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Jamaica (Playford) - Bass Runs


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This is a demo recording of

 

Jamaica (Playford dance).

 

I would particularly like to hear what people think about the bass runs which I worked in thereby hoping to follow a general suggestion of Adrian Brown (aybee). What do you make out of paralleling in octaves?

 

Thanks in advance for any comment - Wolf

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I think the lower notes introduce a heaviness that works against it as a dance tune. The higher notes are nice and sprightly. Dancers want and need "lift" to their music--which your higher notes convey. It's a different thing entirely if you're thinking of this as basically a sit and listen piece, but I listening as a dancer. The music needs to propel bodies through space.

 

Again, I'm not saying that your demo is bad. It all depends on what you're intending.

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Thank you very much for your input Mike, highly appreciated! The suggestion to keep the music within a higher range seems to make sense (and is in fact coinciding with some advice from another side). I will definitely consider that for my playing even if it's not very likely that it will be used for leading a country dance anytime soon...

 

Best - Wolf

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Sorry I have to be so critical, but here goes. You're repeating the B section, which, if you look closely, I think you'll find shouldn't be repeated (it's twice as long as the A section). The moving bass line in the B section that doubles the "on-the-beat" notes of the melody doesn't add anything—the notes are already there in the tune. Similarly, in the A section, the bass moves down to the 6th degree of the scale where the melody moves up to the same note (and they have both moved from the same note). All this doubling makes it sound very busy without accomplishing anything interesting. If you want a moving bass line, find one that isn't joined to the melody at the hip, but has its own independent identity, playing notes that aren't in the melody, moving when the melody is static and vice versa.

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Hi David, thank you for your critical remarks, really appreciated!

 

As to the details, I take it from you that the B section doesn't deserve repeating; maybe I had Parson 's Farewell in my mind where the A section is half as long as the B part too, and I would really be reluctant not to repeat the longer B part... Maybe I'm wrong on that one too. As to Jamaica I will play it AAB and see how that works for me.

 

With the topical bass lines, I started with the reverse movement at the very end, which I still like and find fitting. The octave doubling was by intent, as mentioned in my OP, but maybe it doesn't work; I had it included just very recently. The doubling at the very beginning on the "A" note replaces the low F which I don't have on my treble EC. Tried "C" instead but wasn't that content with it.

 

If I take both Mike's and your advice (and Adrian's, which is not here, as well which I'll still have to consider more in detail) into account I might shift the tune from C to G in order to get more reverse movement and lift.

 

Will post another recording soon I guess...

Best - Wolf

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Jamaica is one of my favorite tunes, and I play it a lot on my EC. But since I've been giving advice on this bass line thread, I should confess that I'm a single note melody line player with only an occasional venture into cords. So I'm in awe, Wolf, of your and others' ability at more complex playing.

 

Mike

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Mike, I would really like you to post a recording of your playing thus providing new clues to your understanding of this dance tune! Apart from that, you have a profound musical understanding as related to dancing, and I really appreciate the input!

 

And regarding the EC, if you are happy with what you're doing, there's no problem. And if not to full extent, there would be ways to more complex or complete playing. In any event, I appreciate the appreciation!

 

Best - Wolf

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It might be helpful to know that each round of the dance is twice through the tune. The dance is a double progression dance, with the first and second couples each interacting with a new first and second couple in one round of the dance.

So would I have to repeat the B section or omitt that?

 

Thanks in advance for confirming that point!

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It might be helpful to know that each round of the dance is twice through the tune. The dance is a double progression dance, with the first and second couples each interacting with a new first and second couple in one round of the dance.

So would I have to repeat the B section or omitt that?

 

Thanks in advance for confirming that point!

 

 

It's the whole thing repeated, so once through the dance is AAB AAB. I tend not to think of it as AA, though, because The Barnes Book of English Country Dance Tunes, vol. 1, the standard for ECD tunes resource in the US, has the space to print both parts of the A on one line, without a repeat, so some people tend to think of it as just the A part. I've seen callers notes where the parts of the dance are identified as A1, B1, A2, B2

 

I hope that's not too fuzzy!

 

Mike

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Hi Wolf,

 

I've toyed with the idea of trying to get some bass bits happening in a song. Haven't done it yet except for a quick fiddle around. Bit time poor now. And bass bits on english, and treble at that, a little difficult perhaps. Some keys would be better than others I think. D, or A perhaps?

 

Have you considered a "country song"? "I Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash) might work. Just a thought. Might suit your voice too if you were to sing it.

 

Cheers Steve.

Edited by Steve Wilson
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Hi Steve,

 

thank you very much for the hints (and the all-too-true remarks regarding our treble EC, which seem to be quite a challenge at that). Might be particularly ambitious to do that with a dancing tune with some requirements of its own...

 

Might be a good idea to give "I Walk the Line" a try after that, since I would love to sing it anyway!

 

Best -Wolf

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