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Playing Tips

Playing With Dynamics

"In the same way that other forms of art or communication have an "ebb and flow," with moments of pandemonium and car crashes interspersed between periods of quiet introspection and beautiful sunsets, music is generally enhanced with such diversity in dynamics.

One of my favorite jokes involves the exasperated drummer declaring his frustration with the bandleader, as he asserts, "What do you MEAN 'play with dynamics'? I'm playing AS LOUD as I can!" I suspect that his "quiet introspection and beautiful sunsets" sounded a lot like his "pandemonium and car crashes."

Musically, if we bulldoze our way through a set of tunes at full-throttle "I'M-GONNA-RIP-THE-FRETS-OUT-OF-THIS-FINGERBOARD" intensity, it will lose most of its impact by the 2nd song. However, contrasting dynamics (even relatively minor dynamic differences) can make that part of the tune where you and your bandmates "turn it up to eleven" really have the desired effect."

(Excerpted from "Bassic Communication", Christian Musician magazine, (January/February 2000). Reprinted by permission.)

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