Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dial it back, turn it up

I love a good solo.  Assuming it's on beat, I love a person's expression through music and movement and energy.

There's so many possible patterns someone can play when it comes to a solo, so much syncopation possible, so many sounds one can get out of a single drum - let alone multiple ones!  But you know...sometimes it's the person that can not only play a simple straight beat but also really sell it that hits home for me.

I've always admired Kodo's musical sensibilities in soloing, especially when they pull out a simple, spot-on straight beat after a lot of syncopation.  It's more than just a change in feel, it's a statement.

To be able to play something as simple as a moderately fast right-left-right-left for several measures seems like child's play.  This "straight beat" is something most of us taiko players have drilled at more than once and it's something just about anyone can do without experience.  However, in the context of a song, it can be so very powerful.

- To be able to play a loud, even straight beat is not always easy.  It may not be particularly hard, but to really nail that straight beat, you need to be proficient in chops and basic technique.

- Knowing when to put in a straight beat comes with experience.  Putting it in the beginning "jumps the gun" so to speak.  Doing it more than once dilutes the effect.

- It takes a lot of confidence to pull it off during a solo!  Being able to play it well is one thing, but to make it a deliberate thing in your solo is actually somewhat daunting for a lot of people.

- Also, you have to have a certain presence in the midst of this simple pattern; you have to sell it!  It needs to look intentional and exciting, without being it overly-dramatic.

This isn't a post about how we should all play a straight beat in our solos, but instead a post about how something so simple can be used to great effect.  Maybe you're trying to make your solos more interesting by making them more complex?  Or maybe you're still trying to figure out how to solo and feel daunted by how many possibilities there are?

Don't neglect the tools at your disposal, not just the ones in the direction you happen to be looking in at the time, but all of those around you.

No comments:

Post a Comment