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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Libersolis, Nov 13, 2004.
Did a search.. couldnt find anything.. what exactly are these..
Hehe, first reply. (I get to exact my torment...)
Vomit is an excercise on the bass where any of your left-hand playing fingers start on the 2nd above its repective open string and you slide whichever finger you are using up and back to and from each note of the note you started on's scale. The sound is supposed to remind you of the word 'vomit' or something.
This excercise is for developing left hand callouses for jazz and to practice your sliding technique using different combinations of fingers.
Oh and by the way, these are done using TWO octives on a string.
*edit* Oh yea, and use arco if you have a bow. With the bow, hammer it down and play really loud with lots of pressure when doing this. After a few rounds of this on one finger you'll be hurtin' (in a good, callouse-making way). *edit*
Each note is "portamento" -- it's smeared into the next. On the G string, quarter at 60 or slower, with your best gorgeous bow-tone and vibrato, play:
Bb -> C C-> Bb
Bb -> D D-> Bb
Bb -> Eb Eb -> Bb
Bb -> F F -> Bb
Bb -> G G -> Bb
Bb -> A A -> Bb
Bb -> Bb Bb -> Bb
Bb -> A A -> Bb
Bb -> G G -> Bb
Bb -> F F -> Bb
Bb -> Eb Eb -> Bb
Bb -> D D -> Bb
Bb -> C C -> Bb
using only your first finger.
Then do it again with the Bb as first finger and the other notes as second finger.
Then do it again using the Bb as first finger and the other notes as third finger. Yes, third finger.
Then do it again using the Bb as first finger and the other notes as fourth finger.
Good. You're a quarter of the way done. Now, use your second finger for the Bb and work your way through it again, cycling through each finger for the second note.
Then, use the third finger for the Bb -- that's right, your third finger -- and work your way through it again.
OK, now use your fourth finger for the Bb and go through it one more time.
Bear in mind that (as Daniel notes) this is the SHORT version. The real deal is a TWO octave scale. Don't slack, now.
Excellent. You have probably spent a good half-hour warming up, building intonation awareness, muscle-memory and finger strength. Your housemates, however, are ready to vomit.
Like so many other things, The Vomit is somewhat more enjoyable if done with friends.
Sam, do you do this with two bow strokes? One up one down? Or draw it all out in one bowstroke?
Bb -> C = one
C -> Bb = one
Wow...makes me want to vomit just looking at it. Sometimes I'm glad that I'm too busy renovating my old house to practice.
Okay, I'll try it. Sheesh.
The only difference I make than Sam in vomit is I start on A and do a major scale, rather than a chromatic scale on Bb, but that doesn't make any difference. Everyone has their own way of doing vomit just as long as the benefits stay consistant. Doing it chromatically allows one to practice on all notes but doing major scales or modes even can help with various patterns of notes.
Uh Dan, that's not a chromatic scale. It's a Bb major.
Gary Karr used Bb major instead of G Ab or A because he (and some others in the class) used solo tuning. If we "natural" folks were playing Bb major the soloistes could play Ab major and we were all happy.
Gary also used to harmonize one diatonic third above the class. The Merry Prankster himself . . .
It would be cool if someone did a quicktime vid of some of this stuff, just to see/hear it done right.
There's a cello site that has this very thing. The clips are short (coupla minutes), intended to sell a series of DVDs. Very useful nevertheless.
Sorry about that. I had it in my head that you were talking about chromatic scales even though it is clearly a Bb maj.
I sometimes do what I call the "reverse vomit". Start on the Bb just above the octave (let's call it Bb*), and, using Sam's notation:
Bb* -> Bb Bb -> Bb*
Bb* -> C C -> Bb*
Bb* -> D D -> Bb*
Also, I like doing these (both ways, up or down) once through with a Bb drone from my Dr Beat, then a second time ear only. Also, I sorta prefer chromatic but I doubt that makes much difference. Lastly, try them on lower strings. Even harder.
Although these exercises are certainly a great workout for intonation, ear, shifting and strength (not to mention killer callous builders), I studied for a while with a protégé of Karr's, and got the impression from her that he intended these as much as anything to be a bowing exercise. Not sure if this is in fact what he meant, maybe some Karr students hereabouts can add something. But I do find that when I do vomit exercises, it helps me feel more comfortable finding the right bow speed for each pitch and position, and more at ease changing bow speed and pressure through a shift to better articulate the portamento in various ways.
Somehow for me, when employing a bit of portamento in a shift, even if its practically inaudible, the bow can really help "pull" the left hand into the slot, and this exercise really helps that skill. Sorry if that sounds weird - somehow it makes sense to my hands and ears, even if I can't really explain it clearly.
Hey, Sam, thanks for the explanation of the exercise. Do you only play on a G string or the same applies to all other strings as well?
Vomit exercises rule, and Gary Karr is the man.
I'll lend a hand and say that typically the G string gets the work. I do the 2-octave version and try to do the entire cycle as much as possible...and that's pretty tough on me. I wouldn't suggest using a lower string, myself.
Wondering the same thing myself...
I've only done it on the G string -- vomit longa vita brevis. To be honest, I haven't done it in a long time.
Bullseye. Nicely said, as usual.
I think it starts out primarily as a bowing exercise, to get comfortable with making a good sound no matter where you are on the fingerboard...but it's also about getting the components for good shifting assembled, it's about good intonation and learning the fingerboard...it can even be about controlling dynamics...and the possibilities continue.
As a DB-NUBE, when I check out a Edgar Meyer or Francois Rabbath article or interview, there's always some mention of playing across the strings...that it's been a relevatory and revolutionary thing for the DB, to propel it forward into the realm of virtuosity like never before. Sure, not having to shift certainly facilitates playing notes faster than when one must shift...but both of these guys shift like crazy regardless, whether they use the bow or pizz... Why not embrace such lunacy for oneself as well?
I believe this thread spawned from another thread with a thumb pain topic. To get back to the original intent, my teacher suggested that I try to do the exercises with little or -if possible- no pressure from my thumb. I found that playing them thumbless forced me to balance the instrument and it fixed a strange dance habit I was getting into. It stopped me from trying squeeze the life out of the neck with my thumb and the thumb pain I was having stopped.
Oh yeah, the 2 octave version also helps one work through getting in and out of thumb position smoothly too...hurl on...
*edit: oh yeah, kwd, I remember now. Yeah, if I was feeling thumb pain in the lower positions, I'd say it's because I'm gripping the neck with the thumb and fingers. If that was my problem knowing what I know now, I'd maybe get lighter strings, park my rear on a stool and angle the bass towards me to make better use of the natural weight of my arm, get an angled endpin, learn to balance the bass vertically to relieve weight on the thumb while standing, or something. Of course, I'm still learning to play the bass too, and tension (especially from my shoulders and neck) is something I've been working on for a while now, to let my body relax and leverage gravity's pull as much as possible...and I feel I'm only now beginning to allow this, to trust it...
At any rate, if one must grip the neck to stop the string, one is then going to close the door on so many wonderful musical things - slow vibrato (rather than a nanny goat), effortless shifts, beautiful melodic lines that span the range of the fingerboard...it gets me tense again to think about it, LOL. But that's the good and bad of it - we all have our natural strengths when the call to make music reaches us, and then we have our weaknesses that we must work through with patience (probably my own biggest weakness, but at least I know that too).
Geez, I've got enough material to fill and entire TB forum on tension. It's my worst enemy. I have this bad habit of clenching my jaw when I make a shift. My teacher suggested I have someone videotape me. My son obliged. Holy cow! I'm a freak! So much wasted energy. I'm having to do my studies one note at a time to get past the jaw thing but at least I'm moving forward.
All of my problem is coming from tension.. I hate it.. I know im doing it yet cant stop!!! Argh!