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Hi

I think "clap in time" means start playing in the right time with the rest of the group.

EG: He could play really complicated things easily and then be unable to clap in time, and you'd just be left scratching your head.

Thanks
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Actually, it means just what it says. It's what the audience sometimes does at a concert (not speaking about aplause!) - clapping their hands in time to the music. That is, you listen to a band playing, and then you clap your hands in time as they continue to play. You would expect the drummer, of all people, to be able to do that in his sleep. You ask yourself, "How is this possible that this drummer can't clap to the music?"

Believe me, it's possible!
Hi Avangi. Good to hear from you.

This sentence, however, refers to the bass guitar player.

So, in your opinion, it means that he was unable to play his guitar with the rythm of the audience clapping their hands? I thought it means that he was good at playing guitar, but he couldn't play in tune (in time) with the rest of the band.

Thanks
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Not quite - we are talking about his doing two separate activities here.

Playing complicated music on his guitar - he is good at this.

Clapping in time to music (probably not literally, I doubt they've sat him down and checked how good/bad he is at this, it's more likely just a way of saying he has a poor sense of rhythm)- he is bad at this. This is surprising as he is a good musician.
That's funny! The author is the drummer, right? How did I blow that? I was going to go to bed, and then I thought, hey, let's do a couple more.

The bass player basically plays the same rhythm the drummer plays on his bass drum with his right foot. That's also the rhythm the audience would clap, eg., 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc. One and three are a little stronger - one more than three. It's instinctive with most people, but some occasionally lose track of where the strong beat is.

This is of course a gross oversimplification. Rock and jazz bass players often do some very intricate things. Country music groups and old style semi-professional dance bands usually keep it simple.

Clapping is obviously not something the bass man could do while he's playing. Let's say you're having a rehearsal - a practice. You're working on a new tune, and you want the bass player to add in a special lick at a certain spot in the tune. It's very important. But he keeps doing it wrong. You say, "No, man, it's gotta be on the second beat of the measure. You keep comin' in early! Count 1-2-3-4-1 and then come in!" But he still can't get it right. You say, "Just put down your guitar and clap with the beat while the rest of us play it. Count 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1! Try it one time!" But the guy can't do it! (and I'm just scratchin' my head.). I once worked with a piano player who knew the chords to every song ever written; and played some beautiful and elaborate stuff; but nobody wanted to play with him because he dropped beats all over the place. He would get out of time with the rest of us.

Edit. Hi, Nona. Sorry, I'm movin' kinda slow here!
NewguestI think "clap in time" means start playing in the right time with the rest of the group.
AvangiActually, it means just what it says. It's what the audience sometimes does at a concert
I see what happened. I meant, what the audience does is an example of clapping in time to the music.
He wouldn't be expected to do this during a concert, but this illustrates his deficiency, and he may well have tried it during practice.

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Thanks to you guys I hope I understood it very well. Many thanks!!!!
NewguestHe could play really complicated things easily and then be unable to clap in time, and you'd just be left scratching your head.
He could play really complicated things easily and then be unable to maintain a steady beat by clapping, and you'd just be left wondering how that could be, because anyone who can do the first thing certainly should be able to do the second one.

CJ
CalifJim be unable to maintain a steady beat by clapping
like people who are unable to march, or walk by themselves at a steady pace. I hadn't thought about it that way - solo clapping, as opposed to clapping to the music. That puts a new slant on it.
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