Monday, March 5, 2012

common problems with bands (part 3)

3. No Space- In music, space = silence.  Almost all musicians are fully unaware of the space in between the notes they're playing. How many local bands have you seen where everyone in the band is playing all the time? The drummer is busy filling every possible gap with dazzling fills and unnecessary flourishes. The guitarist is strumming non-stop like he's trying to break out of jail with a nail file. The bassist is showing off every Jaco Pastorius riff he ever learned. The singer is just trying to get a word in edgewise.
Learning to play an instrument can take years. Learning when not to play takes a lifetime.  Here is a great example of a song with lots of space:

Simple acoustic guitar part. Very basic drums with no cymbals, just kick and snare. The beginning of the song consists of a vocal, drums, guitar and hand claps. That's it. No bass until later. This song is full of space, yet it sounds full.

Here's another example of space:

The great Bootsy Collins with a 12 piece band!! 12 people are onstage and nobody is stepping on each others toes. Every time someone solos, the band backs off a bit and creates a "hole" for the soloist. These guys are listening to each other. 

I tried to find examples of bands that are stepping all over each other, but so far I haven't. I know those videos are out there but here's the thing: they're super hard to find because almost all the successful bands out there respect and understand space.

Less is ALWAYS more.

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