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Cello Lessons: Swing: 8th Note Feel

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[MUSIC]
One of the defining
characteristics of jazz music is swing.
Swing is the underlying
feel of a lot of jazz.
And it's actually a difficult
thing to talk about because swing,
what jazz musicians thought of swing,
it changed over time.
But the fundamental principle is
that our eighth note subdivision
is gonna be uneven, okay?
So in a lot of music, our eighth notes
[MUSIC]
are straight, they're very even.
But in swing, the first one,
the first eight
note is gonna be slightly
longer than the second
eighth note, so we have an uneven feel and
it helps things feel a little looser
[MUSIC].
You can also think of the shorter note
being slightly stronger than the long note
[MUSIC].
That's the basic,
way to think about the subdivision.
It's not quite a triplet,
[MUSIC]
one two three, one two three,
one two three, one two three.
The first note is not twice
as long as the second note.
And it's definitely not straight,
they're not even
[MUSIC].
It's usually somewhere in-between
straight eighth notes and a triplet.
[MUSIC]
Some sort of unquantifiable,
unmathematical feel based
division of the beat.
In addition to swinging your eighth notes,
a basic rhythmic pattern
than you'll in a lot of jazz is a rhythm
that will feels familiar to you.
It's this run jimmy, this shuffle rhythm.
So like in bluegrass, run jimmy
[MUSIC]
is with straight eighths.
In jazz, we're gonna swing the eighths,
and this
is gonna be a fundamental feel for jazz
[MUSIC].
We still accent the back beat
[MUSIC]
run jimmy, run jimmy, run jimmy, run.
[MUSIC]
I'm gonna practice this shuffle pattern
with a metronome so that I can
really keep my rhythm honest, okay.
I'll first start on a G open string.
[MUSIC]
Keep in mind that the short
note is a little stronger, very subtly.
[MUSIC]
I'm
gonna practice
this walking up
the G mixolydian
scale
[MUSIC]
and down
[MUSIC].
Jazz swing is a really personal thing, and
it's hard to feel your swing deeply,
and to get it to sound really good.
One technical thing I find helpful to
think about, relates back to a previous
technique video we had, called
visualizing the three dimensional string.
So when I'm playing swing the short note
comes on the right side of the string.
And then the long note, the slightly
lighter note, is on the left side,
the top side of the string.
So if I rock back and forth,
up and down the string,
I can use gravity to really
sink in on that groove.
And sink in on that swing subdivision
while maintaining a smooth stroke.
[MUSIC]
Look at the angle of my hand and bow.
You can see the bow dropping for
the short note.
[MUSIC]
That's a really good way to
sound a little smoother and
a little more swinging.
Let's try this same exercise
of practicing with the metronome
in this shuffle rhythm
[MUSIC].
I walk up the scale
[MUSIC],
so I'm really
focusing on just
really lining up
with the metronome.
It sounds a little academic so
let's try the same thing with
a backing track of real musicians.
And when we listen to this
full rhythm section you're
gonna hear the high hat in the drums,
going [SOUND].
And that's gonna be playing
that shuffle pattern.
And that's exactly what we want to
be listening to and trying to match,
when we play along with
the backing track in G mixolydian.
[MUSIC]
Just do it on an open
string to get in the feel and
then the scale.
[MUSIC]
In addition
to the shuffle,
let's just try
continuous swung eighths.
[MUSIC]
So you can try both of
these fundamental feels
with this backing track.
And once you feel like you can lock in
with that drummer's high hat [SOUND],
try improvising just up and down the G
mixolydian scale, focusing on your swing.
[MUSIC]