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Re: 4 tips (Re: developping personal sound)

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Posted by ben ( Paris) on November 26, 2001 at 15:59:30:

In Reply to: Re: 4 tips (Re: developping personal sound) posted by Rich Laird on November 26, 2001 at 09:52:26:

thanks for your answer Rich.

: You're talking about a "personal sound" which, by definition, is not something you can get from a few exercises or tips.

Maybe I should have called it exercises for developping awareness and consciousness of sound and the sounds' colour. Forget about "personal", just exercise to work on the colour of sound emission

I believe that some exercise have made me more sound conscious, exercises such as playing in the dark and really focusing on the sound projected.

Also trying different degrees of left hand pressure on the strings.

Bowed notes of course. Playing in front of a sound reverberating surface.

Working on dynamics, and sound quality in the extremes. Stuff like that.

>It seems like you realize that and that you're aware of the things that go >into a really good "sound" - whatever that may be. It also seems like you >realize it's an ongoing process of continuous study and refinement. The best >recommendation I can offer is to explore all possibilities and enjoy the >adventure as much as you can.

I will don't worry. It's just that when you've been focusing on, to simplify things, having things to say, saying them properly and expressing yourself in a meaningful way, you feel like going back to the first thing that reaches us when we hear music, the sound quality.

I'm begining to think that the key is really awareness and practice, practice without loosing track that aspect, when playing anything.

It's just that the whole "each note you play must be the most beautiful note in the world to you" aspect of things is really difficult.

: You've gotten a couple of good suggestions already...practicing long-tones with the bow is certainly tried-and-true - and not to be neglected!

I also liked Don's idea of spending time on playing things that you've already learned in order to build better sound into notes you can already play.

I'm working on Bach cello suites, slowly... It's the hardest thing I've played, not technically.

: Maybe it's because I studied classical playing a lot myself, but I agree that it can do a lot for your jazz-playing. You learn things like how the best "tone" in the world is just crap if it's not in-tune...

I find some of Charlie Haden's out of tune solos very touching and incredibly musical though.

and how really fine intonation and articulation are part of what goes into a good "sound". You can't separate them. The more I learn about good music-making, the more I realize that the musical idiom or style doesn't make that much difference.

: I noticed somewhere along the line that when I listen to really good-sounding jazz players, a lot of what seems to come across really well relates to what classical players call "phrasing" and "articulation" as much as "tone".

IMHO, whether your sound is fat, focused, bright, dark, doesn't matter all that much. What really "sounds" good is when you use the quality and variety of sound you've developed in the practice room to shape and connect notes into expressive musical ideas.

True. Everything's linked. But I have shivered upon the mere sound of certain players ( including when the actual result wasn't very effective or musical actually...) and that makes you think about sound, or tone. When you hear a single note, say a pizzed C, repeated at a very slow tempo, and the note just comes to life and dies with such colour that it's a story in itself, it makes you wonder.

To me, notes don't typically have a "life of their own" but a good solo, bass line, or even a little riff certainly can.

To me notes certainly do. To use an image, the note's sound, or tone, is the voice. The pitch is a word, or idea. The solo, riff, line, phrase, is speech.

Your musical voice is a combination of the three, a sound ( a the way it's issued, shouting, crying, whispering, ironic) , an idea, and their combination.

Some people do leave you breathless by the sheer sound of their voice.

Some by what they're saying and or the way they're saying it.

Of course, I believe that the idea, the meaning is what is primordial, but the rest it what first catches your ear, or doesn't.

: You talked about the "wider sound palette". It may sound a little corny but let's take the analogy a step further: A great artist can use his palette to mix interesting and beautiful colors. But the real artistry comes in putting them together to create something with thematic and emotional meaning.

I definetly agree. But it's just that I feel that I only have a few not clearly defined colours which tend to blend into a sort of murky brownish thing. Oh it's visible, and works.I'm sure that I can create masterpieces with this stuff, but I long for the shiny yellow and the deep blue :)

: Hope that helps.

yes !

thanks a lot for your answer Rich.

have a wonderful day


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