Scales-facts & nonsense


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Posted by Pat Harrington on August 30, 2000 at 17:33:07:


There's been a lot of discussion about scales lately on several
web-boards as to their educational value, seems they've gotten a
bad rap...Well, scales in and of themselves are probably not good
things to dwell on, but they are and always be a integral part
of music. A few months ago I got FLAMED by a well known bassist
and some others because I made the statement "Some bassists should
probably not be soloing" I made that comment after hearing an upright
bassist play a technically good solo that wasn't musical..Solos
made up primarily of scalar runs are a boring waste of time, IMHO..
Scales are a good way to develop what I call "relative pitch", that
is, being able to instantly recogize intervals, allowing you to
be able to pick up chord changes very quickly..If you develop
this "relative pitch" you'll be able to learn songs without
even having your bass in your hands. A lot of the work I'm doing
lately is freelance, I get $100 a gig,& many of the songs I'm not
familiar with. Charts are not always available, so it's imperative
to be able to cop the vibe and structure of the song very quickly,
maybe one or two passes at the most. Scales are more of just a
device to develop your ear, not a universal tool to compose bass
parts or solos. My time is better spent with chord construction,
melody, harmony, reading, and listening to as much music and
as many players as possible. I would also advise all the bass
players out there to learn guitar, which further develops an
understanding of chords and harmony; it can only help..
ALSO....Keep those ears WIDE OPEN...Don't fall victim to becoming
a musical snob...Listen to as much as you can, all styles, everything,
anything, horn players, keyboard players, vocalists, percussionists
of every variety...I devour music like a pig in a corn field. The
only way to stay active making music and getting paid is to be able
to adapt to the changing musical landscape. Becoming proficient
at anything is like building a house; lay down a solid foundation,
and keep adding brick by brick, this is done in music by CONSTANTLY
learning...When we close our ears, we stagnate, falter, and become
intellectually lazy...

Rock on..
Cheers,
Pat H






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