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Walking over one chord for a long time

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by SuperDuck, Jul 2, 2005.


  1. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    I played a wedding today, and the guitarist pulls out "Moodance" (a Van Morrison tune?). The song has a very simple structure, and basically involves me walking over Am for the entire verse, which come two at a time.

    It was hard! During the chorus, which alternates between Dm and Am, I at least had some targets to go between, but with the verses I felt like I was going in circles and playing the same pattern over and over and over and over...

    What can I do in the kind of situation? My walking skills aren't too terribly strong, but I can get through most charts that get handed to me. But going over Am for such a long time made everything come out like an Am scale.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. metalguy2

    metalguy2

    Dec 26, 2004
    Boston
    Well then add semitones if your getting bored. :D
     
  3. Lowtonejoe

    Lowtonejoe Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Richland, WA
    Van Morrison kicks butt!

    Now back to the program...

    Walk melodically.

    Seriously, emphasize elements of the melody into your walk and think like a singer. I guess that also means return to the tonic alot in shorter phrases. Don't worry about repeating yourself.

    I hope that's clearer than mud.

    It works for me anyway.

    :D

    Joe.
     
  4. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Modal Mapping?

    Tunes like "So What" & "Impressions"...listen to both a lot & 'steal' what you hear from the various versions/bassists on these two classics & make them into something you can call yer own.

    Sometimes, 'breaking up' or changing the feel works.
    Example: "So What" & "Impressions" have an AABA form.
    Sometimes, during the "B" section, I may leave the swing feel(1/4 notes) & go with a Latin-ish feel(Root-5ths-octave-9ths...maybe even b9ths & b5ths).
     
  5. Classical_Thump

    Classical_Thump

    Jan 26, 2005
    Yea I sometimes fumble around with this area too, and my best answer to it has been modal walking. I will possibly begin walking over an Am just like in a normal chart, then transition to an A Dorian, Mixolydian, or whatever applies. This gives you more "room" to walk. Perhaps also try to throw in some chords; it is much easier to experiment chordally at first when there are fewer chord changes.
     
  6. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    Listen to the song, listen to the bassline. We are playing Moondance at the Montreal Jazzfest, and I already had to perform it. What I do is just copy the first two bars of walking from the original recording and then improvise for the rest. I like to use the Fnat.(aeolian) instead of the F#(dorian) for some reason. I find that it sounds better. But generally when walking over one chord for a long time, just make sure to get back to that root note once in a while, and on the 1st beat of a bar. In moondance you can play the E(P5) on the 4th beat of that same bar you play the A on the first beat.
     
  7. groove100

    groove100

    Jan 22, 2005
    VA.
    you can also add rhythmic embelishments to your lines, you can add chromaticsm which will definitely add flavor to the bass line. and if you think of you line as one huge melodic song underlying the true melody of the song, it will sound great.

    just to add.
    all these things i guess, are preety easy to learn but when to use it is the real challenge.

    markus huber
     
  8. abaguer

    abaguer

    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    You can spread the line out over four bars using the fifth as a stopping off point (you can play the fifth on first beat of second bar and continue walking upwards or downdards. You can also substitute II-Vs (B-7b5 to E7 if tune is in Am) in your line to give it more chordal movement. These are simple ways to spice up the line and you can take it as far as you want but remember to play for the ensemble when doing this so everyone knows where they are. Good luck. :)
     
  9. I've heard a lot of great jazz bassists who will actually just start playing chromatically or almost out of key, but what I find is that it's really about rhythm and time feel and less about notes. Of course, you're not going to want to be caught walking bass like that during a nice ballad. :)
     
  10. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    I'll have to dig out my copy of "So What", but that just goes from, what, Eb to Db for the whole song? Or something like that?

    Jazzin'- Yeah, I thought that the bass player played a repeating riff over the verse and walked the chorus - I haven't heard the tune in a while.

    For those talking about working in modes - is it better just to start on the V or the ii? During the tune I tried starting a measure on a few different chord tones and some of them just didn't seem to work. Then again, I rarely know what I'm doing/talking about.

    re: chromatic tones - I was talking to my guitarist about this and he said to try using chromatic notes as approach notes to chord tones. All good ideas. I'll get this licked yet.

    Thanks for all of the replies so far. :)
     
  11. groove100

    groove100

    Jan 22, 2005
    VA.
    For those talking about working in modes - is it better just to start on the V or the ii? During the tune I tried starting a measure on a few different chord tones and some of them just didn't seem to work. Then again, I rarely know what I'm doing/talking about.

    it depends if a chord has a 9 quality in it, yes you can start a dorian or even a whole-half diminished scale. but i would suggest to start at a strong tone such as 1, 3, 5. 7 is a tricky tone. listen to what the chord instrument is doing (piano, guitar).




    re: chromatic tones - I was talking to my guitarist about this and he said to try using chromatic notes as approach notes to chord tones. All good ideas. I'll get this licked yet.

    Use the chromatic tone on the weak beats such as 2 and 4 beats, and use the strong ones on 1 and 3. on a 4/4 tune, 1 and 3 are the strong beats.

    try to arrpegiate as much and use the none chord tones or chormatic approach tones on weak beats.

    and of course there are a lot more to add like, contour of the line, switching to high sounding notes.
     
  12. Staying in A Aeolian would get downright mundane. As was mentioned earlier, the solution is intertwining all modes of Am. A Aeolian, A Dorian, A Phrygian, a bar or two of Am Pent., and when you think noone is paying attention to you...grab their attention with an A Locrian or a half diminished! :p

    And whatever you do...DON'T stay in one register.
     
  13. Try inversions - start on different notes of whatever line you were playing.
     
  14. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    "So What & "Impressions" are both AABA-

    (A) = lD x 8 barsl
    (A) = lD x 8 barsl
    (B) = lEb x 8 barsl
    (A) = lD x 8 barsl

    So, look at the very last "A" section which leads into the 1st & then the 2nd "A" section; that's 8 x 3 = 24 bars of Walking in D Dorian.
     
  15. groove100

    groove100

    Jan 22, 2005
    VA.
    coltrane is a genius