Saturday, May 7, 2011

Articulation/Duration: Music Element #3: A Lesson by Victor Wooten

I opened my eyes and noticed Michael staring at me. Stopping the music, he asked me a strange quation. "You ever read Horton Hears a Who?"

I didn't know what that had to do with anything (particularly music), but understanding that Michael had his own way of teaching, I answered him, "Of course I have, Dr. Suess."

"Do you remember what that poor elephant found on the little speck of dust?"
"There was a whole civilization living on it," I answered.

"Exactly!" he said. point at me. "Notes are the same. If you listen closely, you can find a whole universe living in each one. Notes are alive, and like you and me, they need to breathe. The song will dictate how much air is needed. There is no rule hard and fast, but usually, the sharper the attack, the shorter the sustain. The vice versa is also true."

"Now here's what I want you to do this time. Breathe with the Music. Listen to the song one more time and take a breath with each note as the bass player plays. It will help you understand what I am talking about. After that, I want you to play along with the song, breathing with your own bass notes. If you change the length of your notes, you also much change the length of your breath. Do that and pay attention to what it does to you and to Music."

"Breath with the Music? What did he mean by that," I thought. "Once I did as he'd suggested, things started to change. Breathing with the music caused me to hear it and feel it in a way I never had before. I could actually feel the notes mixing with my heartbeat. It was like meditation."

**After reading this excerpt, I realized that I rarely let my notes ring. My approach to music has always been to attack fast and sharp. From now on I will try to control my breathing when I play and see if it effects my playing. I will also try to let my notes have more breathing room. I think David Gilmour of Pink Floyd could teach me a lot about this concept.**

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