I teach the difference between rhythm, beat, tempo, feel and groove to my high school band students. I should clarify that I teach a rock band class to which this lexicon is relevant. In fact, understanding the subtle meanings of these terms is critical to being able to play contemporary music with other musicians.
Today I'm not gonna define these words for you. Either you have passing knowledge of them or you already use them frequently. Instead, I want to share with you some music I've been listening to on repeat that utilize these elements deftly.
First on the list is the new Jessie Ware album that dropped in August. The opening track, "Midnight", is a addictive neo-soul jam. There are two distinct sections throughout: a free flowing part featuring breathy, intimate vocals and an arpeggiated synth line; and a rousing four-on-the-floor section that functions as a chorus of sorts. Don't try to resist bobbing your head, just go for it.
Next on the list is the Tiny Desk Concert of The Roots. It's clear that Questlove is the band leader, configuring the band as he sees fit given the situation. What keeps it together at the core is Questlove's own drumming. For the small space at the Tiny Desk concert he chose to feature no stringed instruments and only a brass section - a big one at that! Brass instruments are a special choice because they can play percussively and they can play melodically. Listen to how they arrange the music to suit this diversity of expression. I particularly like the second song, "It Ain't Fair." It's a burner!
What did you hear? How did the rhythm, beat, tempo, feel and groove come into play for you on these tracks? Let me know in the comments below!
[Purchasing albums, from digital platforms or your local record store, help support musicians who sacrifice pretty much everything for the sake of creating life-changing sounds.]
This post is part of the Sunday Listens series where I post about music that's exciting/interesting to me. Sometimes from the perspective of a voice teacher and usually on Sundays. Get your week started right with awesome tuneage.