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What dose it mean to pedal?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Gjbl, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Gjbl


    Nov 24, 2013
    I teach bass at guitar center
    "Pedal on the bass in D- for four measures" example:: not bass pedals

    For years and years I always thought pedal meant kind of a sustained note with maybe some rhythmic variation and praising. Someone at a gig today told me it was playing the five chord on 2 & 4 of the beat.

    Is this true? I so by the five chord dose that mean the 5th interval of the chord that the measure falls under?

    I should know this stuff but I just wanna be sure.
  2. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Pedaling the Dominant of the Key of Resolution. A good example would be to pedal the Dominant on the last four bars of Someday my Prince Will Come. If played in the real book key this would be a pedal for four bars on the note F. I think the rhythmic device you would use would depend on the situation, in the above, the tune is in 3/4, so using 2 & 4 wouldnt work. (but using a dotted quarter would be fantastic.)
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I know you said "not bass pedals", but that's actually where the term comes from, an organist holding down a single note on the foot pedals that would underpin the harmony that (generally) would shift over it. Look at a lot of baroque organ music.
    In a jazz context it doesn't necessarily imply using the dominant, it doesn't necessarily imply a specific rhythm. So you need to be aware of what a specific arrangement calls for (if someone calls FIRM ROOTS, they're pretty much going to play Cedar's arrangement of his own tune). If it's a tune that doesn't really have a "standard" arrangement, you can respond in pretty much whatever fashion your ear and musical aesthetic lead you.
  4. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    One way to think of an Ostinato is as a "rhythmic" Pedal Tone. A Pedal Tone, (as Edward has pointed out, previously), is named for the "pedals" on Pipe Organ - these pedals are played with the feet of the Organist and are used to play the lowest notes of the Organ. A Pedal Tone is usually a single, held low note, over which the harmony/chords occur.

    In a jazz setting, this device is explored with the addition of a rhythmic component added to the "Pedal Tone". This is usually used to create a harmonic and rhythmic "tension", which at some point is "released"- the bassist usually then chooses notes/rhythms more in line with the harmony and feel- ( see bars 9-16 and 25-etc). A thorough knowledge of the harmony will ensure that your "Pedals/Ostinatos" will make sense to the piano/guitar.

    It is also common to have an arrangement of a tune that utilizes a preconceived Ostinato - A great example is Miles Davis 1958 version of "On Green Dolphin Street", (below), where the arrangement is an Ostinato on Eb for the first 8 bars of the form, (the first A section), and on the second A of the form, as well- ( bars 17-24).
    (Here is the harmony that occurs both times over the Eb Pedal/Ostinato : Ebmaj7 / Ebmin7 / Fmaj / Emaj / Ebmaj7).

    Thanks for your time and interest.