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J.S Bach – Cello Suite No. III, Bourree 1

[wpvideo Vdz6Yzpv]
I am most certainly not a classical musician (maybe the electric bass is a giveaway), but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy classical music. I learnt this very short piece as part of an experiment in my practice routine. I recorded the piece a couple of times (this was the best take, but far from perfect). The first thing I noticed, apart from the fact that the electric bass doesn’t sound nearly as expressive as a cello was that my timing lagged during the busier sections. My tendency is to rush during busier sections, so perhaps this was my sub-conscious trying to make up for it. The second thing I realised was how sloppy my playing can be!!! Music like this requires precision of execution. Because of this, pieces like this are wonderful for practicing left hand technique, position shifts etc.
I would encourage every bass player to learn a couple of classical pieces. They don’t have to be difficult (the piece played here is quite simple in the scheme of things). There are so many beautiful pieces of music out there which can be wonderfully informative at the same time.
Here is how a master does it:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuD3gFGETEE&noredirect=1]

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Steve Swallow solo transcription

Here is a transcription of Steve Swallow’s solo on “Someone To Watch Over Me” recorded live with the John Scofield Trio recorded in 2010
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXGpNOW6bU0]
Click on this link Someone To Watch Over Me for my written transcription of Steve’s solo.
Key elements to analyse are:
– emphasis on outlining chord tones and harmonic movement
– development of key rhythmic and melodic motifs
– clear definition of rhythmic ideas
– constant articulation of every note
Swallow uses string bends in a sophisticated way to colour the underlying harmony, and his application of this technique is an extension of how it is applied in blues music. Dig how he uses string bends to anticipate the Db diminished and B diminished chords coupled with a repeated rhythmic phrase.
I recommend listening to Steve’s solo (without me playing over the top) to anyone wishing to learn and analyse this solo. The simplicity and beauty of this solo make it one of my favourite Steve Swallow solos. Here is the link to the Youtube clip.