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Favourite "Excercises" away from the instrument

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by edvon, Mar 17, 2005.


  1. edvon

    edvon

    Apr 4, 2004
    Australia
    Hi,
    don't know if this has been raised before.
    What would be your favourite "excercises" or techniques without your instrument or listening to music to improve your ear, technique, general musicianship?
    thanks for any input, ed
     
  2. Jonas J

    Jonas J

    Jul 2, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    I've just recently started playing arco, and one thing that really matters (more than in jazz/pizz playing) is the fingering of passages. There are certainly more than one way to do it, and you have to find the fingering that makes most sense to you. Consequently, I practice away from the instrument by thinking of how to finger certain musical passages. When I take up the instrument, I've noticed that the passages will play better if I have made up some ideas about fingering beforehand.
     
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Singing! If I can sing it, I can play it.
     
  4. bass_means_LOW

    bass_means_LOW

    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    EDVON, I see by your posts that you're already dealing with a couple online tutorials. Here's another one-check it out.
    Website: www.mariotrane.com
    I liked the information on Paul Hindemith.
    (Mario and I gig together 6 nights a week here in Bangkok.)
     
  5. edvon

    edvon

    Apr 4, 2004
    Australia
    Thanks for your thoughts guys. Jonas, I'm in the same boat, started arco (with a great teacher) but fingering choices are a bit overwhelming at times, especially "on the fly" while trying to read. So your idea makes sense.

    Marcus, I love to sing much to the dismay of the people I work and live with ;-), do you actually "see" the notes when you sing, or name the pitches/intervalls?

    Mario, thanks for the link, I like checking out different sites and books about theory and the likes, I will definitely spend some time on your site.

    Keep the ideas coming...
     
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Well. sometimes I visualize the notes when I'm singing them, especially if I know what key the tune is in; for instance, if I'm trying to get the specific notes. I also sometimes write that way when I'm away from the piano.

    More typically, I'll probably just "see" it intervallically, without regard to key or note names. In that case, I guess I visualize the fingerboard shapes and probably some right hand fingerings. You know how it is, you sort of have that DB built into your consciousness, so you can actually conceptualize and "practice" ideas away from the bass, then apply them when you're actually holding the instrument.
     
  7. I like using Modus Novus, it's an atonal sight singing book...really great for opening your ears
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    +1. That sounds mighty familiar.
     
  9. edvon

    edvon

    Apr 4, 2004
    Australia
    That's what I'd like to achieve, I guess a lot more eartraining and actually playing and experience will bring that...

    thanks for your thoughts Marcus.

    Modus Novus - atonal singing excercises, sounds pretty difficult, I find it hard trying to sight-sing with a tonal center. It's ok when it goes straight up a scale, because practicing scales "knocked" their sounds into my head, but when larger intervals appear I struggle. I might have to do more scales excercises in thirds, fourths and so on.
     
  10. PatrickC

    PatrickC

    Jan 29, 2002
    Orlando
    Also great for when you really need some "alone time".
     
  11. so lonely.....so very very lonely
     
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Hey, SWANSONG, you ever hook up with Judith Berkman for any of those atonal/Hindemith/Joe Maneri harmony/composition workshops?
     
  13. mrpc

    mrpc Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Speaking of alone time, the biggest sounds I've ever heard have come from being alone with nature. Of course, I guess you're never really alone! ;)
     
  14. edvon

    edvon

    Apr 4, 2004
    Australia
    I suppose that made it so popular especially for composers in the baroque and romantic periods to "mimick" the sounds of nature, Vivaldis "Quattro Stagioni" springs to mind (pun intended), for those who are lucky enough to live in a place where the seasons actually change noticeably, you can "See-Feel-Hear-Smell" the 4 seasons in this work. (Where I live it's either wet or dry and most of the trees are always green, sigh)

    As for another "Away from the bass excercise" I been playing with lately, I play a certain passage on the bass, remember the notes and when I am away from it and a little time has lapsed I try to visualize the fingering and "hear" the sound of each note. Then I slightly alter the passage, visiualize a fingering and later, go back to the bass to find out if I can play that altered passage. Anybody got any ideas or variations on that?
     
  15. mrpc

    mrpc Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Try Cantus Arcticus (1972) by Einojuhani Rautavaara. (He has written some awesome music for solo bass too...) The mimickry continues, and you won't be disappointed!

    Not to far off subject, I hope!
     
  16. edvon

    edvon

    Apr 4, 2004
    Australia
    Cantus Arcticus - I heard about that, is that a piece that has to do with bird songs? Try to get my hands on that. Thanks for the input, nothing too far off topic when it comes to music which widens the listening horizon...
    ed
     
  17. mrpc

    mrpc Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Yes, that piece integrates real bird songs with some pretty dense orchestration. Ever heard an iceburg avalanche?
     
  18. edvon

    edvon

    Apr 4, 2004
    Australia
    Can't say I have, but I can imagine lots of descending 16ths and 32s in the lower registers, rumbling away and then ending in a looooong rest....
     
  19. mrpc

    mrpc Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Nope. It's full frequency! And (sounds like) layers of different rhythms. Haven't looked at a score, though.
     
  20. edvon

    edvon

    Apr 4, 2004
    Australia
    Back to topic, I did a bit of googling on the subject of excercises without instrument and found mostly stuff having to do with physical aspects of playing, not so much the hearing.
    One thing I came across I found interesting, here is an excerpt of "Rules for the young musicians" by Robert Schumann the german romantic composer.

    "•You must not be only be able to play your little pieces with the fingers; you must be able to hum them over without a piano. Sharpen your imagination so that you may fix in your mind not only the melody of a composition, but also the harmony belonging to it.

    •You must carry the development of mental hearing so far that you can understand a piece of music upon paper.

    •Accustom yourself, even though you have little voice, to sing at sight, without the aid of an instrument. The keenness of your hearing will continually improve by that means. But if you are the possessor of a rich voice, lose not a moment's time, but cultivate it, and consider it the fairest gift which Heaven has lent you "

    Makes sense, as does the rest of his rules. Still looking for the good techniques to get me to that point, how do I approach it? What else but hard work and lots of practice helps, and moreover what to practice and how?