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Cello Lessons: Welcome to the Grid: Strum Bowing

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[MUSIC]
Welcome to the grid.
[MUSIC]
The grid is your home.
You never want to leave the grid.
If you leave the grid,
horrible things will happen.
So the grid.
Strum bowing.
This is gonna be the foundation
of all of our rhythmic playing.
And it's based off of a very simple
principle that you're probably
familiar with,
even if you don't realize it.
Whenever you see a guitar player
who's just strumming chords,
[SOUND] their arm is going in a constant
stream of down, up, down, up,
down, up, down, up, no matter what
rhythm they're actually playing.
So down, up, down, up, down,
up, down, up is a full strum.
And if I change the rhythm, [SOUND]
even though the rhythm is really funky,
the arm is still going down, up, down,
up, down, up, down, up, down, up,
down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up.
That is the strum, that is the grid, and
that's what we want to apply to the bow.
I got that phrase strum bowing
from the great Tracy Silverman,
a great violinist and electric violinist.
And so, we're gonna set up the strum,
we're gonna set up the grid in open G
string, which basically means we're gonna
play an endless stream on 16th notes.
It will sound like this.
[SOUND] Why don't you
join me on endless grid?
[SOUND]
Okay.
That is not music yet.
What we've got when we lay down that grid
of constant subdivisions what we've got
is we've just sort of got flat earth and
music, you could say music is like rain.
And when the rain falls on flat earth,
there's nowhere for the rain to go.
It just kinda [SOUND] like makes
everything kinda damp and disgusting.
But a groove is literally,
like when you draw a groove in the earth,
suddenly the rain water
has a place to collect,
and suddenly you're left with a puddle or
a pool or something useful.
And that's the same idea with groove.
I'm getting very abstract about it,
cuz groove is a deep concept, okay?
So in order to create a groove in our
grid of earth, we need to use accents.
Accents are the primary source that
we're going to create different feels.
So let's just start with a really
basic feel, a basic groove.
I'm going to accent the first
16th note of every four.
We're going to do a lot of verbalization
in these rhythmic lessons.
So I want you to say with me one, two,
three, four, one, two, three, four,
one, two, three, four, one, two,
three, four, with the accent on one.
One, two, three, four, one, two, three,
four, one, two, three, four, one, two,
three, four.
Let's put that on the cello.
[SOUND] Make sure one is really strong.
[SOUND] And
you want your bow changes to be smooth.
You don't want it to sound stiff.
You want it, the sound to be continuous,
[SOUND] with kind of
a relaxed accent on a one.
[SOUND] As we learn each of these
different rhythmic patterns,
I'm gonna have you
practice them in a scale.
So let's practice that one octave up and
down in G major.
One, two, three, four.
[SOUND]
Good, so
we've got accents on
the strong beats.
Next, we're gonna move to the chuga chuga,
which is where we're gonna
accent on the third subdivision.
So let's count it together.
It goes like this.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
This back beat is gonna be a fundamental
feel for a lot of folk styles,
particularly the bluegrass curriculum
that we've got here at Artist Works.
So, let's just try that on an open G.
[SOUND] One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
One, two.
[SOUND] Just relax, and
get into the groove of it.
[SOUND] All of these rhythms,
we can practice with the metronome.
Let's put the metronome at 70.
And I'm gonna practice a G major scale,
one octave up and down,
in the chuga chuga rhythm.
[SOUND] Two, three, four.
[SOUND] You'll hear the accent, one,
two, three, four, one, two,
three, four, one, two, three,
four, filling in those middle beats
between the metronome clicks.
Let's start a couple other patterns so
we can keep working on our strum bowing.
The next one is three, three, two, so
it's going to be grouped
in exactly those numbers.
One, two, three, one, two, three, one,
two, one, two, three, one, two, three,
count with me.
One, two, three, one, two, three,
one, two, one, two, three, one,
two, three, one, two, one, two,
three, one, two, three, one, two.
When we play that rhythm with the bow,
the accents actually the accents
are gonna fall on down,
up, down, down, up, down,
down, up, down, down.
Just air-bow with me.
Down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up.
And then we'll count, one,
two, three, one, two,
three, one, two, one, two,
three, one, two, three, one,
two, down, up, down, down, up,
down, down, up, down, down.
On the cello, ready.
[SOUND] Let's
practice three,
three, two.
One octave up and
down in G major with the metronome.
[SOUND] One, two, three.
[SOUND]
At
this point,
I want to
talk to you
about ghost
notes.
So, the reason they're called
ghost notes is because
we see them even though
they are not really there,
we just see a note, but it's not real.
It's a ghost, it's a ghost note.
And what I mean by that is that
we're basically gonna lift the bow
out of the string.
So we're not creating a note but
I'm gonna keep my physical strum going.
So if I was gonna ghost
the unaccented notes in the three,
three, two rhythm it would
look a little bit like this.
[SOUND] The main notes that are coming
out are the accented notes.
[SOUND] But
you get just a ghost of a subdivision in
between them because I'm releasing
the pressure of the bow on the string.
But listen one more time, and listen to
the ghost notes in between the accents.
[SOUND] See if you can join me so that
the accented notes really stand out, but
we still have a semblance of
subdivision happening and
my arm just keeps going down,
up, down, up,
down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up,
down, up, down, up, down, up, forever.
[SOUND] Let's try ghosting
the unaccented notes up and
down the one major the one octave G
major scale with the metronome.
[SOUND] One, two, three, and.
[SOUND]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
You can exaggerate this ghosting and
actually bring the bow all
the way out of the string,
so you're literally air bowing
the non-accented notes.
That will look and sound like this.
[MUSIC]
I'll just down up down
up down up down up down
up down up down up.
When you take it to this extreme,
this is where we really separate from
any sort of classical bowing ideal.
In classical music,
we often bow things as they come.
So a classical musician,
when confronted with this rhythm,
would go down up, down up,
down up, basically
finding the least amount of physical
movement required to play those notes.
However, in groove-based music,
we want to feel all the subdivisions
because the more of the groove,
the subdivisions that we're feeling, the
less we have to think about them, right?
So we want to put the rhythm into our body
and get it out of our mathematical head.
And so that's why we're physicalizing
these grooves, these subdivisions.
[MUSIC]
So that our body can just keep moving,
just keep moving, and we don't really have
to think about each note individually.
Let's try these super-ghosted notes
where we'll literally air bowing
the unaccented notes.
Let's try this one octave up and
down with the metronome.
One two three and.
[MUSIC]
Gets
a little while
to get used to it,
it's a weird
feeling to be
spending so
much time in the air.
And, that's actually,
probably the exception.
Most of the time when I'm ghosting notes,
I'm letting the bow kinda stay
on the string a little bit.
[MUSIC]
I'm kinda being a little more lazy
about it.
And the benefit of that is you still kinda
actually hear those subtle subdivisions,
which can help the rhythm as well.
[MUSIC]
Speaking of which, as I was doing that,
I was realizing I also gravitate
towards the upper half of the bow for
a lot of these rhythmic patterns.
So I want you to think
about where in the bow,
it's much harder to do them at the frog,
and
you'll have a little bit more flexibility
at the upper half of the bow.
Let me teach you just a couple
more patterns, and, for
all of these other patterns, we're gonna
ghost all of the unaccented notes, and
we can do that to varying degrees.
So, the next pattern is
an extension of three, three, two.
It's three, three, three, two, two.
So, it's double in length, and
it sounds like this on the open string.
[MUSIC]
With this pattern,
one thing we can do that really helps
rhythmic playing is to add a fifth
above the note we're playing,
just on the accented notes.
So if I added the open D,
it would sound like this.
[MUSIC]
The D is only being
played on the accents.
And it helps bring out the feel.
[MUSIC]
Let's try this together on a scale.
We'll just do maybe.
[MUSIC]
We'll just do an open D string for
all of the notes on the G string,
and then we'll do an open
G string added to the notes
of the scale on the D string.
It'll sound like this.
Here's the metronome.
[SOUND] One, two, three, and.
[MUSIC]
Whether I'm
adding a low
string or
a high string,
or even fingering
a double stop.
[MUSIC]
Adding that extra note just on
the accented notes really
helps with the groove.
Let me teach you just two more rhythms
to work on with your coordination.
We'll do the three two clave and
the two three clave.
So the clave is a two-bar
rhythm from Latin music.
And the three two clave sounds like this.
[MUSIC]
One and
four, two three.
One and four, two three.
So it starts with a three
three two rhythm.
The first bar is three three two, and the
second bar is just hitting second beat and
the third beat.
Try that with me.
We'll add the open D.
[MUSIC]
Let's
try this in
a scale.
One.
[MUSIC]
Great.
These are a lot of patterns to throw at
you, but by working on different patterns
at the same time, it can help you
develop your coordination quicker.
Let's try it together,
the two three clave.
One, two, three, and.
[MUSIC]
Now
up a scale.
Ready, and go.
[MUSIC]
When you
start working
on your strum
bowing, focus
on the chugga-chugga and
the three three two.
Practice those and
a bunch of different scales, and
then you can start exploring
these other patterns as well.
[MUSIC]