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looking for stuff

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by kimstevens, Dec 30, 2002.


  1. kimstevens

    kimstevens

    Nov 12, 2002
    Hi. I hope you don't mind my posting this question in this forum: I just have a feeling that if anyone knows where I might find this, it would be M & S. I am interested in finding recordings of western classical music played on bass guitar, whether written for the insrument or transcribed/arranged. I am also interested in finding classical Indian music -- do either of you know of any musicians who play raga on bass? I am aware of the bass as used in fusion ensembles such as those with Jonas Hellborg, but I have not been able to locate any bass soloists in the Indian classical tradition.

    Any reply is very much appreciated, even if it's just a "no"!

    Kim
     
  2. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Try http://www.jsbach.net/ - I think the owner, Dave Grossman, is also a TB member and he's done some stuff with Bach's music arranged for bass.

    Wulf
     
  3. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Kim,

    The only 'classical' stuff that I'm aware of are Stu Hamm's arrangements of The Moonlight Sonata and Bach's Prelude in C, John Patitucci's version of Cello Suite Number 1 (which Michael Manring does very well live) and, er, Joey Dimaio (sp??) from Manowar doing 'Sting Of The Bumblebee'... LOL - sorry, the last one's probably not what you're looking for...

    As a general rule, the cello stuff works much better on bass than the piano music, IMO - the Cello suites make for some serious finger-work, especially if you leave your bass tuned in fourths! I think Michael tunes to CGDA when he plays the Bach, but I can't be certain...

    As for the Indian stuff - Bass is not an instrument that features heavily in the Indian Classical tradition - the bass role is generally taken by the lower tuned of the tabla, which has got some SERIOUS bottom end on it! I played in a quartet for a while with a tabla player, classical guitarist and electric violinist, and learned so much from the Tabla player about rhythm and approach... I know Michael had played with some outstanding Tabla players, so I'm sure he'll fill you in on some of that...

    I don't know of any rag-based recordings with electric bass on on them, sadly... If you do find any in your travels, do let me know!

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  4. kimstevens

    kimstevens

    Nov 12, 2002
    Thanks, wulf and Steve. Yes, I am aware of the tonal range and quality of the baya (lower tabla drum). Still, since 2 bass guitars can work well together (Sadhappy), perhaps there is sonic room available for a bass guitarist in a classical Indian format. For example, the range of a male vocalist generally lies within the bass guitar range, so I don't think the frequencies of the notes would be the potential problem, but rather the musical approach -- I wouldn't envision the bass guitar taking a thumpy accompanying role, at least not all the time.

    K.
     
  5. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Kim,

    I'm sure it could work - in fact, I've got a couple of bollywood soundtrack Cds that have a mad blend of indian and european musical styles, with elec bass running through all of it... It's definitely just a matter of arranging...

    Part of the problem may just be that in general, Electric instruments haven't really infiltrated the indian classical tradition - the nearest I guess they get is using a tamboura box instead of someone actually playing one (that's one thing I've always wanted - the drones they produce are fantastic!)

    cheers

    steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  6. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Good questions, Kim! I've goofed around a bit with transcribing concert repertoire for bass and it's something I enjoy. Steve is quite right -- lately I've been playing the prelude from the first Bach cello suite in CGDA with a capo at the twelfth fret (this duplicates the tuning of the cello). I've tried it a few different ways over the years and I'm liking it this way these days. For some reason though, I do still like playing some of the other cello suites in standard. In any case, a lot of that music sounds really nice on the bass and I expect we'll see someone do extraordinary things along those lines someday. It would take enormous dedication, though. The standards for chamber music are very high and there doesn't seem to be much of an audience for bass transcriptions.

    I have a similar feeling about fretless bass and Indian Classical music -- I would absolutely love to hear someone play Hindustani or Carnatic music on fretless. Although I understand that music is highly codified and traditional, there does seem to be an openness to new instruments. There's a pretty groovy tradition of slide guitar in India and after hearing what Srinivas does with the electric mandolin, I figure it's just a matter of time before someone blows all our minds with some serious subcontinent fretless. I've recently been in touch with a bassist in India and asked if there was anyone pursuing it. I'll let you know what I find out.
     
  7. kimstevens

    kimstevens

    Nov 12, 2002
    Thank you so much for your replies, guys. I agree that there will have to be fretless bassists coming out who have studied Indian music enough to play as soloists. I'm actually surprised that it hasn't already happened, at least with some degree of large scale awareness. And I remember reading some time ago that Stanley Clarke commissioned a bass guitar concerto; I don't know if it was for standard or "piccolo" bass (I wish we had a better term for that!), but I don't think it has been performed yet. Lots of things yet to do with our instrument!

    K.
     
  8. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Kim

    there's a concerto for electric and upright bass on John Patitucci's album 'Heart Of The Bass', as well as his recording of Cello Suite #1 - check it out!

    cheers

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk