Improv Rhythm

More than a Steady Beat

Subdividing the beat is basic to all music, whether legit or improv.If you haven’t mastered this ability, here is a very basic overview of dividing a beat into two, three, or four micro-beats.

You may have noticed in the video that the Ultimate Metronome is no longer available. It was a good software product with some interesting bells and whistles. But, online metronomes are now so widely available that it could not hold its own as a marketable item.

In my music teaching I use a metronome app on my iPad. In my home studio I often use my Wittner metronome. It has the great advantage of not needing batteries or an adapter.

The short answer is, an metronome can work if you get used to it by practice.

Subdividing into four is a necessary step to mastering the dotted rhythm. Suzuki introduces this rhythm in the May Song of book 1. Legit music, classical music, serious music and any music that fits into a category of the kind that begins on a music stand, all use the dotted rhythm extensively.

In folk fiddling it may not be so prominent. So much is played with a swing feel that the dotted rhythm gets rounded off into a triplet. But the situation is optional. As an improviser you can jolly well do whatever you want.

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