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What does 'hornlike phrasing' means?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by kiwlm, Jun 14, 2004.


  1. On Jaco's debut album:
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    his solo on 'donna lee', beyond being astounding for just the fact that it was played with a hornlike phrasing that was previously unknown to the bass guitar is even more notable for being one of the freshest looks at how to play on a...
    -----

    Is it a particular set of chord changes that are commonly used by horn composers? If so what are them? Would it help in transcribing songs?
     
  2. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Hornlike phrasing indicates that there is a breathing like quality to it. You can solo endlessly on bass without taking a breath, but wind players generally have to breathe every once in a while.
     
  3. So does it means that one phrase is around 3-4 bars and then there's a short pause for the horn player (horner? hornist?) to breathe?

    But does that makes it easier to play on a bass? Coz I thought its quoted as if 'hornlike phrasing' are harder to play on the bass.
     
  4. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Listen to his lines in Donna Lee. You should be able to hear "phrases", which are short (usually 2 or 4 bar) musical statements that make up a melody or part of a song. His "licks" all feel like they have a definitive beginning and end, and that is an important aspect of phrasing.

    Listen to the dynamics of the lines. There is a swell and decay to each phrase, which imitates the breath of a horn player.

    The lines are not endless shredding, or non stop notes. The notes have important dynamic and articulate nuances and inflections, combined with space and silence, to give it that hornlike quality.
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Nick has given you the perfect answer to the first question you asked - but on the second part - this is a classic Bebop tune and horn players, I know, do seem to like these - and there are definitely keys that horn players favour!! ;)

    What might help you on the transcribing is that bebop tunes are typically 32 bars, AABA - so you have 8 bars, which is repeated with slight variation - then 8 bar bridge where it changes key - then the first 8 bars again - again probably with slight variation.

    Donna Lee is a probably not a good example, as it is slightly different - but it was based on the chord sequence for a standard.
     
  6. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Some horn players don't even take a breath(circular breathing). ;)


    ...what makes it 'hard'(difficult) on the bass is the intervals, i.e.-
    You might hear a lot of upper register flurries counterd by something in the lower register(or vise-versa). You may also encounter a lot of string skipping & 'odd' fingering required to play something 'horn-like'.
    Face it, some intervals/phrases are easier to play on a sax vs. a bass.

    And what Nick said.
     
  7. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Oh, horn players hate any key with more than 1 sharp or more than 4 flats. After that, it just gets confusing.

    Never ask a horn player to play in B...

    And yes, it is very difficult to make hornlike phrasing work well on bass. Walking bass doesn't require it, neither does rock, jazz, or any other form of bassline. It is a skill outside the realm of normal bass playing that takes a lot of development and practice.

    To be honest, the only time I have heard circular breathing used well is in didjeridu playing. Other than that, I have never seen it serve any musical purpose. Kenny G does it, but as I said, I've never seen it serve any musical purpose ;) :D

    It is important to think of hornlike phrasing not in terms of breaths, but in terms of the differences of dynamics, and a musical use of silence and pauses. Its not the notes you play so much as it is the notes you don't.
     
  8. DaveBeny

    DaveBeny

    Mar 22, 2000
    London, UK
    Saw Evan Parker do this a couple of years ago now. Amazing thing to watch.
     
  9. Funkize you

    Funkize you Guest

    Nov 4, 2003
    Westminster Ca.
    My old Flute teacher could play Flight of the Bumble bee withought taking a breath, the Song was roughly 1:25 Second's (or so)... Some Horn Players can just go awhile withought breathing... I can play almost one Min. on my flute withough breathing... Its pretty hard, and if you dont keep practicing THAT you will lose the ability, I can probably only pull 30 seconds or less now :crying:


    OHH NO, MY FLUTE CHOPS!

    I havent played my flute in about 7 Months Now :rollno: :rollno: :rollno:
     
  10. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I have a huge lung capacity from playing the tuba, and I still practice that daily. Combined with the circular breathing abilities that I have learned from playing my didjeridu, I can play for a loooooong time. Circular breathing is an impressive skill, but in the end, there are very few times that it is actually needed. Mostly it is used for the wow factor.
     
  11. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    So you can pull off some Rocco/"What Is Hip" lines on yer tuba?
    ;)

    I just finished reading Paul Bley's semi-autobiographical book...darn, he was talking about _______ doing circular breathing on his horn WHILE carrying on a conversation. Was it John Gilmore?
     
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There's a great UK-based Tuba player called Oren Marshall, who was teaching on the Jazz Summerschool I attend regularly and I heard him do all kinds of stuff - but I think I was most impressed by his bass lines to a Stevie Wonder tune - it was like funky synth bass - but even funkier as the tone was changing in real time and shaped to fit the tune. I was wondering at the time why there isn't more of this - but I suppose the answer is that it must require phenomenal breath control to play continuous 16th note funk bass lines!! :eek:
     
  13. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I used to play tuba and your description impressed me. I remember that I could swim reeeeeeeeeeally long distances underwater, compared to everyone I knew. Tuba will give you wonder-lungs. But trying to do a 16th-note funk part at anything but slow tempos sounds scary to me.
     
  14. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I know what circular breathing is, but I don't understand how it is possible. Can someone explain?
     
  15. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    When your lungs are close to empty, puff out your cheeks. Once your cheeks are full, close off your throat at the back of your mouth. At that point, constrict your cheeks and "exhale" by deflating your cheeks like a balloon. As you are doing that balloon action, inhale through your nose. Right before your cheeks empty out, reopen your throat and exhale from your lungs. When your lungs are close to empty...
     
  16. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Was it a bass tuba or contrabass tuba? If it was a contrabass tuba, then wow, thats amazing. If it is a bass tuba, then he cheated ;)
     
  17. Just like the concept of bagpipe??
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Oren Marshall plays a custom-made Tuba that is huge, but sits on the floor,on something like a DB endpin, with the bell pointing forwards - difficult to explain!! (EDIT See photos below) I asked him about the range and he said it went down below the extremes of the grand piano - i.e. way below my 5 string bass!! :eek:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Sonorous

    Sonorous

    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Wow.
     
  20. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Exactly, thats a great way to think of it.


    Bruce, I don't know what in the heck that is, but I WANT ONE :hyper: :D