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Changing rootless/open voicings to closed root position...

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Aaron Saunders, Mar 26, 2006.


  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    I'm curious as to how useful of a skill this is. I did my entrance theory exam today for the University of Toronto jazz program, and out of all of it, this was the only section that gave me any trouble. It definitely seemed like more of a piano player thing.

    I consequently have a couple questions --

    As a bass player, how useful is this going to be in the future?

    Now, I also want to get into arranging and composition. I can see it being very useful for this, though.

    Now, since I imagine it might be pretty useful to know it for this purpose, other than ripping off Bill Evans lines from the VV recordings (which is far beyond the scope of my ear at the moment) how can I get into this? "This" specifically being rootless/open voicings. I've heard general good things about the Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine. I have his Jazz Theory Book (the study of which proved invaluable to the theory exam today!) so I'm passingly familiar with some of the things that might be in it.
     
  2. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi Aaron.

    I'm pretty sure they had you do this to see if you could look at a chord and assess what it was, even in an open spelling or without a root, and write it in it's simplest form (root position, closed voicing). I don't think they were asking you to demonstrate an arranging skill as such.

    On another topic, sooner or later you'll have to become able to play your way through basic tunes on the piano. Levine's book is a good overview, but you need to sit down and spend time practicing chord sequences and scales at the piano to get these basic skills together. Sooner is way better than later, IMHO. This is just part of what it takes to become a musician, and not just a bass player. Once you do this, it'll become easier to understand voicings for arranging.

    Brent
     
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    and that's the name of THAT tune...
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    A-Freakin-MEN.
     
  5. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I'll second that. I trudged my way through a couple years of piano lessons. Though I was never very disciplined about it, I consider the experience to be invaluable.
     
  6. I'll third all that. One problem I had all my life is the lack of keyboard knowledge. Thankfully, I have decent ears, but when the piano player starts pounding out bass notes, it's nice to be able to show him/her what the hell a change sounds like without the bass note. As Aaron says, we all have Bill Evans to thank for this.
    A real night mare for a bassist is a pianist that voices the changes with the bass note in the chord and a drummer that plays a loud, insensitive four on the floor bass drum.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You know I think I worked with those guys....
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    You were in "Coldplay".....:eek: ?


    ;)
     
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    Hey, come on Bruce! :(

    You know...I don't know why people rag on Coldplay so much. I mean, if you like a bassline or a drumbeat, you'll get to hear it at least 3 or 4 more times on the same album.




    ...:ninja:

    EDIT: FWIW, I attended an audition preparation course at Humber College this past weekend. During the 2 hour theory courses on both days, we spent a little while doing this and I'm fairly proficient at it now. Shame I didn't have it in time for the UoT test...
     
  10. dodgy_ian

    dodgy_ian

    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    actually a real mare is when the keyboardist insists on playing walking basslines in his left hand all over your lines........:crying: :rollno:
     
  11. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Ontario
    That's why you get a nice, heavy, cheap bow -- even if you don't play arco. One or two quick snaps with the the bow, and he'll stop -- they don't call it the Stick O' Pain for nothing!
     
  12. dodgy_ian

    dodgy_ian

    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    oh, no, I just stopped playing and started packing up...!!! That made him sit up and take note!
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yes - he probably thought he was going to get your share of the "takings" !!! :p
     
  14. dodgy_ian

    dodgy_ian

    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    :meh:
     

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