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Classical on electric

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by b0nes83, May 31, 2002.


  1. b0nes83

    b0nes83

    Dec 14, 2000
    I wasn't sure where to put this on the TB threads so i gave it to you mike. What are your thought on classical music being played on electric basses?
    I played 2 movements off of the 6 sonatas for double bass bye Antonio Vivaldi last semester. easy to play but i was not impressed by the way it came out on the electric. Now I am studying Dragonetti's concerto in A Major and I was wondering if you have ever heard or have played this piece and was wondering if you have and techniques or finger patterns i could use for the fast 16th and triplet runs. Thanks,
    Chad
     
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Chad,

    The electric bass is just a tool to express your musicianship. The style of music and the instrument that it is played on are irrelevant ... that being said

    Classical music has often been thought of as music that intepretation, improvisation and embellishement were to be kept at a minimum. The voice of the composer was paramount. That has become much less of an issue. You are free to intepret the music as you wish (although some of your professors might be upset). You need to find your "voice" on your instruments and apply it to the music. Interpret the pieces as you hear them, not as the way they are "supposed to sound". Man, break the rules - in fact, make all new ones. Jaco did!!


    I am not familiar with the piece - if you scan the passage for me and email it to me at mike@michaeldimin.com I'd be willing to take a look at it.

    Mike
     
  3. b0nes83

    b0nes83

    Dec 14, 2000
    well im trying to brake the rules as much as possible..but my teacher (mike wicks) wants to hear it his way a little more than my way. He is starting to let me do more of my own interpratations now. I dont have a scanner so i wont be able to send it over to you. but here is one page i found on the internet.
    http://www.liben.com/downloads/dragcon.pdf
    In my sheets it switches from treble to bass to tenor cleffs everyother bar. thanks again mike.
    Chad
     
  4. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Sometimes, when we are in an academic setting, we have to do as the teacher says (that doesn't mean it is necessarily correct, artistic, etc). Mike Wicks has very definite opinions on issues. It is a something we just have to get used to, I guess.

    I'll take a look at the piece and get back to you.

    Mike
     
  5. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I enjoy playing classical music on electric bass. I'm trying my hand at Mozart on my own and the Bach Cello Suites. My old teacher (who I'm already missing :() encouraged me to play classical music, giving me some pieces to try before he moved, only hoping my new teacher does the same.

    I don't think there should be any limit on what can be done on the bass (or any instrument to that matter). Express yourself whatever way you want to and play whatever you want to play.

    Possibilities are endless.
     
  6. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    I think Brad Johnson said it best in my Why not 6 or 7 thread ...

    Mike
     
  7. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Strings don't limit bassists... bassists limit themselves


    well put!
    Max
     
  8. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I should try learning some classical stuff....that might be fun....or at least try attempting it.
    I'm currently preparing to apply for a scholarship at berklee school of music...and I don't really know the requirements(its a cold idea in my head) but my mom mentioned something about having to have a couple songs to present for a merit based scholarship. so I figured I'd play "portrait of tracy", but I also figured I'd give a serious shot at learning "Classical thump"...man is my thumb sore :) thats one gnarly song, and its the closest thing to classical playing I've ever done(short a song from the Clockwork orange soundtrack)
     
  9. b0nes83

    b0nes83

    Dec 14, 2000
    I'm not sure if "Classical Thump" is really high up there in the charts with all the other classical composers. peace
    Chad
     
  10. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope

    Feb 7, 2002
    Prague
    ummm, i`m using bach`s preludes as good excercise... members of my band wanted to kill me when i gave them some notes :D . we are all fighting with being enough fast with those 16th notes at 120 etc.. It`s killing my hands anyways.. I think that needs more of diferent stuff than only straight 16th notes at 120. I bet u must practice different excercises to get that skill of perfectly free hand...
    btw i do not recommend any of those classical things for getting on berkley or another school, they always preffer a jazz... :)

    small steps before run first!

    sorry mike with putting my nose into ur things :cool:
    Miss.Ant.
     
  11. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Sorry I've taken so long to get back to you ... it's been rather hectic around here. Doing exercises is one thing, aspiring to paly 16th notes at 120bpm is part of that exercise. It is not, however, neceassily musical. Focus on the musical aspects of the exercise or the piece, through that develop the techniques/speed necessary. Don't lose the beauty of the piece for the technical brilliance. That is what set Jaco, Stanley, etc apart from all the rest

    Mike
     
  12. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope

    Feb 7, 2002
    Prague
    dear Mike...
    u`ve showed here a problem of expresivity... yes I agree with u... i`ve changed setup of my amp, setted a bridge lower, got a better technique and got a better bass... but what makes us better musicians? Does that really just depend on our talent? And what exactly is a talent? I have some recordings where Jaco plays a craps, but they do sounds interesting, not like a stupid thing. I think u also must went througs some thoughts if u are talented (or were u always sure about that?), what is your possition in a band (espec. in your starts), if u can belive in that u do... and then was there of course a lot of practicing... In my view.. u get a better musician while u are getting a better person (that`s what I see when I am trying to make my bass and me 1 person).. but there is still a lot of dumbass`s around the world which are showing us that this is not only a way.

    But anyways..u are right practicing 120BPM 16th notes is not gonna make me a better musician.. I can play some jazz but I see that I have problem with Jaco.. There is more about rhytmicaly..is that what we call an art? It seem like I am finding a new another view at music (when I play from notes)... I practice diferent styles, diferent rhytmic sections, jazz, but I see..there are some rulez in a jazz where to put an accent, but the orriginality is acctually up to u.. That`s what we call an art of our idols... Sorry, I am confused a little (well, I am looking for a way how to get on jazz school, because I want to understand the music, but it seem they want there already done musicians, which will uinderstand each barr, but that`s not a school then, but only a factory).... Thank u for this answer and for future answers

    Misanthrope

    (also little hectic here) :)
     
  13. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Mis -


    Your question really very important. Knowledge, technique, facility, sound, your instrument are simple tools. The more you know, the better your technique, etc - the bigger is your toolbox.

    Music, however is an art form. It is about the ability to create somthing that has a profound effect on the listener. It is about communication.

    The goal is to be able to allow the music to flow from within your soul - to communicate from your soul to the listeners. You need the "tool's" in your toolbox to be able to bring forth your expression. The better your tools, the more able you are to bring forth your true emotions - to say what you NEED to say and have the listener understand.

    The rules in jazz or any other musical form are created AFTER the music. It is the human being's way to try and codify something that they don't underdstand. Understanding the rules gives us perspective, knowledge and understanding. The rules however must be "broken" for the music to advance.

    Mike
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - the basis of Jazz was breaking rules and using chords and extensions of chords that weren't considered "musical" before! And some people think that Jazz "died" as soon as it stopped breaking rules.;)

    I just wanted to mention that some "classical" works I have heard, do actually require bass guitar as opposed to DB - so the composer has specified the instrument in the orchestral score.

    I know I have heard a few but the only one I can remember off-hand was by the British Composer "Mark Anthony Turnage", whose works have been perfromed at the Proms and by the big London orchestras.

    Turnage is considered a contemporary "classical" composer, but is a big Miles Davis fan - the last new work of his that I saw in concert was "Bass Inventions" written for Dave Holland and a chamber orchestra - lots of solo bass stuff as well as an electric piano part (a la Chick Corea).
     
  15. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope

    Feb 7, 2002
    Prague
    hello Mike and Bruce...
    thank u both for answer...

    now to mike - dear man, exactly... u was thinking where is my trouble in making of music. I was thining if I am enought tallented etc... but ppl around me were always telling me that I have a great technique (well here wasn`t enough gr8t bassists around me and maybe they were more looking at me as a girl..so...). But I didn`t setted up myself as a human (from that I think) and exactly I didn`t have anything to say... now I am learning to use my bass instead a tongue and language. I didn`t know what to say and how.. Now I see how ..but don`t know yet what...Can u tell me how u feel when u play (kind of explaining what u play)... Well, after than all informations about technique are online and in books here is time to talk a little about soul in music... (why is soul called soul? ;-) j/k). I really don`t know what u feel by making new songs.
    I do feel
    1. empty... playing what my fingers wants (parts of chords etc. like a robot)
    2. strange freezing (when I hit those exact tone in a right while) - that`s when i am composing
    3. fascinated (when I know where am I in a music and know what to play and it goes) - when I jamm
    ......2. and 3. are not that often but I like them... but while I write a lyrics.. it`s a pain what is going out... and now while i write this.. it`s about giving my pain out..i think i need a little more think about this.. i will get back soon...
    Thanks,thanks really for opening my eyes a little more again....

    now to bruce - i was thinking about that u said about autrost from past (like for example named bach) about their parts written for double bass...
    But I do not have a problem with playing guitar pieces, clavier pieces or cello pieces etc.. I never had. I was borrowing a notes for cello and violin and played that (but it was always an excercise)... But u are right.. simple bass played by violin will be probably strange...also thank u for comment.. this thread is very inovating for me :)

    c`ya soon (blind-bass-freak-miss-ant)
    Misanthrope ;-)
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I'm not sure I understand 50% of that - but I wasn't really talking about composers from the past - Mark Anthony Turnage is about the same age as me and writes currently - he is (I think still) "composer-in-residence" for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. And he has written parts specifically for Bass Guitar, not Double Bass.
     
  17. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope

    Feb 7, 2002
    Prague
    bruce i am sorry... this was big missunderstood... i was exactly thinking about those ppl from past.. (i am not native english speaking person, so sorry about some mistakes)....
     
  18. Misanthrope

    Misanthrope

    Feb 7, 2002
    Prague
    I am back. I got a little time for thinking about that what was said in this thread. So, do u think if I want to play something classical on my gig with my band, is important that the band understands what was authors idea? (well..that`s not very easy to read it from notes no matter if there are marks about an accent, etc.). I like an expression of Jeff Berlin when he was playing C minor prelude by J.S.Bach with Crossroads. That seem almost like he was the author (especialy when u listen to his solo), but it can also be just typical „counted“ solo. I don`t know. Classical and jazz improvisation are little bit different from that I got and J.S.Bach is for amateur a „preludist“ – a guy which take a chord and make a prelude (just changes a notes of a chord by his mood), but that`s not exact. What do u think about him and his art? (of course I do not expect that u know everything ;-)). I know it is very individual with each of us... If I imagine what everything we should say about Jaco`s style or about Stravinsky, Dvorak or Bartok (well... bartok is a biiiiig mystery at all). If I think about authors like Bach was or named Pastorius I think if I realy want to understand to their art I must count also the time and enviroment and reasons when, where and why were they doing their job (that`s not what teachers do very often). I would like to get some bigger context in that we talk about... How do u personaly like a classical music? In my view it is one of those highest mountain we can reach in composing. I feel similiar with jazz but in a way of expressing and only the time will show if I am right... I think my dream is to reach both those tops. In my „musical intelect“ and my „musical emotions“. Thank you for care about us ;-) so take a care too

    Misanthrope
     
  19. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Just a little note about what I like about classical music: the emotion put into the pieces. Listen to how much expression these composers put into their music. Just look at Mozart's "Don Giovanni" opera, written after the death of his father. I never heard so much emotion. You cannot imitate these emotions, but you can find your own. The important thing is how it makes you feel. Maybe you like to know the story behind the piece and why a composer felt the way he did writing it, why it was expressive like it was, the reason the dynamics were put where they were, but you can't step into that composers skin to feel how he felt, you can only feel what you're feeling...Sometimes you play a piece with such feeling that you sometimes can feel what the composers is feeling, but it all comes back to you.

    Don't know if that was relevant to any of the posts here, but just thought I'd share that. :)
     
  20. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Stephanie - welcome to the discussion

    Mis - Classical music if more of a showcase for the composer, jazz for the performer. If you want to perform a classical piece with your band, I think you need to define what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to be true to the composer and the classical tradition, your interpretation of the tune has fairly narrow parameters. If you want to take the composers music and make your own statement, then you have total freedom in your interpretation.

    I love the 4 composers you mention, Bach, Bartok, Stravinksy and Dvorak. Bartok is perhaps my favorite. I enjoy his use of folk melody withing the classical context. I also love his chord voicings in 4ths.

    One thing that, I believe, sets Jaco apart was his wonderful writing and arranging skills. Jaco had a grasp of the music of Stravinsky as well as Bach. He also had a grasp on the jazz tradition as both a composer and an arranger.

    back to a previous question. You ask how I feel when I play. I usually perform solo and in that respect I am improvising much of the night. My improvisations are based on what I feel, what I bring to the gig. Let me give you an example: I recently had a tragedy in my life. A long time friend committed suicide. I had a gig the following week and was feeling rather empty/sad. I tried to use that emotion to create. The music that came out of the night was a reflection of my feeling. The music itself did not make me feel anything. Some direct observations, the tempos were quite a bit slower than I usually play. The melodies back in time. I played much more melodic and never felt that I needed to "flash" around the fretboard. In fact there are times at gigs where I might feel a need to "impress" someone. That was totally gone as I played on this night. I only cared about the moment, what was being played, what was being felt - that's what it should always be about.

    If you have an opportunity check out the book "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner

    Mike