Wed Mar 19th, 2008 at 08:27:21 AM EST
Music is a personal business. What I like, you hate (maybe); and vice versa. Finding a person who has the same tastes as you is rare; but the more I open my ears the more I hear the same kinds of things happening across musical styles; the more my ears are emancipated from their tribal affiliations the more they start to hear what's going on...
But what about a person who has never listened to music before? They don't hold tribal affiliations, but also they don't know what everyone is talking about. Music?
Also, in my experience a lot of people's ears have been blunted to music through the constant background tunes that are used to (I suggest) hide the not-so-pleasant noises of modern life.
This is my attempt to build music up again from its elements, the first of which would be rhythm, but I want to leave that for now and start with musical sounds (pitches) that we can recognise but maybe haven't paid attention to recently.
Heh! A journey into sound, as Eric B & Rakim said.
Part One -- Bass, Played on Strings
The bass strings are thick. They make the deep notes, low down the requency range. Also, not so low down.
The Bass -- On Its Own (Bass Solo)
Victor Wooten - Norwegian Wood
What rock bassists are doing while the rest of the band make a racket:
John Entwistle isolated bass
Why not make a bass out of cardboard?
Cardboard Upright Bass
Not all bass playing involves using your fingers
(for those fascinated by the technical aspects of playing music)
Andrew Anderson Teaches the Double Bass - Part 4
So that's the sound of a bass
You can play bass solo, but most of the time it entwines with the drums.
More virtuoso playing--a good example of how the drums and the bass work together:
Carter Beauford and Victor Wooten - drum bass solo
(Credits roll for a bit as this is the end of a longer film; the music continues through them and after)
Here's the RAWK! version:
Flea & Chad Smith Bass & Drum Solo
Right. Space is the place! The rockers like to fill the space with super-fast energy; others like to leave lots of space--
Adding an instrument over the top
You've heard the bass, heard how it works with drums to create the structure. Most music adds a higher-tone instrument on top, to create balance and to give the bass a chance to play counterpoint
A lot of jazz uses this technique (the jazz trio.) Here are a couple of examples.
Bass, Drums, & Sax:
Weaver of Dreams Rollins Sonny 1959
Bass, Drums, & Guitar:
(turn this one up a bit)
Trios are great for picking out the individual instrument--and for picking out individual notes, but most people want songs. So get one of the trio to sing--or add a singer and...add some extra instuments, add some backing singers, and you get...
Listen for the bass in each track
billie holiday - lady sings the blues
Try A Little Tenderness Live- Otis Redding
Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Chile live
Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
p-funk "Tear the Roof Off"
(The end of) Punk:
PIL - Public Image
We Are Family - Sister Sledge
I could keep going, but that's a lot of music, maybe forty minutes or more. I'm wondering if ET readers and commenters have the time/patience/interest to click and watch, so this diary is a test run.
This would be a once-a-week feature (more or less!); the idea is that you can all add examples relevant to the topic (this week it's The Bass.)
My suggestion: just the one video per comment, maybe with some text saying what the listener should be looking out for. Text isn't necessary, though, if the music makes its point (the beauty of music--you don't need to explain it---er....well, not always.)
I concentrated on stringed bass, but there are lots of other instruments that produce bass frequencies (didgeridoo; toned drums; the bottom end of a piano; all kinds of synthesised sounds; then there's the human voice--the human voice!
A whole other diary subject.