Mind intonation?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Tom Lane, Dec 8, 2013.


  1. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

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    So, I bought an NS Omni a month ago for when I travel by airline and want a convenient way to practice while I'm away. Short trips, family vacations, etc.
    I was pleasantly surprised that getting used to the different scale was no big deal. It took more than 30 minutes to get my intonation accurate, but not much more.
    Switching back to the URB when I got home took maybe 15 minutes, and most of that was remembering to extend my right arm to place the bow low enough.
    This was the first time I switched back and forth between the two. I used the Omni for a 10-day vacation.
    I think this is further evidence that intonation is in your mind. A skill you develop that's transferable to other instruments.
     
  2. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep your inner ear, we should be singing inside so the physical landscape (i.e. different basses) is purely a technical issue.
     
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    I just started vocal lessons again, not with the intention of becoming a singer but to work out pure tonal sound in my head. This is just an experiment and can followup with results if they're worth writing about. I want to be able harmony in my head without an extra instrument while playing the bass. So what I end up doing with it won't be what singers will typically do.

    I've done some stuff where I'll sing the interval in my head. Mostly where I'm walking a set of changes while singing the guide tone (usually 3rd or 5th).
     
  4. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

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    I think that's a great idea. I've haven't taken voice lessons but I can sing almost everything I can play. For a while I tried the singing-while-soloing thing but found that I distracted myself when I have to change octaves in my voice but not on the bass. Regardless, the exercise was valuable to me because now I still sing in my mind's ear as I play. I think it makes a huge difference in musical nuances. I do practice singing the melody while playing the bassline. It's easy in 2. In 4 it depends on how intense the harmony is. Once it gets too intense, I flounder. Something more to work on, I suppose. Let me know how the voice lessons work out. I'll be interested to hear.
     
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  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Take a look at one of DURRL's handouts that he gives to students. It's where I kinda got the idea for it.

    http://chrisfitzgeraldmusic.com/lessons/StudyMethod.pdf

    The better you get at it, the less the singing becomes a distraction. Just as an experiment, I've tried things like play the guide tone while alternating between singing the melody and playing the bassline. One thing weird I've found - it's very hard for me to sing the bass line and play the melody. It's far easier doing it the other way around. Not sure if there's any value in that exercise but it seems very odd.

    Over time, it's been much easier to target the guide tones as the targets of my phrases. It's also easier to outline the changes during soloing as well as being able to quote the melody. One interesting side effect: It's alot easier to talk and play at the same time. Which means I don't get all discombobulated while trying to communicate with bandmates on the stand.

    Voice lessons also help with the latter idea as well as intonation - at least I hope so. Too soon to tell. One thing is my teacher is having me examine my intonation on almost every note I sing over a tune. She's particular about it - which makes me think that it's also something I neglect to do while practicing bass only. I guess I would have to play against a note on the piano along with the bass to have the same exact relationship in trying to nail the intonation correctly.

    I would like to hear your experiences should you decide to start learning tunes by ear, and how the process of singing the melody while you play affects how you learn.

    Also, Ed's "REALLY learning a tune" thread is worthy of checking out if you haven't done so already.
     
  7. shwashwa

    shwashwa

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    not sure what everyone's background here is, but when i was in music college we had to do 3 years of extensive sight singing classes. i hated it and blew it off every chance i got, but it was good for me. check out the hindimeth books. we also had a book the size of the real book with simple 8-16 bar melodies for sight singing progressing in difficulty through the book. i think i still have it somewhere. i really should get back to it. also, there was ted dunbar's infamous chord sheet. something like 64 chords on it, you had to hear and name every one and name all the alterations or extensions. some people changed their major because of that one.
     
  8. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for this. I downloaded Chris' hand out and will give it a try. I've read Ed's post and think it's a very valuable contribution to jazz education. I use a modified version of it when I learn new tunes deeply.
    I've had similar experiences with intonation. And I was surprised by the notes that were off. The first time I noticed it was when I was playing the melody to April in Paris. I expected the arpeggio up to D on the G string to be an issue, but I didn't expect the first few notes to be slightly off sometimes. We're talking about a few, maybe only a couple, of cents, but painful to hear if you have a good ear. I fixed it by playing along to the melody rendered by Finale at 30 bpm. Once I got it, I got it. I did the same thing with Simandl. And, really, it didn't take long. More of a refinement that a major adjustment.
    Sounds like you have a really good voice teacher - not letting you slide. That's very valuable IMO. Sight-singing's a very valuable skill, I think.
    I have a couple of tunes picked out for this month and I'll give the learning-without-charts method a more dedicated try. I usually use a kind of hybrid method - playing along to the recordings and checking the charts. I have been using your *solo bassline* technique quite a bit and I think that's working out very well. My lines are more open and I'm playing more what I hear as opposed to something I've prepared. Sometimes the harmony is more vague, but I've also found some really cool lines that I think hit the harmonic marks of the tune better than the chart does. I'll let you know how it goes, and thanks again.
     
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    Steve - I'm a hack. After almost 10 years I've turned to a lot of self teaching and exploring things on my own with a smattering of lessons here and there. Nothing consistent.

    Your old coursework sounds great - wish I had the time to do it all. I guess the singing lessons is a "hacky" way of approaching it. I'll take a look at Hindimeth. Thanks.

    TCL, learning by ear takes a long while. And just like transcribing, the more you do it, the faster you'll get. Do the work now and it'll really pay off in the future. Of course, being able to read any chart is a survival skill that can't be skipped. I think if you keep venturing down that path you might want to look at lyrics and seeing for yourself what impact they have on your knowledge of the song.
     
  10. shwashwa

    shwashwa

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    ill dig out my books to see if i can get the titles. there is a really huge book full of sight singing melodies that starts our very tonal, on the major scale, in stepwise motion, and then progresses from there to all kinds of stuff
     
  11. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd be interested in the name and author of that sight-singing book. I recently book a book on solfege and it's helpful, but it doesn't have as many exercises as I'd like.
     
  12. ChuckCorbisiero

    ChuckCorbisiero

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    I think it's Dr. Sol Berkowitz.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_Berkowitz
     
  13. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks Chuck. Sadly perhaps, I just ordered it from Amazon or a bit over a buck.
     
  14. ChuckCorbisiero

    ChuckCorbisiero

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    I have it at home in New York. We used it at C.C.N.Y. also the Hindemith for rhythmic stuff for the B.F.A. program. At Queens College Professor Berkowitz was a no nonsense person. You couldn't slide through his musicianship classes. So I was told by friends. Funny, when I went to Santa Barbara City College for my A.A. my first 2 years before transferring, I believe they also used the book. So did Mannes, Manhattan and Julliard. I believe Berkowitz himself was a proponent of movable do. Anybody here who went to Queens College know the story or attended his classes?
     
  15. shwashwa

    shwashwa

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    http://www.amazon.com/Approach-Singing-Edition-Plastic-Binding/dp/B000NGRI7E
    here is one of the books we used at rutgers.

    here is the other:
    http://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Tr...7201707&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=hindiemeth book

    get through these two books and you will have accomplished something, and become a very complete musician along the way. i think working on this kind of stuff sets you apart from guys who just practice their instrument only. with these books, you are the instrument, you and your mind.
     

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