Playing counter melody, ideas or training

There have to be some good stories here, I would love to hear some. Starting with how in the world did you get in to a performing brass band at 7?! If you are referring to American Legion halls, and you were playing there with the vets from the tender age of 7, I imagine you have some great stories and experiences?

Ya, i ate vegan for some time and it was a great learning opportunity for sure.
Chicken is high in Omega 6, which if not balanced with Omega 3, can be inflammatory.
Nightshades; tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant are somewhat inflammatory. I’m allergic to them so they REALLY cause inflammation with me. I’m allergic to wheat, so it causes headaches, eczema, sinus congestion, sore joints and brain fog for me.

Kale is easy, but then one must be careful about oxalates, which are also inflammitory. Lacinato Kale is LOW in oxalates.
Good news with nightshades (for me, anyway) if I ferment them, they don’t cause the inflammation. Seems we got away from fermented foods in the 50’s with the advent of the refrigerator. About the same time ‘dog food’ hit the market!
I learned that my nightshade allergy was severe after eating three cherry tomatoes before a nap one afternoon. Nearly fell over getting out of bed due to a severe case of plantar fasciitis that didn’t exist before the nap.

This is how I see it.

Counter Melody is like a groove or a riff playing in the song usually not playing root notes. They are not like solo because usually they are in repeating patterns of sorts. Though some like the ending of FrogVille is just a chromatic ascending or descending notes.

Most are notes in the modes or scales, I guess that’s kind of similar to a solo. Most solo skip the root note especially at the top of the bar.

This is the most simple form of counter melody in my book both happen at the outtro of the song.

When we immigrated from England to Canada in 1957 my Uncle played in the band and my Father expressed an interest in learning to play the E♭ horn. I asked if I could go to their weekly rehearsal. Initially my interest was drums. So they started giving me drum lessons and that started the musical journey.

I was too small to carry the bass drum on parades, and to concerts, so I ended up playing the snare drum in the band for a few years and then was asked if I wanted to learn to play a B♭ Cornet. I said yes and learned to play it and at the same time learned to read sheet music. My Father and Uncle both played the E♭ horn and after some 11 years of playing the cornet I was asked to join them in the horn section after a player had passed away. So I did and stayed in the horn section until I got married and then moved 60 miles away some years later.

Actually I played in the last brass band sponsored by the Royal Canadian Legion, which is the Canadian version of the American Legion. Yes there were many memorable times.

The biggest issue was the fact that you were supposed to be a Legion member to play in the band and to be a member, at that time, you had to be a military veteran and of drinking age. Because my Father and Uncle were both WWII vets, in the Royal Navy, I was given permission to be in the band but was not allowed into the drinking portion of the hall unless we were playing a concert. Even then I had to keep a low profile.

Several of my friends and I still put on a few concerts for the vets with the music geared to WWII songs such as Lili Marleen, Waltzing Matilda, and The White Cliffs of Dover to name just a few.

Anyways, enough about me and I apologize to those cringing at the fact that the meaning of the OP has been sidetracked. :+1:


Baby steps to the counter melody!

Hi there @LavaLemming . Good question / inquiry to a bass approach.
There is a very fine line between overplaying and a bass counter melody. What I’ve discovered is that not all songs have room for it.
I too love playing melodically.
What I’ve also discovered is that most songwriters and singers want to hear us play bass-ily and stay the hell out of their way.

There are obviously exceptions, but if you’re just starting out, it seems better to advise you to:

  • Learn the basics
  • Feel confident and comfortable supplying the traditional bass roll
  • Learn all the cool counter melody bass parts that are recorded to add to your vocabulary
  • Learn to play jazz walking bass lines (which, to me, is continual improvised counter melody)

Then… play what you hear when you’re playing with people… and be prepared to get the stink eye from the producers/singers/music directors of the world every so often.

Because it’s not a physical technique that has a right/wrong/best-practice type approach, there is no concrete way to describe working on it other than building your bass fluency and confidence (as I hopefully outlined above). You just have to play a ton and get your bass playing ears to discern when and how a counter melody line would be effective and acceptable.

There are some great musical examples given on this thread, and @Celticstar has some great suggestions as well which I support - primarily, don’t rush it! Build the musical skills, and it will come.