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Author Topic: Chord progressions and bass lines  (Read 3131 times)

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Dick Rees

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2019, 12:18:24 AM »

Here's a link I often post when talk turns to how we play music.  Guitar great Jimmy Raney on concious vs subconcious participation:

https://youtu.be/f29a1RL2ly0
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2019, 02:53:20 AM »

Here's a link I often post when talk turns to how we play music.  Guitar great Jimmy Raney on concious vs subconcious participation:

https://youtu.be/f29a1RL2ly0

Thanks for that, very interesting thoughts. I liked his phrase "I don't really think anyone can think as fast as we play". Or, in my experience, we can think only about portions of what we are playing, like remembering that you want to use a certain variation this time round, etc. But while the mind is conscious of that we have to rely on the subconscious (or "muscle memory") to take care of dynamics, or the left hand rhythm, etc., on autopilot.

But to be honest I have rarely got to the enlightened zen state of musicianship that some of these folks talk about. I have sort of scraped at it at times, especially the year I was practicing blues guitar on a daily basis. In fact I found it a little disturbing for a rational guy like myself, to suddenly feel like I understood why the ancients spoke of the Muses. Have not quite got there yet on the melodeon but I keep working at it! (:)
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #42 on: April 07, 2019, 08:02:53 AM »

It's a fascinating subject - what is happening whilst you play.
Last year at a workshop Andy Cutting touched upon it. His best attempt at explaining what happens is that over time playing a tune he constructs a three dimensional memory map in his head. Once built he 'goes there' so that once entering it he plays the tune and will not make mistakes.
He found it difficult to explain, as do any of us when asked what we are thinking about or where do we 'go' when playing.

I am conscious of what my left hand is doing, not in a controlling way (thinking play C, play G etc) but almost 'looking at it moving from the sky'.
Sounds like I've sprinkled something on my muesli but that's what I'm aware of when playing!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Eshed

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #43 on: April 07, 2019, 08:16:44 AM »

I am conscious of what my left hand is doing, not in a controlling way (thinking play C, play G etc) but almost 'looking at it moving from the sky'.
I'm exactly the same!
I haven't a clue what notes I play with my RH (even when I play the right ones ;D), but the LH choices are semi-conscious.
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I'm playing all the wrong notes but not necessarily in the wrong order.

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #44 on: April 07, 2019, 08:26:50 AM »

How interesting!
Thank you for that. I have become aware of what's going on in my head when playing, and as odd as it sounds, that's the best description I can come up with.
I'm glad there's at least two of us like this  :|||:
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Eshed

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #45 on: April 07, 2019, 08:34:20 AM »

Oh, I forgot one thing! When I think "Play C", I actually mean "play the bass of the inner row key", or "play bottom left", because my brain thinks in GC layout regardless of the box I'm actually playing.
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I'm playing all the wrong notes but not necessarily in the wrong order.

Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #46 on: April 07, 2019, 08:44:00 AM »

This is scary.... I too don't think of the actual bass note/chord in musical terms but simply of my finger position and pattern in the 8 buttons.
Fascinating!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Eshed

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #47 on: April 07, 2019, 08:55:35 AM »

It seems I haven't explained myself well.
The words in my brain are "Play C" but I can be on any box, so it might not be C at all.
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I'm playing all the wrong notes but not necessarily in the wrong order.

playandteach

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #48 on: April 07, 2019, 10:06:36 AM »

Oh, I forgot one thing! When I think "Play C", I actually mean "play the bass of the inner row key", or "play bottom left", because my brain thinks in GC layout regardless of the box I'm actually playing.
I'm in no-man's land at the moment. In an attempt to get more DG oriented, I've put down the GC box. Some times it takes me a while to clear my head especially when an Am chord comes along, but I am making progress in thinking in DG. If they were entirely different keys it would be easier, but they have so many chords in common.
If I'm working at something to upload, then I do work everything out in advance.
I have to confess to being a bit stuck in a groove and I'm thinking of having some lessons. I quite fancy the playing of Paul Young, but he's a fair hike away.
I don't think I'm a Skype person.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #49 on: April 07, 2019, 10:14:08 AM »

Eshed, no I understand, and I think we both work in the same way.

P&t, I work things out first then try and learn the tune. If when learning a little tweak happens, such as preferred or easier  fingering then I'll go with the change.
I wish Paul was closer to me, I really like his playing.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Roger Howard

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #50 on: April 07, 2019, 10:41:38 AM »


I'm in no-man's land at the moment. In an attempt to get more DG oriented, I've put down the GC box.
I'm feeling much the same. I've just been on the Pariselle course at Halsway and come away with a lovely DG, which I'm trying to find my way round, at the same time as trying to take on board what Emmanuel said about chords and how important it is to achieve "automatism" - ie knowing just where which chord is and being able to go to it without thinking about it. Dreams ....

Roger
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #51 on: April 07, 2019, 11:00:17 AM »

I think we all aspire to 'automatism'.
One day...
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Winston Smith

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #52 on: April 07, 2019, 03:00:42 PM »

"I think we all aspire to 'automatism'."

I'm not sure that I quite agree with that, Q. I'm certainly aware that my fingers often move to the right buttons without any conscious direction (and sometime the wrong one!). However, to work automatically would (IMO) remove the "fun" aspect of playing, as well as the tension inherent (which could be either slight or serious) in the uncertainty of whether a bum note might be hit occasionally. 
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #53 on: April 07, 2019, 03:45:42 PM »

Well I think we can beg to differ.
To my mind, if your fingers become automatic, then it allows you to take it to the next level. Think about dynamic phrasing, how you want to play it at that moment in time, introduce light and dark, quiet or louder moments and really get into how you want to play it beyond playing all the notes in the right order.
....but others may well think differently!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Dick Rees

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #54 on: April 07, 2019, 04:09:04 PM »

Well I think we can beg to differ.
To my mind, if your fingers become automatic, then it allows you to take it to the next level. Think about dynamic phrasing, how you want to play it at that moment in time, introduce light and dark, quiet or louder moments and really get into how you want to play it beyond playing all the notes in the right order.
....but others may well think differently!
Q

I prefer being guided by my feelings rather than mentation.  Birds sing thoughtlessly...
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #55 on: April 07, 2019, 04:46:30 PM »

Yes, that's what I was thinking of.... go beyond the mechanics.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

george garside

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #56 on: April 08, 2019, 09:55:23 AM »

Well I think we can beg to differ.
To my mind, if your fingers become automatic, then it allows you to take it to the next level. Think about dynamic phrasing, how you want to play it at that moment in time, introduce light and dark, quiet or louder moments and really get into how you want to play it beyond playing all the notes in the right order.
....but others may well think differently!
Q

totally agree and would add that it is vital to have a feedback loop operating throughout the proceedings to enable small adjustments to be made -- in other words listen to what you are playing!

which is rather like the need to watch the feet of dancers you are playing for in which case you need two feedback loops in operation - a visual one and an audiological one!

george
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Julian S

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #57 on: April 08, 2019, 11:42:07 AM »

Much as I enjoy the whole gamut of possible variation in left hand playing, it's down my list of priorities when playing for dance. That could be my inherent limitations in skill I suppose - but I am sure I learned quite a bit from simply playing alongside JK during my years in Shropshire Bedlams. Not that I could ever emulate his fantastic skill. In my mind, dancers won't really notice clever chords but certainly will if speed, emphasis, phrasing is wrong.
 I think Andy Cuttings approach is interesting - building a 'memory palace' in playing maybe ? Talking to him I know how much time he puts into really working out how he wants to play the tune - options on fingering,  chords, dynamics etc - and a lot of focussed practice. Personally, I learn melodies quite easily, but all the rest is much harder to retain. I think I just need to spend more time on each tune - and maybe make notes and keep a diary as memory gets increasingly rusty.

J
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Anahata

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #58 on: April 08, 2019, 12:14:35 PM »

I know how much time [Andy Cutting] puts into really working out how he wants to play the tune - options on fingering,  chords, dynamics etc - and a lot of focussed practice.

Apparently, that approach doesn't mean you can't do stuff spontaneously. From all I've heard, Leveret don't make planned arrangements of their tunes, but improvise on the fly. Of course, spending time on the tune's harmony, phrasing, dynamics etc. does help with that - when you know a tune inside out, it's easier to play harmonies against it.
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Julian S

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Re: Chord progressions and bass lines
« Reply #59 on: April 08, 2019, 12:42:24 PM »

Yes Anahata -as you say knowing the tune inside out is fundamental. I reckon they probably each build up a 'toolbox' of options but every performance is likely to be different. Their workshop weekend at Halsway last year was fantastic and I'm sure will be a highspot for me this time as well.

J

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