1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Getting lost in the form

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by rokx, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. rokx


    Nov 13, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    As bass players, how do you guys go about learning and internalising a new standard up until the point where you can comfortably play with a group and be able to listen to and react to their playing?
    I seem to be getting lost quite a fair bit in the form when dudes start playing more 'out', or my bass line gets too "root" based in an attempted to hold down the changes, and it detracts from the creativity of the ensemble.

    I can play through the chord tones of the form with time through the keys, and play all scales associated with the chords.
    I've transcribed a few solos that are based on the form I'm learning.
    I have perfect pitch (which has been the bane of my jazz learning thus far since everything I hear is fixed pitch), I think I may be missing a big point by not transcribing an entire bass line but I need a way to benefit from it since for me, hearing a note is equivalent to reading a note off a page.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    What's missing and really stands out from your list is - the Melody!

    If you play the melody and memorise that, it is a good guide to where you are - many Jazz players say they hear the melody going through their head and even the lyrics, so they always know here they are.

    Personally I think that after a while you start to feel the structures of Jazz tunes and even if there is no melody, you can feel 8 bar or 4 sections etc.

    But anyway you can't afford to ignore the melody and probably your best starting point in this context - go to the Newbie links and find Ed Fuqua's Guide to Really learning a tune.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Yup. Melody is everything. I think for myself, learning the heads got me out of the nebulousness between one chord and the next if you didn't bother to learn it. I posed the same question when I was starting out on this forum. The resounding answer was that yeah, melody is super important and you can't get by just by learning only the changes.

    Also, I think you should reconsider the importance of playing roots and chord tones when the soloist starts to go "out". If he's not holding down the fort (by playing the changes), who is? Generally, your job is to play roots and thirds. Someone has to drive the changes. If you're getting lost just playing the basics, yeah you have something specific to work on.
  4. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    learn the words
  5. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yeah, haven't I heard about people that just put a copy of the lyrics on the music stand?
  6. playbass0410


    Feb 8, 2008
    Once I did play in a band, where the composer handed out the lyrics with the chords written above the words.

    That was the only material given.

    How did I hate it!

    Just lyrics: :rollno:
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well it depends what you're playing - quite often I play sets of all original tunes written by band members and there are no lyrics - no words!

    Other times, I have played gigs of tunes written by Jazz greats from the past - again with no lyrics.
  8. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    I have a couple of theory books that have nice sections on how to remember and memorize jazz tunes. If I recall correctly, because the book is not with me now, its this book that has some good material on this:


    Dan Haerle's book "The Jazz Sound"

    I'm pretty sure its this one...

    I will keep looking around, there is a lot on this, but mostly in general theory or jazz piano books. I'll have to check my Mark Levine books also.
  9. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz

    Make every section special. Care about demarcating everything, and you'll have happier soloists, and won't lose your place.
  10. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    I will keep looking around, there is a lot on this, but mostly in general theory or jazz piano books. I'll have to check my Mark Levine books also.[/QUOTE]

  11. jdepriest


    Sep 20, 2005
    Waynesburg, Pa

    I havent seen that book but this one has some good tips and recorded examples.

    How to Learn Tunes


    and really learn the melody. keep it going no matter how out the rest of the band gets. be the anchor.
  12. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    My point is any good song tells a story, whether it be with words or not. Not getting lost means getting inside the story the composer is telling.

    To me REALLY learning a tune means learn EVERYTHING. The melody, the chords, the words.
  13. Curley Shadow

    Curley Shadow

    Oct 16, 2009
    Take a look at Hal Galper's "Forward Motion"

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.