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Van Morrison's Moondance: How Difficult?

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by eeziebass, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. eeziebass


    Jun 10, 2007
    I've been trying to master Van Morrison's "Moondance" for two wks and am no better at it than when I started. I just can't seem to find a pattern and have tried using my Tascam Bass trainer to loop small sections at a time. Have any other relative beginners found this song difficult? On a scale of 1 to 10 (10=most difficult), how would you rate this song. I'm quite frustrated at this point.
  2. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Like most songs this one has a basic pattern that repeats with variations several times throughout the song. On songs like this what I like to do first is to find one pattern that I can repeat through the whole song. Then as I get comfortable I can play with the different variations.

    So basically you can make this as hard or as easy as you like.
  3. For a beginner this song is a 9 or 10 as far as pop music is concerned, because usually you would want to learn how to make walking bass lines, not just play the original variations. Learning how to walk that well takes a long time!
  4. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    The band I'm with decided to add "Moondance" to our book last month. Despite having listened to it for decades, I'd never played it. We ran through it a few times in different keys at rehearsal and, once we figured out which key worked best for our singer, played it at our next gig without incident.

    It's a very easy song (I'd rate it a 1 or 2 for an experienced musician), but don't feel bad: if you listen to the original recording by Van Morrison, you'll hear several errors made by the bass player that no one seems to notice or mind.

    Are you having trouble with the time & feel, or the notes & changes?
  5. MistaMarko


    Feb 3, 2006
    Ad-Libbing is what makes this difficult.
  6. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    When I used to play this song I just stuck to the verse, and chorus parts and repeated them. I never bothered with the improvising/ad-lib bits. Seemed to work pretty good. More of a groove than a walk, that's all.
  7. eeziebass


    Jun 10, 2007
    Jazzdog: I'm having trouble with the notes and changes. I'll try Bassist's suggestion of sticking with verse & chorus parts, also perhaps playing notes in Dorion mode to begin with. Tks for all the help.
  8. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    If you're having trouble learning this tune, simplify the changes instead of trying to learn it "as written," and learn to make the song swing using the simplest notes possible.

    It may be easier to learn if you start out playing two beats per measure: A, B, C, B...

    Then, play the same notes, but pluck each one twice, resulting in four beats per measure: AA, BB, CC, BB

    Rhythmic emphasis makes a song swing more than note choices. Next, playing the same notes and number of beats per bar, experiment by emphasizing different beats. For example: AA, BB, CC, BB
    or AA, BB, CC, BB

    If you can make the song swing rhythmically using simple changes, it'll buy you time to improve the notes you select for an improvised walking line. On the other hand, if you can't provide a swinging rhythm, it won't matter if the note values are right or wrong because the song will be a drag to play.

    Good luck!
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I don't know about the rating - but would echo the sentiments that playing convincing walking lines - not just 'parrot fashion' repetition, is a long-term project, which most Jazz bass players work on all their lives! :)

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