Connect with us

Latest

Building a Solid Improvisational Concept Part 2 by Igor Saavedra

Published

on

So, what about the “poetical” and “lyrical” aspects of improvisation, and how important are they within the improvisational context?

I already mentioned on the first part of this series that in my opinion “Improvising is composing in real time”, so what about “The Content” of this real time composition? What about the “story” you want to tell? Or maybe you haven’t noticed yet that what you really want to “tell” when you improvise is how good and skillful you think you are? If so, please consider removing this aspect from your artistic statement. 😉

In my opinion even though scales, licks, chops, techniques, etc., are such an important thing to manage, the lyricism is something even more important, because you can perfectly manage all the techniques and all the information available, but if you don’t know what to do with that “nothing but notes will come out of your instrument!”

There is a mountain of information regarding those lyrical and poetical improvisational aspects that I would be able to share with you, but I don’t want to extend too much and I’d rather go for the ones I consider the most important.

1)    Express something to the audience: If you want to play for yourself stay at home, there’s nothing wrong with that anyway.

2)    Consider the context, context is the key: There’s always a moment for everything, so you can start very slow and generate motifs that you’ll gradually develop through your improvisation. But depending on the circumstances, consider just “going for it” from the beginning as an option. So be aware of what’s happening around you.

3)    Question and Answer: Generate melodical and/or rhythmical motifs taking them as “questions, and then “answer” those questions with another melodical and/or rhythmical motifs. Let your feelings take care of that answer…they never go wrong.

4)    Amplify/Simplify: Take any melodical and/or rhythmical motif and expand it or compress it. The best example I can give you (while being in a quarter note time signature), is playing some melodic idea made out of triplets and then play “the very same idea” again using eight notes so to “Expand It”, or using sextuplets to “Compress it”. The sky is the limit for that, because many polyrhythmic and polymetric situations will start to show up when you begin to explore this specific aspect…, that imply you’ll need to develop extra rhythmical abilities for being able to do that proficiently.

5) Add/Rest:  Take any melodical and/or rhythmical motif  and add or rest some notes to it without varying the actual time signature. If you decide to remove some notes, let this empty space “breath”. This empty space will serve as a womb and also as a launching platform for your next idea.

6)  Interpolation of the Melodic & Rhythmic contexts: It may sound complicated, but the concept is quite simple indeed. A) While improvising, take any recognizable rhythmic motif on the music piece you are playing (Rhythmic Leitmotiv) and start playing it with different notes and different melodic approaches. (One Note Samba is a good tune to start with) B) While improvising, take any recognizable melodic motif on the music piece you are playing (Melodic Leitmotiv) and start playing it with different rhythmic lines and different rhythmic approaches, I suggest short melodic lines for this case. (Footprints bass line is a good tune to start with)

7)  Varying or modifying: First of all never forget that “Varying is not only adding or modifying, it’s also taking away!!” That being said, I’m referring specifically on this point to small nuances like vibratos, slides (glissandos), and bendings. These nuances can make a HUGE difference on your speech and have the power to “steal a tear” from somebody in the audience, or from yourself.

Next month, or better said, “next year”, on the last part of this series I’ll be addressing the esthetical and psychological aspects so to close this circle that intends to help you out on building a solid improvisational concept.

I wish you all a Happy New Year’s Eve, and also a Happy New Year!!

Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

Published

on

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

Visit Online:

markegan.com
markegan.bandcamp.com
Apple Music
Amazon Music

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Published

on

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

Continue Reading

Bass Books

Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

Published

on

Review: The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass by Brian F Wright 

I was intrigued when The Bastard Instrument showed up on my desk… let’s dig in!

When we dive into the history of our beloved instrument, the bass, we find roots that go back as far as the 15th century. This instrument was a member of the violin family and was for the longest time, an acoustic instrument. As the years passed and music changed, there was a need for the instrument to evolve and the electric bass was born.

Comparatively, the electric bass is a relatively new instrument with its earliest appearances dating back to the 1930s and it is exciting to be an electric bass player while this history unfolds around us. Fortunately for us and future generations to come, Professor Brian F. Wright has taken on the herculean task of documenting the trajectory of the electric bass with this excellent book.

The Bastard Instrument presents an extraordinary amount of fine details about the instrument itself, the development of the amplification to handle its output, the pioneers that dared play it, the rapidly evolving music that flourished because of its presence and so much more. 

When I first started reading this book, I noticed that it felt a tad academic, like a textbook (it might be one someday) or a doctoral thesis, but to present all this information accurately, this approach is more than appropriate. Another detail that might be a bit of a spoiler is that the book only gets us up to the late ’60s. I was left wanting more as we know that so much has happened in the bass world since that time frame; I hope there is another volume in the works to get us up to the present!

All in all, “The Bastard Instrument, A Cultural History of the Electric Bass” is a must-read for all of us who play electric bass and understand its essential place in music.

I found that there was a lot that I already knew but also quite a bit that I was unaware of. I believe that to know and understand where you are, you must know the history of exactly how you got here.

Highly recommended.

The Bastard Instrument is available at Amazon.com (beginning July 2024)

Continue Reading

Latest

This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

Published

on

TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @meridian_guitars @adamovicbasses @anacondabasses @mgbassguitars @xylembassguitar @officialspector @edwinpaanakker @alesvychodilbasses @boyarskycg @dmarkguitars

View More Bass Gear News

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Published

on

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

Follow On Social

IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

Continue Reading