Sunday, June 7, 2020

Loops, and I'm not talking Froot

Follow you nose!
                                                      So, this isn't as much a rant as much as personal confusion. I increasingly see all sorts of people recommending "loops" to play along with. I get that they can be good for working on a specific beat or idea in a sort of isolated way, over and over. Or, although this is a practice method that needs to be used sparingly, a way to practice technical things in time, with the loop taking the place of a metronome or drum machine.
There's a few problems I see with this:

1. FORM!
Navigating the structure of a piece of music is an essential part of playing it. Marking the ends and beginnings of phrases etc. A loop removes all these musical challenges.
A loop will always be the same volume, or in the case of a longer loop, always have the same dynamic curve. A whole piece of music helps us make decisions around item number 1 by using dynamics, or discovering how the person on the recording portrayed this..
If one plays along with a whole recording that wasn't done with a click, the time will have natural,  sometimes almost microscopic "dents'" in it that the person playing along with it will have to deal with. I recently played along with Weather report's " A Remark You Made" and was amazed at how far back on the time I had to sit to match the recording. What was extra interesting, however, is that the feel didn't lay back the same amount throughout the tune. This is nuance that one only gets to experience with the entire tune.

So, in conclusion, just as I say to not bother playing on a pad unless a drum set  is unavailable or its volume unacceptable, I would recommend working on a whole song rather than a loop, unless the tune isn't available.

Now, because I mentioned it earlier, and more importantly, because it's a beautiful piece of music, here is the aforementioned " A Remark You Made". See you soon and stay safe! 

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