Saturday 22 June 2024

What's happening June 2024

I finished my arrangement of "It feels like we only go Backwards", I have played it through many times, several people have heard it, vaguely recognised it but couldn't tell me what it was. I count that as a win! It is a good arrangement in that it has a few challenging parts. The bass has a prominent "one and ... three and", so funk style, and I'm not used to playing a bassline like that. It took me a while to get that under my fingers - although I didn't take it too far - in the places where the melody is complex I drop the "ands".

However it is good to push out of your comfort zone with your arrangements - it helps you develop skills that you can then use elsewhere. It's pretty easy for me to play everything in my default style, which is the drum equivalent of kick-hat-snare-hat, which translates to bass note-mid note-mid chord fragment flick-mid note...adding in any melody notes on top as required. If you can get all the variations of bass rhythms locked into your brain to naturally occur then you have a pathway to great sounding arrangements. I have said it before but I'll say it again - Travis picking a song sounds great...for the first song...but not for every song! (I recognise my  hypocrisy here - I play too many songs with a chord flick on beats 2 and 4...Kel Valleau did it for years and then suddenly stopped...maybe I take a leaf out of his book?)

I've also said before that I wish I had played more bass as a kid. With apologies to my classical brothers and sisters, but the bass rhythms you find in classical music don't have the groove of the bass rhythms in rock and pop. It's only been in the last decade or so that I have come to discover the wonders of bass groove and how it glues a song together.

It's all about musical growth.

Speaking of which I turned my attention to a song I have had on my back list for arrangement for a long time, "Don't Dream it's Over" by Crowded House, which is claimed by both Australia and New Zealand as their own. It too has musically challenging parts that don't fit with my default. There are prominent chords and melody accents on "1-ah", as in "1-ee-and-ah", being the 4th sixteenth note in a bar.  This really clashes with my desire to hit the snare on beat 2, one sixteenth beat later. I've found a compromise where I can hit the prominent chord and still feel the off beat 2 and 4 groove.

There's also some great melodic choices - after digging into it I found all sorts of interesting treasures - for instance the chorus "hey now hey now" the chorus are G-A, but the melody is E-B-F#-B, so you end up with unusual chord fingering of the quite haunting chords of G6-A6sus2.

It's all about musical growth.

(I highly recommend oolimo for analysing the chords you are thinking about.)