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Advice on Rhythm style please...

GregHBGregHB New YorkNew
edited January 2009 in Gypsy Rhythm Posts: 47
Hello All. It's been a while since I posted and I hope everyone is doing well! I need a bit of advice from anyone who can offer it.

I seem to be unintentionally developing a combination of the dutch and german styles of rhythm and am wondering if I should avoid letting it develop and go back to the drawing board. Here's what is happening:

In an attempt to get the upstroke and downstroke of beat one as close together as possible, I'm getting what Michael describes as the "swooshing" of the dutch style in the up-stroke as well as the "woofing" of the german style in the downstroke. I kind of dig it but am not sure if it is applicable to the manouche style.

Would it be frowned upon or is it not that big a deal? Thanks in advance for any advice!


  • Phydeaux3Phydeaux3 New
    Posts: 22
    Do you notice playing differently on slower or faster tunes or even different 'grooves'? For example I Can't Give You But Love compared to J'Attendrai?

    If you do and you're swinging along, then I'd say you're doing fine as you are getting used to the style and then employing your rhythm to match the groove and tempo of the tune.

    As the rhythm player for the band I'm in, my rhythm style changes throughout. For example I play Minor Swing in what Michael will call the German (Alsace) style but employ what he'd call the Dutch style when the Bass player takes a solo. This is to fill to rhythm out.

    I've learned to do this from the necessity of filling that emptyness the 'Alsace' rhythm can create.

    You'll also start to realise some tunes need a different swing groove (Michael has probably covered this. I really should get his book!!!) Where the 'authentic Pompe' sounds too out of place and a more modern (Americanised) rhythm is needed. Examples could be Paquito, Over the Rainbow.

    The 'upstroke' as long as it's employed correctly, I think helps you achieve the earlier Hotclub sound. Nous'che and Fapy do this extremely well. But I've heard both employ differing rhythmic changes to suit the tune/mood/tempo etc....

    I'm sure Michael will agree there are no hard and fast rules on which rhythm is right. You need to understand the different stylistic variations of swing rhythm and employ them at the right time for you.

    However, I really don't like Daa Dicky Daa Dicky Daa. Have I mentioned that before???
    Alors, un, deux...
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    I've found a great way to learn one particular style of rhythm is to get a recording that uses it and play along with it until you sound like you are inside the record.

    I use the 1937 version of "minor swing" for the traditional style.

    Early Bireli for the "german/alsace"

    The backing track of "swing 48" from the Selmer607 is good for the more modern upstroke-less style.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    If it's tasteful and crisp and light and dynamic and suits the music and doesn't lope-along like a horse... (the sort of horse gallop you hear a lot of Western players do when they're first starting to learn gypsy rhythm) then by all means - have fun finding your own style. No two rhythm players are identical and though studying the greats is a necessary rite-of-passage - it would be boring as all heck if Doudou & Mathieu & Hono & Mano & Herve & Nous'che etc... all sounded the same.

    I'm finally getting to the point where I can go back and forth between what (I think of) as German school which is a more direct 1 & 3 with very very light upstrokes if any (like Dorado Schmitt and some of the guys he's taught like his son Samson and Mathieu Chatelain) and more of what (I think of) as Dutch school - of which it'd be pretty hard to find a better model than Nous'che Rosenberg. Those monikers (German/Dutch) are just the way I think of things - Ethnomusicologists like Michael break it down into much more granular and accurate levels of detail.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
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