Ken's Corner (Bass Forums Sponsored By KSB)

Go Back   Ken's Corner (Bass Forums Sponsored By KSB) > Double Basses > Music [DB] > General Double Bass Music and Playing

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 02-08-2013, 06:27 PM
Joshua Phelps's Avatar
Joshua Phelps Joshua Phelps is offline
Posting Member
 
Join Date: 09-16-2012
Location: m
Posts: 76
Joshua Phelps is on a distinguished road
Default Difficult Pieces?

Perfect Rhythm Has always been difficult for me like alot of others but is it strange that i Learn & play things like the Capuzzi Concerto with relative ease & Straight Orchestral Pieces Like "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" by Mozart are very Difficult for Me? I think my internal Meter is Broken.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-09-2013, 01:27 PM
Jeff Schwartz Jeff Schwartz is offline
Junior Posting Member
 
Join Date: 02-08-2007
Location: Culver City, CA
Posts: 13
Jeff Schwartz is on a distinguished road
Default

A couple of ideas:

For me time problems are often technique problems, i.e. I'm messing up the rhythm because I'm spending too long on a shift, bow change, etc.

A practice technique I hear about mostly in jazz but which you can apply to anything is reducing the number of metronome clicks, so you're playing something in 1 at mm=40 instead of in 4 at mm=160, for example. This forces you to count and subdivide, always a good thing...
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-09-2013, 04:10 PM
Ken Smith's Avatar
Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
Bassist, Luthier & Admin
 
Join Date: 01-18-2007
Location: Perkasie, PA
Posts: 4,689
Ken Smith is on a distinguished road
Lightbulb practicing..

The way I get thru learning hard passages is to find a tempo that I can play it at or almost play it. Then I work at that tempo till I can play it several times over, 3 or 4 minimum, without a mistake. Then, I raise the tempo a notch or two at a time, same rules, 3-4 minimum times in succession without erring. If I make a mistake, the count starts again until I can play it 3-4 times or more.

Last week in one orchestra we did Mozart 36. The 1st movement has a few fast parts in it and each time, the note patterns are slightly different. Like scales and thirds thrown in a blender and poured out a different way each time. The tempo the conductor sent out in his notes a few weeks before the first rehearsal was quite brisk. We get the music in the mail about a month in advance at most, then rehearse Mon, Thurs and Fri., and play the concert on Sat., 4 services in total for this job. Prior to getting the music, I printed out my own copy from a disc of bass parts I have and played along with the Vienna Phil., U-tube recording, two different period recordings.

Each time I play along, I note in my head the areas I miss notes in for what ever reason. Then, I might stop the recording or continue it but, marking that tempo, I practice it till I think I am ready and then try again until, I can play along without a mistake. I also do this with several basses that I have here to make sure I actually KNOW the passages rather than just getting lucky.

Last week practicing with another Orchestra that's doing Mahler 4 and Mozart Con.mass, I brought a LARGE bass just to 'take it out for a walk' and found that in passages I worked on, I could play it despite playing a 4/4 body from a 3/4 the week before.

I also take the tempo up past the required speed when practicing to make sure that I have it under my fingers and again, not just getting lucky a few times through. Another thing I heard on a Hal Robinson video was to use ONE fingering and never change it. Play it the same every time. I did that on the Mozart fingering and then tried it on other basses and found that on some basses and some tempos, another fingering for some of the notes was easier. So, a few days before the job, I changed my fingering for that part and re-learned it. If the tempo had been faster, I might have used the first fingering with more string crossings than shifts. This is something you need to figure out for yourself or with a teacher that will know what you can do better and/or easier.

Several years ago I did Beeth. 5th and used one fingering for the concert on a particular passage only to learn a better way a week after the performance.

Practice carefully like your job depends on it and you will improve.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-09-2013, 04:50 PM
Joshua Phelps's Avatar
Joshua Phelps Joshua Phelps is offline
Posting Member
 
Join Date: 09-16-2012
Location: m
Posts: 76
Joshua Phelps is on a distinguished road
Default Thanks guys

That make a lot of sense, thanks guys. Ken, my best (& most talented) teacher I ever had used that same rule of repeating a certain number of times to ensure you have it & that has always helped rather than just thinking it will be better the next time around. I always slow the click way down & make sure all my subdivisions are correct & perfect before trying to go closer to the proper tempo. I guess sometimes I forget even the greats probably learn new pieces this way as well. You hear the term sight reading a lot & I tend to think just because you can't walk in cold & play perfectly the first time through on piece you've never seen that you aren't a good sight reader but I guess sight reading that way is for more James Jameson type electric bass stuff & not music with 4 key changes, dynamics everywhere, crazy Bowings, lots of shifts & a fast meter all on a instrument that requires intonation.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:53 AM
Thomas Erickson's Avatar
Thomas Erickson Thomas Erickson is offline
Senior Posting Member
 
Join Date: 05-23-2010
Location: Pacific NW USA
Posts: 309
Thomas Erickson is on a distinguished road
Default

I know a lot of people like to listen to recordings or even play along with them, and clearly that can be a useful tool, but I think that it can also be a crutch or a hinderance. I actually like to approach things without any interpretation or context already in my head when possible. I use a metronome and try not to slow it down too much - I think it's easy to get fixated and distracted playing tougher passages at painfully slow tempos and lose the continuity altogether. For me, looking at my parts like this creates a dry understanding going into a rehearsal, so that when they're put into a musical context things are much easier and I can focus the business of paying attention to the ensemble and playing well, and not just proficiently.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-12-2013, 09:54 AM
Ken Smith's Avatar
Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
Bassist, Luthier & Admin
 
Join Date: 01-18-2007
Location: Perkasie, PA
Posts: 4,689
Ken Smith is on a distinguished road
Exclamation w/recordings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Erickson View Post
I know a lot of people like to listen to recordings or even play along with them, and clearly that can be a useful tool, but I think that it can also be a crutch or a hinderance. I actually like to approach things without any interpretation or context already in my head when possible. I use a metronome and try not to slow it down too much - I think it's easy to get fixated and distracted playing tougher passages at painfully slow tempos and lose the continuity altogether. For me, looking at my parts like this creates a dry understanding going into a rehearsal, so that when they're put into a musical context things are much easier and I can focus the business of paying attention to the ensemble and playing well, and not just proficiently.
When you walk into the first rehearsal after practicing 'without' having done it with a recording, you might get knocked of the stage when you hear what else is being played around you. Not to mention getting lost as well. Using a recording is the closest thing to having played it before. With section work, the more the merrier. It is not about being an individual here, it is about playing good in a section. Different ball game!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-12-2013, 01:15 PM
Thomas Erickson's Avatar
Thomas Erickson Thomas Erickson is offline
Senior Posting Member
 
Join Date: 05-23-2010
Location: Pacific NW USA
Posts: 309
Thomas Erickson is on a distinguished road
Default

It's about playing well in your section, in your orchestra. That's not something that can be learned from a recording. Relying on someone else's recording to teach you how something should be played or what might be expected at your next rehearsal isn't a great idea - the whole point of playing music is that there's always going to be a a different interpretation, a different approach, etc. So when you don't know what you might encounter, why not approach it from an "unbiased" point until you know the specifics of your job?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-12-2013, 02:05 PM
Ken Smith's Avatar
Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
Bassist, Luthier & Admin
 
Join Date: 01-18-2007
Location: Perkasie, PA
Posts: 4,689
Ken Smith is on a distinguished road
Default lol..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Erickson View Post
It's about playing well in your section, in your orchestra. That's not something that can be learned from a recording. Relying on someone else's recording to teach you how something should be played or what might be expected at your next rehearsal isn't a great idea - the whole point of playing music is that there's always going to be a a different interpretation, a different approach, etc. So when you don't know what you might encounter, why not approach it from an "unbiased" point until you know the specifics of your job?
This is getting funny, unless you're being serious. Then I have to tell you that the more times you play it with ANY Recording, helps you to play it in ANY Orchestra. In the last year, I worked with 5 different Orchestras that I can remember. A 6th I had to turn down a job because I was booked already. I have played some of the same pieces with different Orchestras and having played it before with ANY Orchestra (or recording) is better then just playing it at home with a metronome. Do as you like Tom. I am only sharing my actual experiences here, and not just making opinions.

That's all I have to say about that,.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-16-2013, 05:54 AM
Thomas Erickson's Avatar
Thomas Erickson Thomas Erickson is offline
Senior Posting Member
 
Join Date: 05-23-2010
Location: Pacific NW USA
Posts: 309
Thomas Erickson is on a distinguished road
Default

I'm not saying a musician shouldn't listen to recordings. Obviously they're a very useful tool. But that's all they are - a tool. Like any other special tool it's easy to become dependent, when it really should just be an accessory to your basic set of wrenches. Doesn't matter if you're a mechanic or a bassist - it's a quick fix, a gimmick. Not that it doesn't have a place - just doesn't change what it is.

Of course I don't get as many uber pro gigs as Ken, so feel free to laugh at my comments...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-05-2013, 08:57 AM
Jeremy Darrow Jeremy Darrow is offline
Junior Posting Member
 
Join Date: 12-28-2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 27
Jeremy Darrow is on a distinguished road
Default Obstinato

On the topic of learning to play a difficult piece. There is a great little documentary called "Obstinato", which accompanies the Edger Meyer and Bela Fleck live CD "Music for Two". The film follows them, on the road mostly, as they practice and rehearse a new piece of Edgar's called "Cannon", hoping to have it ready to record on the tour, and thus make it onto the album.

They struggle with the music, one section in particular, and get testy and a little passive-aggressive with each other. It's incredible to see two of the best musicians on the planet struggling to get something right, and struggling a bit with each other during the process. I highly recommend the CD and the documentary.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:38 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2007 - Ken Smith Basses, LTD. (All Rights Reserved)