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What’s the secret of comedy….?

August 13, 2015

As most comedians know, the secret of comedy is…………… timing!! The same can be said of music as without some sense of rhythm, musical pieces become disjointed and awkward. The rhythm is what makes us nod our head, tap our feet or in some cases, dance!

The bass is part of the rhythm section and as such, has a huge role to play in determining, and locking down the rhythmic feel of a piece of music. I’m loathed to use the word ‘groove’ as it often conjures up images of hip jazz-cats or 70s disco hipsters but the groove is just as important as the melody or the harmony. The inter-play between drums and bass can completely change the feel of a track, whether the rhythm is simple and straight or complex and syncopated.

In order to become acutely aware of the small nuances of rhythm, musicians need to hone their own sense of timing and rhythm. Being able to sense the small sub-divisions between 1, 2, 3 & 4 can open up a wealth of rhythmic ideas and opportunities.

Everything we do has a rhythm. Walking, breathing, blinking, talking….. There’s a definite pulse and ‘beat’ to it. Our internal clocks are very skilled at detecting and identifying time….. Ever woken up just before your alarm goes off? Woken with a bang just after the alarm WOULD have gone off if you’d remembered to set it? That’s our internal clock at work.

I use many exercises for developing great feel and timing in my lessons and many students groan a little when the metronome comes out but there really is no excuse for having poor timing. The most technically advanced, intricate bass line can be ruined by poor timing so make sure you give equal attention to your timing as you do the notes or the technique.


Heres a great video by Jayme Lewis which highlights the importance of timing and feel.

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