Beyond The Note: Jazz Music Essentials – #3 Time

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#3. Time

Where did the sound go? In actuality, it’s in the past. We are moving through time…we have clocks that measure time for us in seconds; minutes and hours…this creates days weeks, months and years. Music is reflective of the time that we are moving through…we are all in time. When musicians struggle with time problems, it’s usually because we are not listening and/or we are trying to execute beyond our capabilities on our musical instrument and have become overly involved with that aspect of playing that we forget to listen to ourselves and the other musicians we are playing with.

Everything works off the time…the melody, harmony, creative spontaneous improvising and the trust that binds a group together and allows for each musician within a group structure the freedom to take chances without the fear of condemnation.

I have found it very helpful to tap my foot on 1 and 3. This strengthens the quarter note so there is no fluctuation (rushing or dragging) when playing heads, parts, improvising or walking bass lines. Jazz is felt on the 2 and 4, but this feeling is an attitude about the music and can really only be obtained by constant listening to jazz music. As a rule, we can’t play it before we hear it.