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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Ant Illington, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned

    TB management, please make this a sticky!

    The attachment is Sting in this month's (well, Apr 2017 arrived today) Bass Player mag. While it is "only" Sting and only Rock and Roll rather than a conservatory professor, it's importance should not be neglected. This is not a shot at theory or education, I am eyeballs deep in each. Also, I daresay that even if educated classical musicians supposedly can't improvise (a sentiment I've read here over and over), I'd bet my left nut that almost all of the ones getting paid have great ears in addition to superior mechanical and dot-reading skills.

    As someone who was not informed of the importance of "having/developing an ear" and who consequently paid the price in: 1) spending excessive time learning songs mechanically (even though using only my ear to learn songs); 2) forgetting songs and; 3) not readily able to recognize that there are many similarities in so many songs. A good ear fixes all of that. Yes, learn theory and merchanics, too, but an ear wins.

    Think about this daunting illustration of the difference in learning and remembering songs- It's easier to just be able to hear 12 pitches in your head than it is to remember 18,900 mechanical movements. What's 18,900? That's simply quarter notes at 120 for 45 songs (3, 1 hrs sets (with a little break each hour)). That's a lot of stuff to remember, let alone learn and memorize! But wait, now say that you want to play some music with 8th notes and 16th notes... it gets ugly real fast. Even if you're grooving and leaving space, it's huge numbers!

    Yes, my math WAY over-dramatizes the difference between ear and mechanical and it excludes the time it takes to develop one's ear but say I'm off by a whopping factor of 10. You're still looking at 12 vs 1,890. That's just for one gig of boring quarter notes, though.

    How long will you remember the order of those mechanical movements (hint: not long unless you keep playing the same songs over and over- real fun). How well will you associate any bunch of those mechanical movements between one song and any number of others? Poorly at best.

    If you want to be simply a bar band bassist playing classic rock with your buddies, disregard this. Certainly don't bother knocking it if you're one of the grouch squad in said bar bands! I'm talking to the younger guys/girls who want to maximize their potential.

    If you want to be in demand and learn stuff fast enough to be in demand, ear is where it's at unless you are just looking for reading gigs (but, I bet those guys have good ears, too). There will be people here who deny my assertions but disregard them. They are either limited and don't care to acknowledge that which they don't understand OR they actually have a better ear than they realize. Many guys can play well but not explain why. It's called an ear. Best of luck and hard work to you!

    Okay, on with Sting:

    idoker, Oddly and JCooper like this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    They hyphenated "arsenal" as arse - nal. :woot::smug:
  3. cazclocker

    cazclocker My social skills are rapidly dwindling.

    Oct 24, 2014
    Newton, Kansas
    Yeah, I caught that too, disgusting perv that I am. "The most important organ in any musician's ...".
    andruca and bholder like this.
  4. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    you know that many classical musicians never commit to memory ... I've played classical musique and never put the music into my memory, I read the the music in front of me so, I only need to remember some cue or the first bar when we have to turn pages.

    People says classical musicians can't improvise and this is because they are used to play complex harmonies and not use their aural imagination at all. it is a different skills sets for sure.
  5. A musician with no musical imagination... Having to spend your life playing dead music. Sounds kinda sad.
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  6. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I used to play several wind instruments in a few different boroque and chamber ensembles. Not an original phrase was played and we followed the music to the letter. It was a blast. Different strokes for different folks.
  7. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    IMHO to dismiss what classical musicians do as "dead music" is a disservice.

    the artistry for both rock/pop and classical lies in the interpretation of the piece.
    those who cannot sight read must memorize before they can interpret.
    skilled classical players can interpret on the fly ,while sight reading.
    That kind of blows my mind.
  8. Personally, I absolutely choose to dismiss classical music. And I'm not apologizing for it whatsoever. 300 years with nothing new to say is way too long. And in my opinion, the interpretation aspect is so subtle as to be nonexistent.

    I studied classical piano for awhile, before I came to the realization that I had no interest in playing the same notes to create the same song every time I wanted to play it.

    As far as I was concerned, it was dead to me. That's why I play jazz. However, this is my life. If someone wants to love classical, they can feel free. Makes zero difference to me.
  9. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    There is no dead music. Only people with limited imaginations.
    Pacman, Meghans Dad, JACink and 7 others like this.
  10. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
    I play for fun and that's all I'll ever want. If I decided to make a living playing music then I would be good at reading sheet music. Now let's plug in and play-up and catch me (if you can).
    Ant Illington likes this.
  11. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Not that I am trying to change your mind, but in your comments I am reminded of this
  12. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    its called interpretation. You are like an actor ...

    Even when you play in a cover band ... you play someone else music and very very very few cover band actually transform the song to make it theirs ...
    Ant Illington and Whousedtoplay like this.
  13. It's not as if I can't play the stuff. I just don't anymore. And my interpretation comment comes from my fairly limited experience that in classical, once you get an interpretation, it pretty much stays the same for a really long time. When I do jazz gigs, the interpretation generally changes every gig, at least somewhat...

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  14. dhbailey52


    Feb 20, 2017
    To say that classical music over a 300-year period had nothing new to say as it evolved (and is still evolving) is the sort of close-mindedness that the classical music world had with the advent of rock-n-roll. You don't need to apologize for your dislike of classical music -- likes/dislikes are all personal. But there was much new which was said as those 300 years passed, and much of it was what has evolved into jazz and rock music. After all, much rock music is using the same chords that classical musicians were using 200 and 300 years ago. And jazz often uses chords that Debussy and Ravel were exploring in the late 1800s. It's all interlinked, classical, jazz, rock, pop, movie, broadway music.
    bholder, Bob_Ross and Ant Illington like this.
  15. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    That lets me out.
    I know well that I don't have a great ear for music (although I am lucky enough to have a very good sense of rhythm!)
    That said, Mister Sting is almost certainly correct, and your mathematical calculations make a whole lot of sense too.
    Ant Illington likes this.
  16. Here's a nice gentle piece of classical music from Pachelbel from about 1700.

    I think she plays more notes in that 1 song than I've played in my life :wideyed:

    It's fair so say she breaths new life into it and it's anything but dead :)
    bholder, JACink and Oddly like this.
  17. I wasn't speaking to the evolution of music as a whole. That music evolves is obvious to even the most casual observer.

    I was speaking to classical music in the "pure" form, and to my "personal" feeling that classical performance is a loose fitting straight jacket in which everything is predicated and the goal is to perform more or less perfectly as dictated by the written music. I've been to classical events where some individuals bring the score to the concerts and mark off the mistakes that were made during the performance. That is the type of thing I have no use for.

    Anyway, the music is what it is. Amazingly, differing opinions can coexist. If someone else feels different about it than I do, that's perfectly ok with me.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  18. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Hmmm ... this line reads like something I might hear on the evening news lately ... ;)
    bholder, Oddly, andruca and 1 other person like this.
  19. LOL, try not to take it too personally. It has nothing to do with you anyway.
    Whousedtoplay likes this.
  20. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    I reread the OP and, it depends the player I guess. I'm the one that will play the same song the same way everytime and I can remember the way I played it. I also can read music so if I don,t remember something, I just take out the score and !Bam! I can play it again ...

    I'm also very into Dream Theater and other complex music that are ... written because it is very complex and hard. It also open the doors to arrangement which can't really be done when the music is improvised.
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