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#804784 03/22/24 02:09 PM
Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
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Fellow thumpers (and others) this video crossed my desk today and a light bulb or 2 lit as I watched it, so I thought I'd share.

First off, I really like this guy Mark, I find him well-studied and articulate. I've been sporadically watching his stuff for a couple years now. In this video he talks about passing notes, approach notes and enclosures. But once he introduces a subject I stay with him for a few seconds then find that I'm lost. This is way beyond root and fifth.

But the funny thing is that I've been using some of these devices in my own bass line constructions (simply because they sound good to my ear) but never knew that there was solid theory behind all of this.

At some point I'll probably buy a course from this guy but I'm thinking he's just too advanced for me at this time. If I had the time, I could easily spend 2 months just mastering everything in this short video. And if I did I'm sure my bass lines would dramatically improve. What he talks about adds spice.

I'd be interested in any thoughts on the material he covers from other bass players or even from guitarists, keyboard players, etc. My instincts tell me that this is not limited to just the bass.

Good stuff smile

Melodic Devices for Bass Players


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Yes Steve it is basic music theory. I took a quick look at his courses and I think you could benefit from them; actually anyone wanting to learn basic music theory could learn from them IMO. He states that course #1 starts out assuming the student knows nothing about music theory. You might want to look into it.

Music theory can benefit any musician.


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Yeah, I'm somewhat familiar with his course offerings, and his intro ones don't require much or any pre-knowledge. But that's the problem. A course that's too basic will waste my time, one that's too advanced likewise. If I was a teenager, then sure, start at the very beginning and in a few years I'm playing and composing at a pro level.

Goldilocks and her porridge comes to mind. She doesn't need too hot, neither too cold but just right. And AI will one day deliver that by asking a battery of questions and what your goals are and then deliver the precise info and training when you need it; all based on what the objectives are. As we speak high school teachers are beginning to do just this. With limited time available, my approach (which has pros and cons) has been to assemble a toolbox of various materials that keep the growth going. This video on melodic devices is my latest "tool" and I'm glad I discovered it. Hopefully it will be useful to others too.

Btw, on a live stream a year or so ago he was talking about how he wrecked his back and lost 2 or 3 inches of height because of heavily gigging on the cruise-ship-circuit as a bass player.


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BiaB 2024 Windows
For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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I haven't watched the whole of the video, only about the first half as I'm a bit busy, but...

There are some simple ideas that incorporate some of what he's saying, but perhaps easier to follow. You may well already know these.

First idea is that no note is more than a semitone away from a 'good' note. If you get too much dissonance, move by a semitone. That's rather the essence of approach notes generally ... a dissonance that resolves quickly to a 'good' note. Ideally on the bass that would perhaps be to the 'right' note, but hey....

It also works fine if one plays the tones or semitones both above and below before hitting the 'right' note. That's the 'enclosure'. For example to arrive at C, you might play D, B, C.

Generally the notes from the chord and the notes a whole tone above those sound good.

If you make a mistake, do it a second time and it'll sound like you meant it. That's perhaps a little less easy for a bass player where the rest of the band are expecting solidity ... oh well, one can't always win.


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Originally Posted by Gordon Scott
First idea is that no note is more than a semitone away from a 'good' note. If you get too much dissonance, move by a semitone. That's rather the essence of approach notes generally ... a dissonance that resolves quickly to a 'good' note. Ideally on the bass that would perhaps be to the 'right' note, but hey....
I'm thinking this is exactly right. It's all about dissonance vs consonance. But for us bass players (and perhaps others) it's not as simple to just move a semitone if it's too dissonant. There's what semitone do you move to (up or down) and also for what duration while maintaing the proper rhythm.

It also works fine if one plays the tones or semitones both above and below before hitting the 'right' note. That's the 'enclosure'. For example to arrive at C, you might play D, B, C.
Yep, that is exactly what he explains in the video.

Generally the notes from the chord and the notes a whole tone above those sound good.
Note how he demonstrates that the 3rd to Root works and also 3rd to 5th. The combinations that work are almost endless and I'm thinking that the masterful musician knows how to apply these combinations.

The fascinating thing about all this is how us humans are wired for good music. And that dissonance is not always bad, in fact, dissonance can be good and actually welcomed. BUT (or so it seems) that dissonance must be resolved or it doesn't work per our wiring. I'm not talking about advanced jazz harmony here but the kind of music folks post here or you might hear on popular radio/streaming stations.

So there is at least one fundamental rule for good music which is if you use dissonance (tension) it should resolve to consonance (release). You can see this in his facial expressions when he doesn't resolve a dissonant note. An exception to this "rule" may be at the very end of the song where you intentially want to leave the listener hanging on a dissonant unresolved note or chord.

Another way I look at this is music is a language. And just like there are rules in spoken language that can be bent (good use of slang for example) the rules in music can also be bent, but for it to work, care is needed.

Sense hope makes I this smile


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
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Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
I'm thinking this is exactly right. It's all about dissonance vs consonance. But for us bass players (and perhaps others) it's not as simple to just move a semitone if it's too dissonant. There's what semitone do you move to (up or down) and also for what duration while maintaing the proper rhythm.
Either up or down will get you to a good-sounding note, but yes, for a bass player, often it must be the right note, which isn't necessarily so simple.


Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
So there is at least one fundamental rule for good music which is if you use dissonance (tension) it should resolve to consonance (release). You can see this in his facial expressions when he doesn't resolve a dissonant note. An exception to this "rule" may be at the very end of the song where you intentially want to leave the listener hanging on a dissonant unresolved note or chord.

Another way I look at this is music is a language. And just like there are rules in spoken language that can be bent (good use of slang for example) the rules in music can also be bent, but for it to work, care is needed.

Sense hope makes I this smile
Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Another thing on humans "wired for music" is that most or all musical systems have the pentatonic at their core. Humans naturally understand and warm to the pentatonic. Bobby McFerrin does a brilliant demonstration: The Power of the Pentatonic


Jazz relative beginner, starting at a much older age than was helpful.
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Woodshedding - Learning to Play!
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Originally Posted by Gordon Scott
Bobby McFerrin does a brilliant demonstration: The Power of the Pentatonic
Yep, this guy does do a brilliant job of revealing an otherwise hidden human trait. Someone here shared this video last year (maybe you) and everytime I watch it I break out laughing. Maybe because humor needs an element of truth and with all the divisions we humans find ourselves in it's refreshing to see that we are all the same at fundamental levels . . . music being one.

I was in a Walmart the other day and Girls Just want to have Fun by Cyni Lauper was playing on Walmart Radio, and so I joined the band by whistling to the melody. A woman looked at me and said "Wow, you're good at that!" I said, "Well I happen to be an amatuer musician and I like music, but everybody has music in them." She said "Not me, but I like to dance." So I said, OK, care to demonstrate." She just looked at me and said "I don't think so" smile


https://soundcloud.com/user-646279677
BiaB 2024 Windows
For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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