A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for January, 2012

Practicing the Major scale – tips and tetrachords for bass

Here’s an interesting 3-video series from MarloweDK on practicing the Major Scale. MarlowDK is famous on the internet as a bass instructor. I’ve seen some of his videos before, but not these. I came across them while looking at an article on No Treble, a bass website with interesting interviews and other material that I’ve only just begun to explore.

Practicing the Major scale – tips and tetrachords for bass (1/3)

The first 3 minutes of the first video feature Marlowe playing something in G Major. Once that’s completed, he explains that he was actually practicing the scale in a musical way. Its interesting to see him do that. He also goes on to show how a major scale and its octave can be played as two tetrachords. These are 4-note scales. Essentially, a major scale can be played as a four-note pattern which is repeated twice.


Hal Galper’s Masterclass – Musical Vocabulary

I watched another video from Hal Galper and was blown away again. This one is about musical vocabulary. Its making me think a bit differently about why I’m learning scales & chords.

Hal Galper’s Master Class – Musical Vocabulary

In this video, Mr. Galper talks about learning music by playing it, not intellectualizing it. I think that I’m somewhat guilty of doing this. My understanding isn’t comprehensive, in any way, but I’m fascinated by all of the moving parts, and I overwhelm myself. It seems that this might be an essential step though. Its the building of a vocabulary, and a familiarization with the creation process. Hal says that more vocabulary lets you perform the process better, and I think that he’s right. I think knowledge gives you the options to pick the best tool for the job when playing – but it seems that having too many tools can potentially be a detriment as well.

Hal says that he still uses bebop vocabulary, but in his own way, when playing. His current band plays some sort of avant garde jazz, but he brings what he knows and loves to the table. His claim is that no two people hear the same way, which is a concept held in psychoacoustics, the science behind the crafting of music studios. Different musical elements appeal to different people.


TB – The five most important lessons I’ve ever learned about bass

At the risk of sounding like a guy who’s in touch with his feelings (all I feel are hunger and gas – I’m still working on rhythm – just ask my wife), I present the following:

 A TalkBass member named AlmightyPancake made an enlightening post about lessons that he learned from playing bass. Its not as much about technique and how to play as it is about perceptions of playing and philosophical interpretation of creating music. I found it interesting though.

Here’s the text from the original post. There are several pages of responses to it in the thread.
I recently was speaking to a close musician friend of mine, and we were discussing our musical evolution. We each chose the most influential things we’ve learned during our musical career, and some very interesting introspective points came up.I’d love to share these with you all, my favorite group of fellow musicians, and I’d be interested to hear yours.For my experience, I have been playing music now for over 13 years. I am fluent at bass guitar, guitar, percussion, and piano. I can get by on violin and upright bass if need be. I am very technically proficient, I have several years of music theory under my belt (including two years of composition and film scoring) and have played with well over 300 different musicians and any style you could possibly care to name. I even get a royalty check for a musical score I did for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s educational show (for which my boss received a regional emmy!), and did some scoring/sound design post-production work for the Discovery channel.I’ve gotten around quite a bit. I like to think I’ve learned quite a lot along the way as well. Hopefully some of this information will come in handy!
Note: I chose not to post these in the “best musical advice you’ve ever gotten” thread simply because they aren’t all advice, but rather mostly experience and trial/error.

Hal Galper’s Masterclass – Technique

Somewhere in that Have scales ruined music? thread from TalkBass that I posted about the other day, there was a link to a video by a jazz pianist named Hal Galper. I’m blown away by his knowledge and approach to playing. It applies to more than piano. Here are two videos from a clinic which he held at the University of Colorado in Boulder on April 2, 2010:

Hal Galper’s Master Class – Technique, Part 1
(Technique is in the brain, its not in the hands)


Can You Believe What They’re Listening To These Days? An Early Culture Critic Speaks Out

Yesterday, when I was going through that post on TalkBass about Carol Kaye‘s opinion on chordal playing vs. scalar playing, I came across an interesting history piece which discusses Plato‘s take on scales or modes – some 2,500 years ago.

Its interesting that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here’s a link to Michael Hammer‘s article from his website, Pianonoise!. Its a great companion piece to some of the material that I’ve posted from Melanie Spiller and John Byrne, on their respective blogs, which also discuss music history.

If you’re interested in music history or cultural, links to related articles can be found in the Music History / Culture section of my ugly History / Topic Index, which can also be accessed from the top of the page.

Have scales ruined music?

So, I can’t sleep right now (its nearly 4 AM) and I finished a bit of work updating the Medical Evaluation form’s interface for work, putting myself ahead for tomorrow. I just started digging around TalkBass, because I realized that I haven’t visited in close to a month, and came across an interesting thread called Have scales ruined music? by Manuel101.

The thread is about that Carol Kaye video which I’ve mentioned in the past. Its specifically about the part that’s intrigued me the most too. In it, she talks about playing chords vs. scales when building basslines or improvising (I have to rewatch it, as I was a little unclear as to its application in the past, although it makes more sense to me now). Here’s a link to the post with the video: