Friday, January 8, 2010

Finger-picking Crazy!

A while ago, I'd done a bit of digging and rediscovered the old songs I used to listen as a child. Few I still listen to now, but there's one that's hung on to my interest.

It was that old Hanson song "Where's the Love" that I used to like (and still do). I still listen to it now since the "reunion" because it sounds musically interesting, layered, complicated, fast, and just appealing. When I was young I listened more to the general music and the (apparent) female voices that I could barely discipher. You know, it was three younger adolescents (12, 14, and 17 respectively, at that time) that were singing, usually the 14 year old, and sometimes they didn't exactly say the lyrics properly because they were either singing too fast or had gotten briefly tongue-tied during their recording session - for instance "consciousness is fading" sounds to me like "constipated." The middle one (known as Taylor) actually said "constentence-is-pated" that second time.

But other than the slight squeaks they emitted at the end of some of their words, the run-over, bogged up pronunciation at times, and the fact that they seemed overly feminine (I was a young child, I knew no better!),
the music itself is really interesting. For one thing, I don't know where any keyboard comes in - I see Taylor playing one all the time but I can't detect it. Maybe it's a synthesizer and it's making one of the prominent sounds that I'm mistaking for something else. But otherwise, I just hear several guitars, drums, and bass.

It's still very complicated. The music was extremely well done. It's interesting and curious. What really gets me is the bass's pull and rhythm, its fastness. That's what makes the song really interesting and intricate to me, because that's how it sounds. And that's where I get the title for this post: I tried to learn it.

After making it compatible with my video editor, I put the song in, increased the bass, and slowed it down from three minutes to nine minutes (even at six minutes it was too fast). From there on I managed to pick up much of the intricate notes of the instrument, as I'd only figured out the general sound for both the chorus and the verses. Here's the thing:

I managed to lay down the quick little notes around the general ones. I just couldn't find the even more intricate, complicated extra bits of notes and finger movements. Plus, when you bring the song back up to normal speed (I should note that when I slow it down I keep the tone the same) the notes get buried in the super quick transitions and hand movements all over again and I cannot keep up at all.

It was finger-picking crazy.

Whoever came in and recorded the bass for that song was an ultimate master. I knew that it was a session player because the band itself consisted of three brothers, one playing a guitar, another playing drums, and a third playing a (impossible to hear on this song) double keyboards/singing. You know, the kind where there's an upper deck and a lower one. The band had no bassist. It was an amazing session player who could fret and pick with his hands five time faster than I could. Whew.

In time I'll get it down. But this song, along with a song by A Flock of Seagulls, is one of those that I can only learn with a lot of time for practice and patience. It was crazy. I can't keep up right now. In time, I hope I can, but not now. That song really has some accomplished music on it, whether the band played some of it or not.

Truly amazing. Except for the little squeaks emitted sometimes from the vocalist. They make him sound funny.

Update Jan 9: This is my 200th post.

Justin C.

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