Aug 06 2015

Practicing With The Metronome On 2 And 4

By: Scott Gilliam

Posted in: Jazz Guitar Lessons

There is a school of thought that a swing feel must be present in order for music to be classified as jazz.  While I don’t necessarily subscribe to that in such declarative terms, I believe a strong time feel must be found in all forms of music. Traditional jazz generally has a swing element to it and for many trying to capture that feel, it is challenging to say the least. I have always heard jazz musicians strongly suggest that the student should practice with the metronome on 2 & 4. Initially I failed to grasp the concept but over time I was shown how to accomplish this. Rather than treat each click as a quarter note 1-2-3-4 we are going to say 2 on one click and 4 on the next. This simulates a drummers high hat and doubles the tempo of the click. I recommend starting slow at 50 bpm.
A great rhythm for the beginning jazz student to try is the Charleston Rhythm named after the famous dance. This works well with our metronome on 2 & 4 and there are some variations we can explore. Ex 1 is a dotted quarter note and a flagged eighth followed by a half rest. This is a “long” pattern.
Ex. 2 is a flagged eighth or staccato quarter note followed by a quarter rest and flagged eighth and a half rest. Once you are comfortable, try placing this rhythm in different spots of the measure to create interesting and challenging variations.
Ex 3 is a jazz blues in Bb that utilizes a basic Charleston Rhythm with a few short and long variations. For the sake of simplicity I have elected to start everything on the “1 “. Once the 2 & 4 is happening on the metronome you can get into the wonderful world of jazz rhythms. Syncopation, anticipation, ties and complex polyrhythms are just some of the many areas worth checking out.
Check out the accompanying video on this lesson:  Practicing With The Metronome On 2 And 4

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