A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

digthatbass.com / Jeff Berlin Clinic


I just came across a post on Talkbass about a site with free bass lessons that are focused on showing song snippets and explaining how music theory applies to them. There are also other materials on there, including blog posts, lessons, songs and instrument demos. Check it out here:

One of the blog posts was an interesting read, for me. The site’s author, Rajoe, is Hungarian and attended a clinic held by Jeff Berlin in Budapest. He sums up his thoughts here:

One of this closing thoughts was:

But I still think music is not always good because it is played by “well-trained musicians”. It is also about fun, emotions and less rational things – i also think music is not only about technique, or the instrument itself … there is songwriting, there are feelings, modern creative approaches , etc…

I can somewhat see his point here, but I don’t fully agree with it. If he saying that technicality or proficiency alone doesn’t make music enjoyable, then that’s fine. But, if he’s implying that a deep understanding and ability to apply music theory saps creativity out of music, then I don’t agree at all. While its true that there are super-technical players (I’m looking at you, technical death metal) who seem to get off more on exploring the esoteric applications of arcane theory, there are also people who enjoy and appreciate that. I’d even go so far as to say that sometimes playing without feeling IS feeling. I’ve listened to stuff with an intentional air of austerity that I’ve found enjoyable, and its there for when listeners are in the mood for that particular sound. There’s a lot of drone, and even “atmospheric” music like Mono (Japan) or Jesu (England)that can approach that at times.

I think that what I’m trying to say is that technicality isn’t the enemy of feelings or creativity. The two can and often do intertwine. This happens across all kinds of music. I’m a huge fan of Bitch’s Brew from Miles Davis, as well as music from Animals as Leaders and a lot of stuff from Dan Swano (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Pan.Thy.Monium, etc.). I’d characterize all of that music as equally technical and expressive.

But, anyway, check out Rajoe’s website. It looks like a great source of song analysis for bassists. I’m going to delve into it more as I find time as well.


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