* of the best take, because you the client don’t want to try to make your takes similar?

fwiw ymmv
Old 6 days ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

Show him that all rappers/pop artist "hit" their words on the metronome ticks. When I first started rapping 10 years ago, I didn't know anything about metronome or know anything about tempo. I just knew that if I wrote to the beat I could make it sound good, but I didn't understand the concept of a steady tempo. Years later on, I lost that vibe and wasn't sure why my stuff didn't sound right on a track. Then one day I imported some other artist songs in a DAW and did tempo detection, and noticed that their words always landed on the metronome ticks. This was a major revelation to me that changed everything about how I approached song writing, even though this is practically the most basic music theory concept everyone should know.

The fact is so many new rappers know nothing about beat tempo or that all you need to do is land your words on the metronome. People instead go in blind to this concept and "try to make it sound good", which as they'll find out is a really inefficient way of writing to a beat when they learn about the concept of tempo/metronome.

You may think I'm joking but many artists simply are never taught this, and only go into recording/writing music based on their experience listening to music, with no music theory knowledge.
Old 6 days ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by KhaosSignal View Post
Show him that all rappers/pop artist "hit" their words on the metronome ticks. When I first started rapping 10 years ago, I didn't know anything about metronome or know anything about tempo. I just knew that if I wrote to the beat I could make it sound good, but I didn't understand the concept of a steady tempo. Years later on, I lost that vibe and wasn't sure why my stuff didn't sound right on a track. Then one day I imported some other artist songs in a DAW and did tempo detection, and noticed that their words always landed on the metronome ticks. This was a major revelation to me that changed everything about how I approached song writing, even though this is practically the most basic music theory concept everyone should know.

The fact is so many new rappers know nothing about beat tempo or that all you need to do is land your words on the metronome. People instead go in blind to this concept and "try to make it sound good", which as they'll find out is a really inefficient way of writing to a beat when they learn about the concept of tempo/metronome.

You may think I'm joking but many artists simply are never taught this, and only go into recording/writing music based on their experience listening to music, with no music theory knowledge.
A really interesting insight! Thanks for sharing your story.


The first generation of rappers were often (not always but often) people who had come up singing in church and/or with their pals, so they tended to have an intuitive connection between the relaxed, often syncopated melody-dependent rhythm of singing and the more rigidly rhythm-explicit (though still often syncopated) cadences of rapping.

And, in those days, of course, those cadences were more fundamental -- less stylistically evolved, more individualized and sometimes idiosyncratic seeming if only because there were fewer practitioners -- coming as they were at the beginning of a disruptive cultural shift that saw frequent stylistic and technical embellishments and internal shifts over following decades.

The rap of a half century ago was pretty different than rap today -- and that of today has seen stylistic fragmentation and cross-pollination from regional/stylistic school to school.

With that in mind, it might be instructive to expose such a client/friend/student to some old school that you think might help reveal those fundamentals.


You might also talk a little about about 'the ticks' and the imaginary divisions between them, playing some examples of how different rappers slice the time between the ticks, hitting some sub-beats while intentionally holding back (aka a rest in notated music) on others.

You might even talk to him about how some rappers engage in 'bending' or swinging the cadence of their delivery over a given metric unit, say a bar or two (but also maybe over a sub-measure length of time).

Also worth discussing is the notion of 'rhyming' the rhythm -- where you repeat a given rhythmic figure/cadence (it's very natural to do it if you're rhyming lines that match up with fixed metric sequences/lines -- say rhyming at the end of four bars.

Finally, while this next suggestion might be difficult for someone who works exclusively orally/by memory, if your talent writes down his rhymes -- or is at least comfortable following rhymes printed out on a page or screen -- it might prove very helpful to go through the rhymes with him and decide where the the rhythmic hits should be and mark it on the page.

(I usually use just a single pen stroke right over the syllable that falls on the downbeat and any other landmark beats I might need -- I also use dashes between syllables and long dashes for rests in the lyrics to help make syncopations more explicit -- all of that helpful in firming up a performance arrangement -- and really helpful if I come back weeks later, you bet. I'm typically working these days with sung lyrics, but the principles are the same. For screen-based work, since it's hard to line up stuff on the line above under normal circumstances, I bold those downbeat and or accent syllables; you could even use color for sub-measure divisions. )
Old 5 days ago
  #13
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chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsMisterVee View Post
Hey guys, hope somebody can help me!
I run a small recording studio and have many clients who are rappers in the Hip-Hop genre.

There’s this one guy who will just splurt out all of his lyrics over the music with no consideration to timing or rhythm...and when recording, his words are in different places of the music everytime. This makes it impossible to get more than one take of the same part.

I’ve tried explaining to him where he’s going wrong but unfortunately i just cant find the words to explain it without him completely misunderstanding (he is completely oblivious to this) Can anyone recomend any youtube videos or explain it a little better so i can relay it on??

Haha sorry for the random request! Really trying to help this guy out.

Many thanks!
The first time I heard Nirvana I though to myself, wow this guy needs singing lesson and asked myself.. Why is this drummer using his crash cymbal as a ride cymbal?? why is this drummer not playing in time to a click? Also thought was a strobe guitar tuner out of their budget??

Anyway maybe you get the point. Perhaps this artists is just being himself and trying to create his own style?? is he is just trying to be different? if not, then just take their money finish the project and move onto the next client.
Old 5 days ago
  #14
Oh one more important point, make sure your rapper doesn't end up sounding like this bad boy crew...




... that said, I was a bit taken with the rapping realtor's guest verse detailing the house's features.



[As someone whose first full time job was flipping burgers by the Newport Beach pier, and has some lingering fond memories of body surfing a few summers away there, sometimes hitching down from my folks house just to save gas (it went up to 15 cents a gallon at one point that summer), this video made me kind of nauseous. Really nauseous.]
Old 5 days ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
The first time I heard Nirvana I though to myself, wow this guy needs singing lesson and asked myself.. Why is this drummer using his crash cymbal as a ride cymbal?? why is this drummer not playing in time to a click? Also thought was a strobe guitar tuner out of their budget??

Anyway maybe you get the point. Perhaps this artists is just being himself and trying to create his own style?? is he is just trying to be different? if not, then just take their money finish the project and move onto the next client.
You just gotta be careful with this though.

"I'm too smart and talented and genius to be recognized, like Van Gogh" is a mantra used by millions of artists to short themselves of their potential or excuse themselves from learning new things.

While its true .00000000001% of the time, this is mostly used by people to be lazy.

Nirvana was tuned into a very strong ethos and aesthetic that was actually quite defined and fine tuned and ripe with vision, part of a bigger social movement that they were very dialed into (although sitting outside what the mainstream was used to at the time). They weren't clueless, out of touch, spazzed out, and incompetent.
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