Marching to the beat of a different clicker

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Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:46 am

http://labs.echonest.com/click/

I found this link quite by accident, and going back through my browsing history I can't even find out where I heard about it. Regardless, this is super-duper cool. Put in the name of an artist and a song, and it'll show you a tempo derivation map that will let you get an idea of whether or not it was played to a click track or not. That, in turn, can help you figure out some other things, such as whether the performance was captured or created (another cool link, but that's a recording blog I frequent). I love the comparison in that link, comparing and contrasting those ideas with photography vs. painting. It really is "art" either way.

For example, Britney Spears' cover of I Love Rock 'n Roll probably (definitely) uses a computerized drummer, vs. Joan Jett's original recording has alot of gentle push and pull.

And it's not that only heavily-doctored music has that sort of rigidness to the beat. Some of my favorite music I know for sure used a click track.

I like it this site. It's fun to play with. On a personal note, I do think it's important nowadays to play with a click - even just using a metronome in rehearsal is important for improved musicianship.
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:02 am

But what about those cases where you have someone like Gene Hoglan (nicknamed "The Atomic Clock") doing the drumming? :D
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:51 am

Well I don't know who that is. Wikipedia helped me out a bit, and I plugged a handful of Devin Townsend songs that he played on into the site, and this was about as good as it gets:

http://labs.echonest.com/click/?songId= ... =Christeen
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:14 pm

Heh really cool... I looked up a few metal songs, and it's cool seeing that even some of the people that I consider the tightest drummers around still show up with variations. Besides the example mentioned above, I plugged in Daimonos by Behemoth, a song in which I consider the drums "impossible" (for mere mortals, that is) - here's the plot.

Musically swinging totally the other way around and leaving metal behind, I clicked a few by Bernard Purdie (most recorded drum artist in the world). The charts are, heh, off the charts, they vary wildly, and that makes justice to his swinging style. But therein lies the beauty: Bernard has insane groove, yet to my ears, his playing is still tight as hell.
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:32 pm

It'll sound tight for sure - i think that's an illusion created by everyone playing together at the same speed, regardless of what that speed really is. It's only when you have a reference that you hear the difference between 84 bpm and 86 bpm. Or 140 and 135. And that's what's really cool about the post I linked with the contrast between captured and created performances.

It's really friggin hard to create a performance without a click, even with the aid of things like Beat Detective and Elastic Audio - and I've tried. At the same time I find it's incredibly distracting to try to perform live with a metronome in my ear. It's basically using the tools of the correct form of "art". You don't develop film to canvas or paint on glossy paper. I'm not saying a click doesn't have any place at all in live music (I known lots of people who play guitar/keys with the aid of loops, for instance, and the loops are basically a form of click) but it's a matter of knowing what you're trying to do in the first place.

And then the site is useful to help you deconstruct a song and figure out...something. Amusing trivia, if nothing else.

These kinds of deviations are part of why I'll import a tempo map along with instrument data when I import MIDI from Finale. It'll put in those subtle kinds of deviations in places where they make sense. It's kinda scary, and while it might be entirely placebo, I feel like it adds something to the project.
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:45 pm

Impressive considering the crazy song:
http://labs.echonest.com/click/?songId= ... t+On+Again

Then you have:
http://labs.echonest.com/click/?songId= ... %27s+Ready
Where the tempo varies throughout the song. The analyzer fails on it...
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:56 pm

Is it telling me that the Who used a machine for Won't Get fooled again or am I interpretting the results wrong? Is it meant to be telling me they are insane or they kinda sorted used some electronic assistance?
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:58 pm

Chasing rabbits or chasing clicks?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WANNqr-vcx0
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:59 pm

yogibbear wrote:Is it telling me that the Who used a machine for Won't Get fooled again or am I interpretting the results wrong? Is it meant to be telling me they are insane or they kinda sorted used some electronic assistance?

Judging from that track, it has a steady line, and small-but-noticeable variations. That indicates that Keith Moon probably had a click track going in his ears.
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:08 pm

I'm pretty sure they'd have to use a click to keep the delay on the synth in time with the rest of the tune.
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Re: Marching to the beat of a different clicker

Postposted on Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:51 pm

Steward Copeland seems to swing both ways ( ;) ) -- some Police songs are clearly on a click (even live?), but others like Synchronicity II are not (and looks very different in the two live performances available). And Roxanne clearly isn't on a click, especially live.

Cool stuff. Thanks for posting.
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