How to count and play notes at the same time?

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spanishguitarmusic
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:16 pm

mike.janel wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:54 am
There are many good lessons on YT.
For example
Very nice video and helpful for sure! :merci:

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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by lagartija » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:19 pm

I understand your method, Christopher, I think I used to do something similar. That method allowed me to keep track of the main beat....but when I got to pieces with compound rhythms , or pieces where precise subdivision was required, I really needed to know where I was in the count to get the agogic weight in the right place as I shaped the phrase. Hard for me to explain....
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by Briant » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:43 pm

Devon, you are not alone. I found it very difficult to count and play but it does get easier. Keep persevering and slow down.

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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by celestemcc » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:19 pm

Whether or not it's proper.. Well, apparently not.. but, it works for me for now.
It's not improper at all. It's just that you still have to know how to count even when you feel the beat, for all the reasons given above. I seems more confusing at first, yes. Sortof like being in high school and wondering "What am I ever going to use algebra for in my life, anyway??" Except that you're going to need this a lot more than algebra.

Another reason for counting is being able to handle a new rhythm (or more precisely, a new division of a beat) that you haven't seen before. Hang in there, OP, and you, Chris.
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by celestemcc » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:20 pm

I understand your method, Christopher, I think I used to do something similar. That method allowed me to keep track of the main beat....but when I got to pieces with compound rhythms , or pieces where precise subdivision was required, I really needed to know where I was in the count to get the agogic weight in the right place as I shaped the phrase. Hard for me to explain....
+1
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Christopher Langley
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by Christopher Langley » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:19 pm

So. Should I start counting while I play always and start now?

Or wait until it starts feeling necessary?

How about reading while I play? Do I need to start that soon too?

I do like to try to do things the right way. I swear!

I appreciate it guys!
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by lagartija » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:45 pm

Christopher Langley wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:19 pm
So. Should I start counting while I play always and start now?

Or wait until it starts feeling necessary?

How about reading while I play? Do I need to start that soon too?

I do like to try to do things the right way. I swear!

I appreciate it guys!
It is never too soon to start practicing it! That way it will be a ready and developed skill when you really need it.

Again, sing the count as you first learn the piece, just like the words to the song. Even before you play it in strict time. Associate the count with the notes you are playing; is that E you played on the “and” of 2 e and a? You should know if you are doing this as you learn a measure. I often write the count beneath the notes to remind myself as I am learning the piece.
As an example of why one might want to know the count, I will tell you that I am currently working on the Bach Allemande from BWV996. In the A section, there is a part of a passage where the top voice, if I sing just those notes is : a 3 e, a 4 e, a 1. If I wish to bring out that voice, and differentiate it from the middle voice and the low voice, I have to know when I shape that which notes are on 1 and 3 and how to handle the other notes so that the phrase sounds right and the voices have the right balance.
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Christopher Langley
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by Christopher Langley » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:12 am

Wow. It amazes me how deep this rabbit hole gets at times. Holy cow.

I thank you very much for taking the time to explain!

Things always make more sense when given some context. Something I find myself coming up short on sometimes without a teacher.

Thanks to OP and everyone who chimed in. Very informative!
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by lagartija » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:33 am

Always glad to help! :-D

Just to let you know, that although I can play that piece in time, at tempo...keeping track of the voices and their balance in a piece with counterpoint is relatively new for me. So in my practice this afternoon, I played that phrase while singing the count. Played just the top voice in time, singing the count. Again played the phrase singing the count....for about 15 minutes I practiced this. It was because I originally had learned the piece and heard the middle voice and the top voice as one voice, not two. To get that top voice correct, and show the flow of the phrase, I had to be able to hear it separately from the middle voice. Otherwise, how could I show the interplay between the voices which is the real beauty of this piece? The rhythm of the piece is easy...I could play it like a typewriter, with the weight on beat one and slightly lighter on 3–no matter which voice it was— but that isn’t how I think it should be played.
So even though I could play and count this entire piece as I play it, I needed to extract the voices and know to which part of the count each note of each voice belonged to bring out the beauty that Bach built into this piece. Not easy! :chaud:
But it is fascinating to see just how clever he was! So worth the effort, and my practice goal this week was to hear that top voice and shape it...while still being able to play the other two voices. Even if I just get it in that one phrase, it is a start. :-)
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bert

Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by bert » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:20 am

Use a metronome

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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by VCG » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:55 pm

For me,
1. If the count is not obvious, I write on the score the count - helps a lot.
2. I play while I say in load the count. The count may be not steady meaning the interval between 1 and 2 may be different than 2 and 3.
That just points that I don't know the part on a guitar yet and I need to return to learn the fingering and the strumming.
3. Adding the right leg to the count. (this is for the time I will stop counting and could use only the leg)
4. If the count in the part is complicated, I change the time signature. Instead of 2/4, I move to 4/8 or 8/16. Sometimes count as 1abc, 2abc, 3abc etc.
(Helps singing the part instead of playing while clapping) Especially with triplets.
5. I'm trying to keep the count as steady as I can.
6. I'm switching to a metronome - very hard even at a slow tempo.

Some steps I move threw fast. Some I stuck. Sometimes I move backward and mixing them. But always I start with writing the complicate count on the score.

Hope it helps.

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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by msa3psu » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:19 pm

I think Christopher's 'feel the beat' is essential along with counting so as to connect the count to an internalized feel of rhythm. That's why tapping feet or rocking side to side or nodding heads, etc. are common. The physical things could be an important element for learning but we also have to learn to hide the physical movements like tapping and rocking and just feel them internally. To Devon's frustration, I completely agree with those who say persevere and it will get easier and natural but not unless you force it at first and continue with it. Eventually you build a very large vocabulary of rhythm so that when you see a figure on the page you just know it and the count is automatic and all you have to do is calibrate it with tempo. When presented with something not in your vocabulary, you rely on the developed skill of counting.

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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by Ren Leblanc » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:10 pm

Try playing the piece you are learning along with a recording of it sometimes. This is easier for other styles of music with a more fixed tempo, but it can work for classical as well if the version you are playing to is played fairly straight and steady. It's important to use your ear even more than your eyes and by really trying to play along to a recording you'll develop your ears. If your issue is that you forgetting or getting confused as to when certain notes are to be played, then it might help a lot to really listen to a recording so you can actually interiorise the rhythms and hear how they are supposed to be played. I would even encourage you to start trying to learn simple things by ear completely - that will help you develop your sense of rhythm.

also, play the recording and count it out as the recording plays so you can see where things land. It's very difficult to play and count at the same time so maybe by starting out that way you will get a better sense of things.

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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by ronjazz » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:29 am

Solfege (solfeggio) is the study of sight-singing, and at one time was an essential part of studying a musical instrument. I can strongly suggest that any early-stage student spend a few minutes daily working on the Do-Re-Mi aspect of reading music, singing the pitches and the rhythms. This is a way of absorbing the language of music without involving the intricate technical demands of an instrument. Aaron Shearer's 1st volumes present this, and I was lucky enough to have an old-fashioned teacher when I started to who included solfeggio as part of the weekly lessons, which enabled me to become a pretty good sight-reader, thus allowing me early on to play sight-reading gigs that earned nice money and were very satisfying as well. The guitar is hard enough to play without fighting with the counting and note recognition!!
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Re: How to count and play notes at the same time?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:05 pm

Hi Devon

What Rob said:
RobMacKillop wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:16 am
Count, count, count. Then count again. There is no short cut. Eventually for most music you can play by feel, but you have to go through the counting stage. We are not talking about groove music here, where you have to switch off your brain and let your body go. Try playing in an ensemble without counting - you won't be asked back. And lots of contemporary music stills requires me to count very carefully, and even sometimes put in pencil marks for beats - and most people would call me a good sight reader. Counting is an essential skill, which all orchestral players get drilled into them from an early age. Guitarists generally don't, and it shows.

And don't pay much attention to guys who have only been playing a year, and like to talk a lot. They are a danger to other beginners.
Also this:
ronjazz wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:29 am
... singing the pitches and the rhythms. This is a way of absorbing the language of music without involving the intricate technical demands of an instrument. ...
Sadly, singing is neglected by practically everyone.

These help you "internalize" the music. You have to hear it in your mind to play it effectively!

cheers!
dirck

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