Tag Archives: language of music

Learning Music as a Language

To help us understand this better, let’s look at learning music as a language. At a beginner’s level you are still learning the meaning of individual words- how to spell them correctly; the shape of the letters and the sounds that they make. Eventually, you would have learned enough useful words to start playing with other like minded musicians. Metaphorically, this would be akin to talking, then debating and ultimately be able to argue specific points of view in a conversation with others. But if you are stuck by shouting out single words; sometimes unrelated words, you will become ineffective as a bass player despite having acquired a large vocabulary of single words.

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This Language Called Music

“Music is the vernacular of the human soul.” –Geoffrey Latham     

Music is a language.  It has rules and needless to say, if you want to be considered to be a good bass guitar player, you are going to have to learn the language of music – tonal principles, harmonic structures, rhythmic considerations, song forms, melodic permutations, etc – in order to develop the skills required to improvise.  For the great unwashed improvisation is the ability play on your instrument what you hear in your head; responding and reacting on the fly through the continuous flow of non-stop music.

 Miles Davis

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