A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Archive for May, 2014

Science Shows How Guitar Players’ Brains Are Actually Different from Everybody Elses’

guitar_brainHere’s an interesting article that speaks about possible differences in guitarists’ brain functionality as opposed to that of non-guitarists. (And just for the record, I’m not of the mind that a bass is a guitar – I subscribe more to the idea that electric bass descended from upright bass. Yes – posting guitar stuff does make me feel defensive.)

I don’t believe everything this article, but its makes for an interesting read. I think that a lot of the attributes that Jordan Taylor Sloan writes about apply to most musicians, not just guitarists. I think that the idea of guitarists’ brains synchronizing during play is really an ability to anticipate changes and understand the chord progressions of a song and then improvise around it.

The idea that the part of the brain that deals with big-picture goals shuts down and their unconscious takes over is also what I always see experienced players talk about on Talkbass. They’re usually speaking about learning music theory to a point that you can “forget it” and just play, and that you’ll be able to reflexively/unconsciously use that information from either muscle memory or an ingrained second nature. I’ve seen that with video gamers and martial artists as well, so maybe its 10,000 hours all over again.


Pachelbel’s Canon for Solo Bass & Chord Progressions

I’ve seen a bunch of Zander Zon‘s videos before, but not in a long time. Someone posted a link to his rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon for solo bass on Talkbass. In the thread, the OP asks how long it would take to be able to play that song like Zander. There’s no hard mathematical answer to his question, of course, and the rest of the thread explains that to him, as well as paths on how to get there and a discussion of Zander’s technique and its resemblance to flamenco guitar. But I wanted to share the video for two other reasons:

1. Its a beautiful rendition. See for yourself:

Pachelbel’s Canon for Solo Bass 

2. This rant/reaction to Pachelbel’s Canon on cello really reminds me of the video I posted from Axis of Awesome about 4-chord songs. I was amazed that this progression (if I’m using the right term) goes back this far and is still in use today:


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

This isn’t directly bass-related, but as a history piece I found it interesting. Its an article that goes into the history and permutations of the melody in Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I’ve known for a while that its the same melody as Baa-Baa Black Sheep and as the ABC song, but I never knew that there were additional verses from a poem by Jane Taylor from back in 1806. I also didn’t realize that there were so many different variants of the song from other countries and cultures (Mandarin, Tagalog, Arabic, German, etc.).

The last few paragraphs also examine the musical structure of the song and why it appeals to so many people – including the different reasons that adults and children might enjoy it.

For those of you who are parents (or who just have an interest in this sort of thing), here are the other verses to the song: