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Detecting Click Tracks

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the musical-sleuthing dept.

Music 329

jamie found a blog entry by Paul Lamere, working for audio company Echo Nest, in which he experiments with detecting which songs use a click track. Lamere gives this background: "Sometime in the last 10 or 20 years, rock drumming has changed. Many drummers will now don headphones in the studio (and sometimes even for live performances) and synchronize their playing to an electronic metronome — the click track. ...some say that songs recorded against a click track sound sterile, that the missing tempo deviations added life to a song." Lamere's experiments can't be called "scientific," but he does manage to tease out some interesting conclusions about songs and artists past and present using Echo Nest's developer API.

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It's pretty standard these days (4, Informative)

spliffington (1130983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048631)

It's required to make use of drum editing and multitrack syncing. If I were to record garage rock album i would throw everyone in the same room and just play the songs. However to leverage much of the flexibility and power of a digital recording you need a click.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048649)

However to leverage much of the flexibility and power of a digital recording you need a click.

Really? Why?

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

gravos (912628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048657)

Wow, I had no idea that click tracks were so sophisticated. I imagine it can make it much more difficult for the drummer to follow along in a live situation - and if you get out of sync it must be disastrous! And of course you need the click track to synchronize for digital editing, it seems only natural.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (2, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049091)

You could get the band to play a "master" track, then make a click track to follow that one. Then the orchestra, special effects, and other tracks follow the master track. This is just a case of human beings modifying their behaviour to make life easier for the computers. Sigh.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049143)

You can't expect a single instrumentalist to record a whole base track, on their own, without screwing up the tempo if they haven't got a reference in the first place. At least the first track benefits from the presence of a metronome.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049889)

I pine for the days back when we had drummers like Keith Moon....just beat the hell out of everything, fast. No click track needed there. Man, I've seen films of him when he was young and really had his chops, those stick were a blurrrrrr.

I think I heard an interview with Pete, saying someone was asking him after listening to some recordings of a session or two of the Who, asking about overdubs, etc on the drumming, and when told it was just Keith, he said it was impossible for someone to hit the drums that fast.

Personally...I'd rather hear things a little more 'raw' than to have everything so 'perfect' so that the digital tools of today can work better.

I think in some ways, the modern recording tools, have helped kill good music in many ways, it can really mask the lack of talent in todays musicians. Some of those old classic albums were recorded practically live. There is very little in the way of overdubs on the studio version of "Since I've Been Loving You". That track was mostly recorded live in one take. Why can't the groups of today play together as a band live like that?

Regardless....I've rather FEEL the emotion in an imperfectly played tune, rather than hear a lifeless perfect rendition of a tune.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (3, Funny)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049953)

And I miss the days when we had cowbell players like Gene Frenkle [funnyhub.com] . No click track needed there either, not that it would have done any good.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Informative)

Artifice_Eternity (306661) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048679)

Because you're not throwing everyone in a room together. You're likely recording different parts separately, and doing multiple takes, then taking the best takes of each part -- or the ones that go together best -- and mixing them after the recording's done. You can also go back and add new parts if you decide they're needed, or change a part, without re-recording the whole thing. And you can even rearrange portions of the song -- cutting a verse or chorus, moving sections around, etc.

In order to do all of this, you have to have all musicians performing to an absolutely constant tempo.

Also, much music now explicitly incorporates electronic sounds that are sequenced -- synth arpeggios, drum machine patterns, etc. These are always precisely timed. Everyone else needs to be able to match them.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048743)

"Because you're not throwing everyone in a room together. You're likely recording different parts separately, and doing multiple takes, then taking the best takes of each part -- or the ones that go together best -- and mixing them after the recording's done."

You mean the recording process is just like it was 40 years ago? Multitracking has been around and commong for at least that long, and splicing together the best bits from different takes to producer the final version has been around and common even longer.

I think the click track is an abomination, symptomatic of the general micro-managing, nit-picking, perfectionist trend that's been going around in business...it's not about doing it right (the organic flow of an unclicked drum track is "right"), it's about doing it how you're "supposed" to do it.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049155)

You mean the recording process is just like it was 40 years ago?

Yes. I feel a car analogy coming on. Any car from 1960 is conceptually the same as any car from 2009. Just fancier and more efficient.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049375)

that is questionable actually - real progress exists but have been used up by additional energy sinks like: air condition, computers on board, electronic control systems, support for steering and breaking, the cars of today also carry much more of the (admittedly more modern) stuff than before - isolation etc. Not sure about 40years but if you take 10 or 20 years there may be a small decrease in fuel consumption but in general the cars use approx the same now and then.
Or maybe I am just buying the wrong cars - actually I did posses an Opel which is GM - OK now I know what t he problem is....

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049775)

You didn't quite get my point. What I mean is that a car is still an engine + wheels + chassis. All improvements made since it was first invented is accessory to make you safer, more comfortable and spend less cash on keeping it running. Take it all away, you still got a car.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049165)

I think the click track is an abomination, symptomatic of the general micro-managing, nit-picking, perfectionist trend that's been going around in business...

There's your problem. (Emphasis mine.)
It's not "having fun, making music" anymore. It' "cold hard business". When I even hear stuff like "music managers" selecting "target groups" to "monetize" their "product/resource", I'm starting to feel sick. Not that It's not Ok to earn money with your music. But it should not be your dominating factor. By far. Luckily I'm pretty sure, this will not survive P2P file sharing. ;)

it's not about doing it right (the organic flow of an unclicked drum track is "right"), it's about doing it how you're "supposed" to do it.

I know what you wanted to mean, but there is no "right" in arts. If you think the sound that your $5000 synth makes when it crashes on the floor after falling from a high-rise is the perfect sound, then so be it. ;) If you want to have a perfect, maybe even mechanical timing, then that is (well, at least it should be) a artist decision. Where you're definitely right (and what I think you wanted to say), is that it's not an artist decision, but a business one.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049431)

It(music industry) may not survive p2p sharing or it may fail because if one can simply generate music automagically - software will generate stuff that makes you feel good etc - then why need big corporations to produce the stuff in 'old fashion' way???

What is also interesting or at least what I find it interesting - all the stuff that according to TFA is created with help of computers I considered to noisy. I did not know why but now I do.
OC they find out way to change and make it more sophisticated and yet another part of human performed jobs is gone. I suppose at the end we do not need superwise skynets and such - simple GPS makes your brain sleep all the time, the music is automagically created and maybe in the future a washing machine (google for "The Washing Machine Tragedy" to learn more) will satisfy your other needs too...

But of course you are right the business decision making our lives 'simpler' and 'easier' do not necessarily promote development of our culture (if such thing exists at all of course).

Re:It's pretty standard these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049463)

It's not "having fun, making music" anymore. It' "cold hard business". When I even hear stuff like "music managers" selecting "target groups" to "monetize" their "product/resource", I'm starting to feel sick.

From Chevelle - Wonder What's Next:

In the beginning it seems that no one
Thinks beyond having fun which is why
You write music in the first place always
Moving, refining, pushing forward the art
That one's creating, looking to the right
Time to share it, and then the headaches
Of criticism senior advisors unseen people
Above twisting and distorting that which we
Love, and never ending problems with
Money holding you back preventing progress
I thought you only started 'cause it was fun.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Raydome777 (983995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049735)

Your right its "cold hard business" now, but if music as an "Industry" is on its way out with any luck it'll go back to being fun again.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (2, Interesting)

equex (747231) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049171)

A band that can't play a song with tempo changes without technical aid is not a band worth listening to, by my standards. I'd rather have a band play a few measures wrong than a whole song 'perfectly'. But then again there's people who like sterile & produced music better than organic music straight from the amps.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049873)

I absolutely agree. I have been a drummer for more than 30 years and play the guitar fairly well also. I have Ardour on Linux with a TASCAM US122L audio to digital USB interface. I know how to use them. I would never use a click track, and I am sure as hell not wearing headphones during a live performance. Any drummer that needs a click track needs to improve their timing / skills.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (3, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048755)

Much music now is explicitly shit, and I'm not even 30.

I think you've just explained why.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048763)

Much music has always been explicitly shit, regardless of when it was made. Go back and take a look at the charts for any year you care to name, and probably 95% of the artists will be people you've never heard of...because they were shit, had their fifteen minutes, and are now long-forgotten.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048795)

I guess you missed the article a month ago on Auto-Tune [slashdot.org] software, or you'd have already had an idea why most music today is bland shit.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (3, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048965)

I guess you missed the article a month ago on Auto-Tune [slashdot.org] software, or you'd have already had an idea why most music today is bland shit.

That is because the money is not in the music, it is in the music video, accessories, and other bullshit. Just find some beautiful woman [dotancohen.com] to sync to a click track, the alter her voice to actually _sound_good_ and you've got a winner, with no accusations of lip syncing or whatnot.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Funny)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049179)

I thought it was because of songsmith.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1, Interesting)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048771)

Or you could, you know, just have everyone in one room and record the result of that. It's called music.

The only thing this "digital revolution" has brought to music is sterile, over-compressed, lifeless, lowest common denominator elevator muzak.

Listen to a band playing live (and even then larger band have all sorts of electronic wizardry involved). Compare that to the CD. World of difference. No punch to the drummer, no life in the lead guitar.

And don't even get me started about the vocal processing these days. I'm pretty sure young people haven't heard straight-up singing in their lifes.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048809)

You do know that 99% of the studio albums released in the past forty or fifty years were multitracked, and probably 99.999% of those were recorded one or two instruments at a time, right? Even live albums often have considerable studio polishing done to them (additional guitar and vocal tracks, retracking certain instruments, etc). Throwing a band in the studio and having them play at once just doesn't sound good most of the time. Rock concerts are very different from listening to a record--for one thing the volume level is insanely high, the sound is massive (I'm talking sound field), and there's an audience. All of those are a huge factor.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (5, Interesting)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049577)

Been there, done that. Recording a band without multitrack is a nightmare (call it direct take). The slightest mistake that any musician may make, and there will be many, will force to re-record everything again. Small live mistakes are acceptable, in a record, they're not.

Even worse, you may record a song with the perfect groove because the band is full of feeling, and it's so perfect it hurts. But the vocalist got one note wrong. Then you stop and start over again and the groove is gone, because of a very subtle feeling of discomfort in the musicians. Maybe they're fed up with all the takes, etc. It's a lot easier to record multitracked and then ask the vocalist to correct only that note. Then you can use beautiful, great recording you couldn't repeat if you tried.

If you have a shitload of money you can simply hire the best musicians in the world and spend lots and lots of studio time to get the direct recording just perfect. But that is not viable for the most situations.

Multitracking is not only about error-correction. It's also about processing each instrument differently and keep the balance. A vocal phrase may be too loud and muffle the band, just drop the volume a little on that part or compress the vocal track. If the guitar solo is not standing out of the mix, equalise only that segment and raise the guitar track level only for the solo, etc. Also, you need to space the instruments across the whole stereo space and equalise them so they don't clutter together.

Great jazz recordings were performed direct in the studio. But that's collective improvisation, it depends heavily in the group dynamics. You can't record a jazz band instrument by instrument, it won't sound right. You can listen to "Kind Of Blue" of Miles Davis. There are small imperfections perfectly audible throughout the whole record. But it's an irrepeatable, beautiful piece of music. Would you throw it away because one sax spilled into the other sax's microphone or you can hear the musicians whisper in the studio? But we're talking about the best of the best musicians possible. And even jazz recordings are multitracked anyway, because the tracks need to be at the very least individually panned, equalised and compressed.

Don't get me wrong, I hate over-produced music. I think the role of production is to serve the music, not the other way around. I like recordings that sound a bit dirty and spontaneous, but you'd be surprised to know the amount of hard work the producer and technicians have to make it sound that way.

Back in the olden days.... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049997)

"Recording a band without multitrack is a nightmare (call it direct take)."

Call it "Live-to-2 track", instead.

Sheffield Labs used to do it wonderfully.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048897)

Lots of bands that play poorly live sound great on their CD's, and vice-versa. I'd go as far as to say that *most* of the bands that I've liked listening to live have sounded terrible when laid down, and vice-versa.

It's the musician's dillema. Focus on the tricks that make a recording sound good, or focus on the aspects that make a live performance sound good. They're very different sounds.

Of course, I'd guess that the major impetus for getting a click track to the drummer has not been the relentless march of soulless digitization, but simply ticked off guitarists. Sure, we might call it the natural ebb and flow of music, but on stage it is called the drummer screwing everyone else up.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049401)

"It's the musician's dillema. Focus on the tricks that make a recording sound good, or focus on the aspects that make a live performance sound good. They're very different sounds."

Rubbish.

The reason a band that sounds good live might fail in a studio recording are...

1: The studio they used does not have the facilities to record live music. Most studios don't nowadays and it is rare to have the big good sounding live room you need for this kind of thing. One room, home or basement studios will not do! Bands try to economize on recording and then it sounds bad.

If a studio does not have the facilities, then they will often lay it down part by part, which loses all the feel.

2: The material is weak. It's exiting live, but does not cut it without that live presence.

There are not really any studio tricks you *have* to do. A good sounding band is a good sounding band, live or recorded.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Spit (23158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049403)

Bands that sound good live don't translate well to the overdub recording precisely because they are good bands.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049967)

"on stage it is called the drummer screwing everyone else up"

Yes. If only the drummer could keep a beat the way the rest of the band can! ROTFLMAO

Disclaimer: I am a very good drummer and a decent guitarist. I have no bias except experience.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

home-electro.com (1284676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049601)

Two times I purchased CDs of musicians I did not know before at the live concerts. Both were rather disappointing... Only after a while (when the excitement of hearing the original performance wore off) I could enjoy those CDs. Music on them was so dull...

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Insightful)

HonIsCool (720634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048889)

If you start with the drum track then everybody can play along with that recording and there's no need for any click track to keep everything in synch. It can even be the same individual playing all the instruments...

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049605)

Stevie Wonder produces and plays most of the instruments in his own records. Lenny Kravitz works this way, too. And we're not talking about a small 3-piece band, these guys play a lot of different instruments!

Re:It's pretty standard these days (2, Insightful)

lurcher (88082) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049665)

Yep, I was going to say the same thing, the parent said "In order to do all of this, you have to have all musicians performing to an absolutely constant tempo."

And its not true, all you need is to have all musicians performing to the _same_ tempo

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049981)

Exactly. And it doesn't have to be the final drum track. The drummer can always lay a new more meaty track down after the rest of the sound starts filling in.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (3, Informative)

rivaldufus (634820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048919)

It's not just bands now, either. Modern film scores use a click track. Some of my friends play film scores as freelancers (they are professional, classically trained musicians) - and they've all reported having to use a click track.

The "conductor" is mostly used to notify them which section to play... as most of the music doesn't merit actual rehearsal time. The conductor does get to watch the film during the session, however.

It's pure torture for the musicians... to make it worse, the "conductors" will sometimes say, "Wow! I wish you guys could have seen that scene!"

With all the attention to digital synchronization, some people seem to have forgotten to write and play decent music on occasion. Most film scores these days seem to rip-offs of other film scores or semi-quotes from classical works (John Williams, I'm looking at you.) As great as the radio and recorded music has been, I sometimes feel that it has killed music.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

jfim (1167051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049321)

It's not just bands now, either. Modern film scores use a click track. Some of my friends play film scores as freelancers (they are professional, classically trained musicians) - and they've all reported having to use a click track.

The "conductor" is mostly used to notify them which section to play... as most of the music doesn't merit actual rehearsal time. The conductor does get to watch the film during the session, however.

It's pure torture for the musicians... to make it worse, the "conductors" will sometimes say, "Wow! I wish you guys could have seen that scene!"

Is the usage of the click track torture or the lack of rehearsal time? And how is it torture? (Not trolling, just curious since I'm not a musician)

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049017)

There are digital signal processing tricks that can slow down / speed up a tempo without changing the pitch of the tune. I don't see why you can't let the drummer play in his own rhythm and then synchronize everything in post-processing.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049153)

You can post-process/edit and it is often done.
Gotta fix all the strange drum hits.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

assert(0) (913801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049827)

True, but even the best time stretch dsp tricks produce artefacts. Possibly tolerable in the +- 5% range, but annoying as hell in the +- 50% range.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049029)

I'm 24 and have been playing drums for more than half my life. In many circumstances, drummers not only need to practice to a click track, but to perform with it as well. The biggest crowd I've ever seen bounce up and down was when Rob Zombie was on stage and the drummer was playing along to a previously recorded sample. No drummer has ever been fired for keeping too "on" the beat.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049067)

This is not a troll. I'm genuinely curious and ignorant. If parts of a recording are done separately, what is the difference between a drummer recording a particular sequence of music over a set period of time, and a drummer recording the first non-repeating set of drum hits and simply looping that over and over again? I hope my question makes sense, I'm not familiar with music terminology (tempo, rhythm etc) that would have made my question clearer.

Thanks

Re:It's pretty standard these days (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049105)

The human ear is very quick to spot repetition resulting in a sound which can quickly become robotic sounding.

Even if a drum track sounds the same for say one section of a song there will be small variations in rhythm and volume over time that to human ears just sounds more natural.

It would also be not much fun for the drummer as he would just be laying down loops instead of an entire track.

Of course sometimes this is the effect which is desired so you might end up with a more processed sounding drum track. Think Fat Boy Slim et al.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049429)

well you have the idea, but not the experience. in real life, you probably can get 1 reference track with bass and drums, and from that you can create a tempo map that matches measure by measure the changes in the tempo of the song. once you have that all the editing, aligning, re-recording takes care of itself. you create the tempo track by simply tapping to the beat yourself, or as in the case of any professional recording, from an isolated drum beat like the snare. modern day pro software can handle 'time warps' pretty well, that is say where a chorus got recorded at 120 bpm, but needs to fit into a place later in the song that ended up 122 bpm. in most cases, you will never know the difference.

use a visual click... (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048655)

...a slow stroboscope or whatever... or change your sound engineer for a pro.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (5, Informative)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048665)

If I were to record garage rock album i would throw everyone in the same room and just play the songs. However to leverage much of the flexibility and power of a digital recording you need a click.

I record garage bands. You don't need a click track for multi-track recording. Take a demo tape and use it to get the drummer to play his track. Use the drummer as the click track for the rest of the sessions. A click track is not needed for multi-track digital recording. I add the wet tracks last after recording all the dry tracks for final mixdown.

The only click track used for this is just a tempo 1 measure lead in to get the drummer started on a new tempo.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Attila the Bun (952109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049333)

I record garage bands. You don't need a click track for multi-track recording. Take a demo tape and use it to get the drummer to play his track. Use the drummer as the click track for the rest of the sessions.

That's OK if you aren't going to do any time-shifting. The advantage of the homogeneous tempo provided by the metronome is that you can chop up and rearrange each track as much as you like, and still have the final mix line up.

Of course if you need to do this much editing, you might as well not use musicians at all. [youtube.com]

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049459)

no, he is dead on - your comparing toy software to pro stuff. pro stuff does not need any click, but a lead in click helps the start of the song. after that it is often done, but NOT a requirement for multitrack digital editing / arranging / sweetening.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (5, Interesting)

lkeagle (519176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048747)

I'll have to respectfully disagree. The only reason most bands use a click track is if your drummer can't hold a tempo. There's nothing about digital recording that requires a click track, as evidenced by the enormous number of bands that popularized click tracks in the 70s and 80s.

All a click track does is remove the need for band to practice with metronomes, which unfortunately is one of the most important thing that any musician can do to improve their playing.

I'll admit, there is a case where using a click track is important, and that's if you have a sampler synchronized to it to play pre-recorded material that has to line up. You could consider this a form of 'multitrack syncing', if that's what you were referring to. This is quite common in live pop and hip hop concerts. Even more distressing is the number of 'live' acts where everything is prerecorded except for the vocals.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (5, Insightful)

lkeagle (519176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048777)

I also forgot one other reason click tracks are popular in today's live pop and hip-hop concerts. Turns out it screws up the choreography if you have even minor tempo fluctuations. A slight shift in tempo can make already difficult dance moves even more so.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (3, Interesting)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048983)

It's not just dance choreography. A lot of concerts have some sort of video display, which is synchronized to the music. Depending on the nature of the show, there may be some pre-recorded parts as well, mixed in with the live performance. Here's an example [youtube.com] of both: the lead vocal, keyboard and bass are live, but the drums aren't, the background vocals aren't, and there's a video on the screen.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Ashe Tyrael (697937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049671)

Most metal bands that use orchestral or other backing work use these too. At that point, it's a matter of synchronising the live performers with that stuff you's spent a goood deal of money getting that choir or orchestra to record. Thankfully, with the best bands of this type, they tend to try and do as much as possible within the live performance.

To be honest, I think the sheer amount of badly-done artifical pap err pop music has really soured very many people to the concept of backing tapes, and any aid that keeps tempo. Queen used a fair amount of backing tape, and nobody ever said they were fake. Sometimes, you just need a degree of synchronisation, especially when your songs are more compositions than out and out songs (Nightwish, Dream Theatre, et al) which mean that there have to be moments where the band knows, to the instant, where to come in, or back in after a gap, without being able to hear exactly where they are on the tape itself.

As an aid to lousy drummers, I can see why they'd draw ire, but a lot of these drummers are very very good. They just need to keep a lot of things synched up to make their soundscapes work as they should.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (4, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048873)

Even more distressing is the number of 'live' acts where everything is prerecorded except for the vocals.

More distressing is the number of 'live' acts where everything is pre-recorded INCLUDING the vocals!

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

Slugster (635830) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048909)

Even more distressing is the number of 'live' acts where everything is prerecorded except for the vocals.

...You forgot the part about running the live mic through an Antares box.... :/
~

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049025)

I'd also love to see a band like Dream Theater play to a click track. Not everyone plays to a single time signature for a whole song.
DT don't stick to one for more than 10 seconds, or so it seems :D

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

wwwald (1452511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049095)

With a little effort you can still get your head around DT... but check out earlier Meshuggah recordings, Dillinger Escape Plan and related bands.

Now *THAT* is a challenge :-)

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049327)

That might have been true a decade ago. I went to a Pro Tools seminar a couple of years back, and one of the very first things the guy showed us how to do was to set up a tempo map to match the subtle shifts in tempo on music recorded without a click track. Once that is done, music recorded without a click track can be edited just as easily as music done to a click track.

Re:It's pretty standard these days (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049853)

AC is right. Beat maps are great and used everywhere. Beat detection algorithms in modern software work great; most of the time, detection is perfect and you don't even have to tweak it.

Then you have the best of both worlds: Editing and syncing sequences is easy, and you have a human feel.

what about (1, Funny)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048635)

detecting shit tracks, for example:
if (interpret is coldplay or is from universal) then
   dump that friggin shit back to its pond
fi

Is it too late?? (-1, Offtopic)

tricky11 (1473613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048661)

I'm a frustration drummer and hopefully it's not yet too late for me to learn. But I got to find time first for this, been busy at work and farming cheap wow gold [wowgoldpig.com] on my leisure time.

The Crickets (3, Insightful)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048673)

Around here... I wonder if they are using a click track?

On a serious note, I do like the warmth of older music, and my listening tastes tend to meander around the times between 5 + 30 years before I was born. (Child of the 80's).

As much as a tech nut I am, I still believe there are certain area's in life where it should be left at the door.

Re:The Crickets (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048709)

Around here... I wonder if they are using a click track?

No. The Crickets had Buddy Holly. They also had talent.

Re:The Crickets (2, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048761)

Yeah, although I mostly listen to recent rock, a lot of the stuff where I love the drumming in particular is older stuff. Mitch Mitchell for example, especially on "Are You Experienced?". I don't think it's just the use of click tracks, I have a suspicion that I just like the way drums sounded through the less sophisticated recording technology used back then, or maybe the drums themselves. But I bet Mitch would be turning in his grave at the thought of using a click track.

Well... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048713)

Click tracks have been used for years. I don't like 'Click tracks' myself but as Jeff Berlin once said "The timing is already built in, you just have to feel it". Sterile? yep. I agree but I don't hold listening to a metronome accountable. You have the groove or you don't.

Sterile? As if it made a difference... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048729)

some say that songs recorded against a click track sound sterile

I'd say 90% of whatever is recorded nowadays already sound like crap, so at least it's rythmically correct crap.

Don't worry about click tracks, real musicians with real talent probably don't have any need for them.

Re:Sterile? As if it made a difference... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048765)

the drummer from linkin park spent 8hrs a day for 3 months practiciing to click track before the recording sessions started...and this was for their 2nd album...not the 1st...

what is making things sound sterile is simply crap pop music that is also waaaaay over produced. not being rhythmically correct.

Re:Sterile? As if it made a difference... (4, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048833)

Don't worry about click tracks, real musicians with real talent probably don't have any need for them.

Actually, yes, most musicians need some sort of "click track" if they're playing in any sort of ensemble. It's just that in an orchestra or band setting, they're called conductors. In modern rock/pop bands, they're called drummers.

Re:Sterile? As if it made a difference... (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049009)

Don't worry about click tracks, real musicians with real talent probably don't have any need for them.

...or use click tracks to their advantage and not as a crutch.

(Just for comparison: I'm just a random writer, and I'm not afraid to admit that I use a spell checker. =)

It's been done since the 70s. (1)

elizium23 (992632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048749)

Drummers have had metronomes in their headphones since at least the 70s, when Disco was king, and everyone was striving for a more rhythmic, "electronic" sound - even if they were using analog instruments. Drummers especially tried to ape drum machines before the machine even existed.

Tempo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048759)

"The steady downward slope shows shorter beat durations over the course of the song (meaning a faster song). That's something you just can't do with a click track."

You could always just ramp the tempo up slowly...

Click Track versus Pro Tools (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048781)

I'm not convinced you can measure this accurately without analyzing unedited master tracks. It's too easy to postproduce away uniqueness in a recording -- especially in the music that this article calls "overproduced".

How can you tell when a drummer is knocking .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048785)

Q) How can you tell when a drummer is knocking on your door?

A) He speeds up

Generalizing is usually bad (3, Interesting)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048811)

Sometimes there's an obvious speed up or slow down on a song, and in those cases you don't need software to figure out if there's a click track. A quick way to check is to compare the very end of the song and the very beginning. It's similar to acapella singing, sometimes there's a slight change in pitch. If it's not so much that you notice in the middle of the song, then it's not worth worrying about.

There are great albums that used click tracks, and great albums that didn't. Obviously a metronomic sense of tempo is a good asset for a drummer to have, especially if they're looking for session work. But a sense of dynamics and texture is, in my opinion, more important. I'd take an interesting drummer over one that just subdivides everything any day.

Then again, some songs benefit from the drum machine sound. It's all about the vision.

I don't consider a click track on a studio album to be cheating any more than a photographer using a light meter. In a live setting, however, it's a different matter. Not that I've seen anyone actually use a click track live (except for people attempting to sync up with some other prerecorded track and did it out of sheer necessity).

Re:Generalizing is usually bad (1)

adminstring (608310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048953)

Good points. It should also be noted that speedups and slowdowns aren't incompatible with click tracks. The author of TFA doesn't seem to take this into account, and assumes that if there are speedups and slowdowns, there is no click track.

In Steinberg's popular Cubase multitrack recording software, for example, you can use a pencil tool to draw a "tempo map" which is like a graph of the tempo of the song over time (similar to the graphs in TFA) and the click track will speed up and slow down as you record, to make the tempo of the song match the tempo map.

Even in the 1970s, the producer could speed up and slow down the metronome manually as the song was recorded. This would allow the song to "breathe" yet still keep the tempo more consistent. Drummers, especially inexperienced ones, have a tendency to speed up during fills, and playing to a click helps to stabilize the beat.

Re:Generalizing is usually bad (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049595)

Even in the 1970s, the producer could speed up and slow down the metronome manually as the song was recorded.

For an extreme example of this (admittedly from the late 80s), listen to Lil' Louis - "French Kiss" ;-)

You can also randomize a few % (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27048847)

I do some recording/mixing and have had the privilege of working under a Grammy winning recording engineer (and phenominal musician in his own right).

Great comments here- yes, click-tracks have been around since the 70s (maybe 60s). Tempo throughout a song can change too much without some kind of metronome. It doesn't have to be an actual click track, just something to guide the musician laying down the first tracks. Just because a drummer or other musician listens to a perfect tempo click track doesn't mean the timing will be "sterile". We're still human! However I know some drummers who are scarily close to perfect timing- without metronome.

Most better click track generators have the ability to randomize the timing a few percent (adjustable). One major midi-based recording program that I use (MOTU Digital Performer) calls it "humanize". You can "quantize" a track to get timing, then "humanize" it.

Re:You can also randomize a few % (3, Insightful)

localman (111171) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049579)

Yeah, but "randomizing" is not really "humanizing". A good drummer doesn't vary the tempo randomly, tiny tempo changes would go with what feels right for the song. There are many reasons why a particular section of a song might feel better with a slight tempo change. There may be some randomizing going on as well, but that is certainly not the whole picture, or in my estimation the most important part.

Even if you program in slight tempo changes for different sections of the song (which I've done on occasion) there's still an interplay between the different performers trying to stay in sync that causes slight leads and hesitations between different instrument that add to the depth of the music. If everything is quantized that is lost too, and randomizing doesn't bring it back.

I've recorded with and without click tracks for various reasons, and quantized or not for various reasons. Neither is right or wrong, it just depends on what you're trying to create. But there is a lot of depth that comes out of having people playing live together that is nearly impossible to replicate when the recording is highly controlled.

Cheers.

Timing doesn't equal "feel" (5, Informative)

whichpaul (733708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048867)

I'm an experienced drummer and I play regularly with, and without, click tracks; I can tell you that the assumption that "feel" or "groove" is only present when a drummer's time varies is not accurate.

There are at least two types of variation that matter in a drummer's performance: the overall sense of time and the moment by moment variations. The ability of a drummer to play a complete number and keep to a set tempo is really important, particularly in this day and age of digital editing. But it is a common feature of "click track performances" for the drummer to sway ahead of and fall behind of the beat (faster and slower). If done correctly this variance in tempo will add significant life to a performance and such a skill takes a lot of practice to perfect.

The subtle qualities of a drummer's performance go far beyond whether or not they stick to a given tempo for the duration of a number; this is just one variable that effects the quality of a performance. Some genres require a rigid sense (metal/electronica) of time whilst others benefit greatly from its absence (fusion/jazz).

Interesting software however ... I'm tempted to have a play with it.

Consistent Tempo != Click Track (5, Interesting)

Nate4D (813246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27048905)

I play keyboards for two different worship bands at my church, and I discovered a pretty amazing trait that our drummer/leader in the morning service has:

He doesn't change tempo unless he wants to.

At all.

To elaborate, as that sounds sketchy unless you know how I learned it:

I'm a pretty rhythmic keyboard player, and one of my favored techniques (especially if I need to fill in empty space from, say, a missing electric guitarist in addition to the other textural stuff I was doing) is to use multi-tap delay and really accurate timing to build rhythms and and evolving chords. It can be a really fun effect.

I don't use it much, though, because even with a tap-tempo delay, which I have in my rig, it's really awkward to stay synced up with the rest of the band. My delay is pretty accurate (built-in effect on the Nord Stage, which is rather high-end. I'm pretty confident it's got sub-millisecond accuracy), and I can stay tight with it, but even decent drummers can have a hard time with that (let's hear it for teachers that make you practice with metronomes, eh?), so I usually have to adjust the tempo a few times throughout a song, and that can make things get ugly fast. A less-than-decent drummer, which is all too common, can't stay consistent enough for me to even try it. Thus, I don't (or didn't, I should say) do this much at all, despite my fondness for it.

But, when I first tried it with Bob (the aforementioned drummer), I was shocked, because it just worked. I tapped in a tempo on his first measure or two, and it stayed tight the whole way through. I really hadn't expected that result - hadn't occurred to me humans could be that accurate.

Naturally, I started trying this in various places where it fit, and so far, I can't remember a single attempt where it didn't stay synced. Granted, I haven't tried it with really dragged out delay times (nothing above about two beats of delay at maybe 100 BPM), but even so...

This is the best of both worlds, because when you need him to be rock-solid, he is, but when the situation calls for it, he can (and does) manipulate tempo intentionally.

I've told him (and others) that playing with him is like having an expressive human metronome, and I mean it. It is amazingly blissful - I can wander out into strange netherworlds of syncopation and/or ethereal tempolessness (yay for pads!) and the foundation never wavers.

I'm sure that at times, he has small amounts of drift, but given that my delay stays tightly synced with him for whole songs at a single tempo, it can't get as large as even a single beat per minute very often.

We haven't tried it yet, but someday I'd like to try him out against some sequenced stuff - I'm pretty sure that if I could handle it (which I don't think I can, yet), he'd be unphased by it, even if it got pretty thick. Live band + sequenced riffs/textures/effects could result in some pretty cool stuff.

So, all that to say:

The guy who wrote TFA is actually just providing a measurement of how consistent the drummers for these bands are. Maybe they used a click track to achieve that consistency, but as a semi-pro living in central PA (not exactly renowned for its music scene), I've found one who doesn't need the click.

Re:Consistent Tempo != Click Track (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049141)

Nice to have a drummer that listens to you, isn't it? Two more drummers that do that incredibly well belong to the Stones and Dylan.

Is that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049203)

Bob from the Enzyte commercials?

It's just like pitch (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049235)

Different people hear pitch to different degrees. Some are tone deaf, things can be completely out of tune and they really don't notice, they can't hear it. Others have excellent relative pitch. They can hear if two instruments playing in unison or harmony are in or out of tune to a high degree of accuracy and what the interval is. However they can't tell the tuning of a single pitch on a single instrument played solo. Well there are still others with perfect pitch, that is the ability to tell tuning of a solo sound. You can play a note and they can tell you what note it is, and what the tuning is often to a very high degree of accuracy.

So while the first group would absolutely require the use of a chromatic tuner to be able to be in tune, the second group wouldn't. They could tune their instrument by listening to the band. The third, they wouldn't even need that. They could tune by themselves.

Well, different people can also just "hear" or "feel" tempo. Again some can't hardly at all, others can lock on to an existing tempo, and still others can internalize it to a high degree of accuracy.

Nothing magic about it, different people have different skills. So ya, just because a drummer is on tempo the whole time, doesn't mean they are listening to a metronome. Maybe they simply have a good internal beat.

Re:It's just like pitch (3, Interesting)

slash.duncan (1103465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049797)

People do indeed have different skills... or are sensitive to different torture, that being a different way to put it. Like many thousands or tens of thousands of folks, I volunteer to run soundboards for various local organizations, but don't claim to be anywhere near pro, but perhaps because of the substandard equipment and layouts I've worked with over the years, I've apparently a rather developed sensitivity to overdrive/clipping, threshold feedback loops, and "tape on the dashboard" effect.

One that gets me regularly is overdriven/clipping distortion. The other nite, someone at work was playing "music" on their cellphone. "It's pretty loud for a cellphone" she said, while it was about all I could do to stop from running away yelling with my fingers in my ears. The poor 1/2 watt or whatever speaker was distorting so much it was worse than fingernails on a chalkboard! Momentarily I had the opportunity to reach for the thing and turn it down perhaps 30 percent or so, without much loss in volume, but a HUGE improvement in quality due to the fact that it wasn't over-driving/clip-distorting any more! MUCH better!

I used to work across from a church, with speakers shaped like bells hung in the "bell" tower. They'd play recorded bells. I guess they finally upgraded to CDs, but before that... Have you ever heard the effect of stretched tape on a bell recording? It was actually funny sometimes, watching people smile and turn to listen to the "bells"... then hear the draaagg and pitch-bend, and realize it was only a (very streeeaaaatttched) recording... or worse yet, not realize it, commenting how nice the bells were, while I and others stood there gritting our teeth.

Sitting in the audience at anything "live" can be most discomforting on occasion too, hearing the threshold telltales that say the system's /this/ close from going into the dreaded feedback squeal, yet being bound by politeness from jumping dozens of rows of chairs and half way across the hall to turn the thing down a notch NOW, then notch the resonating frequency out of the EQ after the immediate threat is passed. I end up just sitting there, ready for the fingers in the ears if the squeal actually does hit, but otherwise outwardly calm and of proper decorum, whatever internal struggle to resist that leap might be going on.

Yet most folks don't notice a thing. What's especially "interesting" is when the guys with the "phat" car stereos or the like ask what I think about their system... yeah, it's loud enough, but the bass is all rattling (apparently to some, this is the mark of "good bass" ) or the tweeters are whining in your ears.

But, like I said, I don't claim to be pro. I do like to think I at least know enough about it to recognize a decent one tho. I've always held that a great audio engineer can often make a bad performance at least tolerable, but one stroke of a fat finger at the sound board can well ruin the performance of the best, and a sound guy that doesn't know what to do to stop the squeal (or rolllingg bbooom), or knows what to do but has such underpowered equipment (and/or poor positioning) he must choose between lack of volume and constantly running at feedback threshold (maybe not even an EQ to notch out)... forget it.

Re:Consistent Tempo != Click Track (3, Informative)

Paul Lamere (21149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049279)

Nate4D - I'd love to run the analysis on your church band to see if we tell the difference from your drummer and a click track. Send me a URL to a recording and I'll generate the plot. Paul at echonest.com.

Re:Consistent Tempo != Click Track (1)

Spit (23158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049367)

I guess some drummers practise with metronomes too.

what about classical music (2, Insightful)

nikolag (467418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049021)

I am just wondering... What would happen to classcal music if they started to use Auto-tune. the whole point of music and excellence would simply disappear on the first occasion of live performance.
What has already happened in case of "popular music". Decades ago.

Just imagine a opera singer going out of sync with others... but wait... that is what live performance is all about, to make avery performance a bit different but not wrong.

It has been proved that holding an beat perfectly makes a music boring, while artists that have tempo correct on average do sound good.

Re:what about classical music (2, Informative)

87C751 (205250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049895)

I am just wondering... What would happen to classcal music if they started to use Auto-tune.

I'd expect it would sound pretty horrid. The classical instruments have a much looser model of the individual notes' exact frequencies. This is essential to harmonic construction, which is all about ratios. I once read a very good article about this where the author went through a series of calculations for a C chord that produced four different frequencies for the E note above the root C.

Symphonic players have the ability to "bend toward consonance". Auto-tuning these notes to their absolute frequency would introduce a dissonance that would sound at least different, and at worst awful.

"can't do with a click track" (4, Insightful)

Atario (673917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049089)

From TFA:

One final plot ... the venerable stairway to heaven is noted for its gradual increase in intensity - part of that is from the volume and part comes from in increase in tempo. Jimmy Page stated that the song "speeds up like an adrenaline flow". Let's see if we can see this:

[graph]

The steady downward slope shows shorter beat durations over the course of the song (meaning a faster song). That's something you just can't do with a click track.

Um...really? You can't make a click track gradually change rate over time? Or follow whatever kind of variation you program it to? That's news to me. I thought computers wuz like all smart 'n' stuff.

Re:"can't do with a click track" (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049225)

Um...really? You can't make a click track gradually change rate over time? Or follow whatever kind of variation you program it to? That's news to me. I thought computers wuz like all smart 'n' stuff.

GIGO. Which explains a lot of today's music, too.

Re:"can't do with a click track" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049499)

he has the commodore 64 version of the software.

Sonic Visualiser already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27049111)

The free Sonic Visualiser with the Queen Mary Beat/Tempo Tracker Vamp plugin already does this and more.

Also it depends on the music whether one needs a click-track. A drummer can use a click-track but still play "loosely" to it.

What is wrong with a click track? (1)

SuperAndy (1414157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049275)

I don't see the inherent problem with using a click track. If we take a band like Dream Theater, where both John Petrucci (guitar) and Jordan Rudess (Keyboards) play ridiculous solos, generally 'dueling' with each other. This would be impossible if the rhythm section was speeding up and slowing down. I would much rather hear crisp, perfectly synchronised solos, with that hint of mechanisation, than muddy, out of time solos that finish at different times.

However, this does not mean I think click tracks are always good. They are only required for an act such as Dream Theater, because quite often the band are pushing their technical skills as far as they can go, and I believe they need that extra help. In the case of a band playing something at a somewhat gentle 60 - 80 bpm, there shouldn't really be any excuse.

Saying that, I used to play trombone in a classical orchestra, and the conductor was vital in all pieces of music. Whether he is as vital in a 5 piece band as a 100 piece orchestra, however, is up for debate.

Britney's Drummer (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049293)

Funniest thing on the article is even wondering if there was ever a human drummer within a million miles of Britney's "Hit Me Baby", click track or not. Like a large percentage of recent pop music it's clearly 100% sequenced from the bottom up. Not so much recorded against a "click track", but is entirely "click track".

That's not a criticism by the way. Music has room for all methods of recording, and sequencing is a good a method as any. It's the end product that counts.

Not (really) tempo and not editing (2, Insightful)

EEDAm (808004) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049349)

One thing TFA suggests (and a comment or two here) is that click tracks are necessary to allow digital editing. That's not really the case and isn't the reason people use clicks. You can sync an editor to a live track and in any event, if you need to push or pull an off-timed beat you can just adjust manually or snap to grids with accuracy in the hundredths of a beat in Protools or whatever. And its not drummer tempo consistency. The vast majority of pro drummers are perfectly tight and the human ear enjoys their slight variations in timing (although My Chemical Romance got rid of their first one for it among other things). No, the real reason that clicks are used 9 times out of 10 is where there are sequenced keyboard, bass line or percussion type parts and the click is used to keep the drummer in time with the pre-programmed parts.

Anyone try Carl Stalling (Looney Tunes) (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049761)

Classic Hollywood cartoons were synched precisely to the animation, and Carl Stalling (famous for doing the orchestration during the Golden Age of Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies), had a giant clicker for the sessions. So what do the charts look like on one of his pieces?

Get the machine(s) to sync to the drummer ! (1)

TractorBarry (788340) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049809)

One approach I use quite a lot is to record the band live then produce a sync track by getting the drummer to overdub a click track using a MIDI drum pad (i.e. they just hit the pad on the start of each beat). Any half decent sequencer should then be able to use this track to create a "Tempo Map" so the timing will slightly fluctuate as required by the dictates of the song. (I use an old version of Logic on Windows and it works a treat)

You then get the best of both worlds as you can add your MIDI tracks which can then be quantised to the song. Any external devices can also be synced in the usual way (i.e. MTC, MIDI Clock, SMPTE etc.)

Other times when you play with machines that are rigidly synced you just allow yourselves to have passages where you either "push" (play slightly in front of the beat) or "pull" (play slightly behind the beat) All helps with the build/release of tension.

In fact sometimes I've used old analogue machines that can't be synced together (due to lack of available interfacing hardware) and we've just left two machine running whose timings slowly drift apart but which sounds great. On the same note setting them off slightly apart and using slightly different sequences running at different tempos can also produce some odd (but very usable) polyrhythms.

So who cares if you can "tell there's a click" ? As usual when recording music just play around until you find what works for the song/band. There are no rules !

As a Musician... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049841)

It's difficult to find a good drummer.
Most are so concerned with posturing,it's hard to get anything but heavy metal dynamics from their playing. While they're bashing the heads with all their might,a steady tempo becomes secondary and is eventually lost.
          Since good drummers are scarcer than honest politicians, I advocate plugging them into a metronome. It's almost better than working with a drum machine.
            Some drummer jokes:
Whadda you call the guy who hangs out with musicians?
        A drummer
          Whats the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?
          A drum machine actually keeps time and won't try to screw your ol' lady.

Lamere's experiments can't be called "scientific" (1)

Richard Kirk (535523) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049887)

Can't they? Why not? He starts out with the hypothesis that music recorded with a preset click track might give a flatter graph that one recorded without. He tests his theory with known examples. He tests his theory with unknown examples and notes that the graphs fall into two pretty distinct sets: ones with small deviations from a straight, flat line, and ones that wander about. There are some examples where a tune is flatlining, and then wanders off for a bit, then drops back again, suggesting that it is possible to use a click track but perhaps ignore it for a while.

This sounds pretty much like science as I have always known it. You don't have to sex it up with Greek symbols and arcane maths. You don't always end up with a neat E = mc^2 formula. You can't always fit all of your experimental data.

He could wear a white coat. Would that help?

For those who want to play around with this thing (1)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27049947)

Since the original page is slashdotted, here is the google code project page: http://code.google.com/p/echo-nest-remix/ [google.com] .

After installing the proper libraries and tweaking the source code to get it to work, I had to discover that the 'api' sends the music *to the echonest server over http* to analyze the audio track. Which is unreachable, obviously.

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