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Django's timing

edited May 2018 in Licks and Patterns Posts: 2,392

what I'm wondering is, did anyone do an in-depth study of strictly the timing in his playing? Been thinking about how would it sound if I studied only this aspect of his playing and use whatever boring notes I'd play and what would be the result? Did anybody ever do that? How did it sound?
Occasionally I did that with some licks but never extensively.

Like today I've been listening to his solo over Honeysuckle Rose (I'm guessing the classic '37 recording) and like a lot of his solos it's a masterpiece in not only the note choices but maybe even more importantly, his timing. Like how he's forming the clusters of phrases and puts them next to each other in context and each one sounds fresh and different and so awesome and together they're exhilarating.

So, anybody?
Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
BonesWim Glenn


  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,657
    Really good point Buco. I've always been amazed at his timing or phrasing or whatever you call it. I'll try to come up with an example but he can play the same basic phrase but change it up just slightly and it sounds completely different.
  • geese_comgeese_com New Barault #105
    Posts: 121
    I think Ben Givan touches on Django's timing in his book.
  • BentBent New
    Posts: 5
    His timing was extremely accurate. Even at the highest speeds and considering that he sometimes played several downstrokes in a row his timing was incredibly accurate... Just listen to his minor blues solo. There is this famous C-6 arpeggio he plays in the beginning of the solo. The picking pattern is extremely irregular but nevertheless he nails it like nobody else...
  • Posts: 2,392
    Bones, I ran across those examples in I'll see you in my dreams. In at least three instances he plays the Fmaj arp with a tiny variations in phrasing and it sounds totally different every time. When I first learned this solo it was "aha!" moment for me in what can be done with almost exactly the same notes that are placed differently.

    I'll check out the Givane although I remember it's fairly academic work and my music reading is at the equivalent of a 1st graders reading skills.

    Yeah his timing in the sense of staying with the beat was always incredibly accurate. Which is what I like. I'm not a big fan of some otherwise incredibly good jazz players who are constantly behind the beat, it bugs me.
    Maybe phrasing or rhythm is a better word to describe what I was curious about in my original question?
    I did have a straight ahead jazz teacher in Chicago and one of his exercise drills was to come up with a rhythm of the phrase and only then ask to place the notes over it.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 101
    Buco wrote: »
    Maybe phrasing or rhythm is a better word to describe what I was curious about in my original question?

    Timing, phrasing, and rhythm all apply. I think cadence works, as well.
  • PapsPierPapsPier ✭✭
    Posts: 366
    Buco, it is a great exercise (having a rhythmically catchy phrase before thinking about the notes) and in this style (early jazz/swing/gypsy jazz) it is often what is attractive for an audience.

    Regarding your initial question, I had a reading suggestion but since you said you are not fan of scholar works, I dont know if you will like it (and to top it it is in French). Anyway I will let you have a look and decide if it is worth reading. It is a book called La Modernite chez Django, by Pierre Fargeton (subtitle the influence of bebop language on Django's music from 1947 to 1953). One of the points he studied is how Django modify his playing, and his timing approach over the years. He illustrates that by analysing choruses over a same tune: I cant give you anything but love from 193x, 1947 and 1951.

  • Posts: 2,392
    Paps it would be awesome to read that but besides that it's in French, it looks like it's out of print as well. It sure sounds like an amazing book.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • PapsPierPapsPier ✭✭
    Posts: 366
    Yes it is out of print but if you have a library near you they may have it. I am lucky to leave near the New York Public Library for Performing Arts, they have some crazy stuff.
  • Posts: 2,392
    No luck in the library near me. Closest it got was La Niña and its impacts facts and speculation and LA Outlaws.

    I tried today for a time to think of a timing from the Honeysuckle and use it while soloing over I found a new baby. It's not a quick process. I had to do it very slowly. If I menage to record something I'll post it.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Elan 14 - Altamira M10
    Posts: 104

    Your initial question was if anyone had ever studied this. I think I remember seeing that Yaakov Hoter's new course goes over lots of Django licks. I think somewhere out there, there is a 20min or so vid of him introducing some of these to include a discussion where he says similar to what has been said above by you and Bones--namely that Django would reuse many of his same patterns or phrases but his placement (starting on the 2, on the and of 3, on the downbeat, etc) or his cadence (straight eighth notes, triplets, a mixture, intermediate rests, straight through, etc) would vary and thus produce a different effect.

    I'm not sure if there are any forum members who have purchased it who might enlighten us more on the course content.

    @PapsPier , thanks for the book tip. I should like to peruse that, if only to amelioree my francais. ;-)
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