The code of the beat.

BeatTips MusicStudy: Traffic’s “Glad” Taught Me How To Shuffle

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Lessons From One Of Progressive Rock’s Most Engaging Bands

By AMIR SAID (SA’ID)

Beatmaking, the chief compositional method of hip hop/rap music, allows for one to pull from a wide variety of musical forms (and sources) for instruction. For instance, progressive rock has always been a mainstay influence in my style and approach. And no other progressive rock band—other than Led Zeppelin of course—has had a direct hand in how I construct drum frameworks, and subsequently, my sense of time, more than the group Traffic.

Here, in their song “Glad,” listen to the percussion hats that strike with suspenseful urgency on the quarter notes. And see if you can make out where the kick “hits” on the up-tempo sections of the overall arrangement. Then around the 5:00 mark, the arrangement dives into a slow, milky smooth bluesy-funk jam session that drummer Jim Capaldie laces delicately, with the sense and craftsmanship of a cat burglar. Indeed, there have been few songs that have shown me how to incorporate—and more importantly, account for—the “shuffle” element in music, while at the same time helped me improve my sense of timing.

The music and video below is presented here for the purpose of scholarship.

Traffic – “Glad” (from the John Barleycorn Must Die album)


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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

  • Yo! Just wanted to give props! I’ve been following the site for a while now and I’m always amazed on the knowledge ya’ll kick. Thanks for your time and energy that ya’ll put into it!
    Peace!
    E.C
    http://www.ecmusic.bandcamp.com

  • E.C,
    Thanks for the props! It really means a lot to me that you’ve reading following BeatTips for while and decided to leave a comment. I’m glad you appreciate what BeatTips offers.
    How long have you been making beats?
    —Sa’id