Monday, October 13, 2008

... on the Melodic Line... Boghall to play 8 tenors in 2009...

Rumor has it that Boghall and Bathgate are planning to play 8 tenors in their 2009 corps (bobdunsire.com - Bass Sections Forum - September 30,2008). TyFry must be on cloud nine with the potential for all those new mallet sales! I wonder if TyFry blue will replace TyFry pink... But I digress, there was no better response in the forum than that of Peter Hendrickson, formerly of AlCal and now with SFU.

"Just like in all other genres of music... everyone plays the melody... all at the same time, right?

Once I played this jazz gig, and it was with a piano player. So, I was like, "how many notes does a piano have?" I brought 88 tom toms to the show and I was able to play everything HE played. It was awesome... and he even told me so afterward! He said, "FINALLY, someone to play with that makes MY role less significant!"

I was just trying to use all the skills I learned in music school. What they taught me was to, and I quote, "always play the melody! Rule number one... always play the melody." If you're playing in a group that has a melodic instrument (instrument designed to play melodies), and you are playing a "rhythm section" instrument, like uh, the drums, you must always tune the drums in a way that you can play all the notes that the melodic instrument is playing already. This way you can play EXACTLY THE SAME!!!

The last gig I played where I just kept good time, provided energy and forward momentum, didn't get in the way of the melody and provided a solid foundation, making the rest of the band sound awesome... I got fired!! Man, I couldn't believe it. It was with Quincy Jones, if I remember correctly. A man I respected for years and always wanted to play with. Anyway, he pulled me aside after the gig and said "son, if you EVER pull that kinda crap again you will NEVER work in this town." He continued with "YOU ARE A DRUMMER!! Haven't I taught you ANYTHING?!?! You must ALWAYS play the melody... you must always play the melody."

Now, after years of study, I have finally realized that THE most important element in music is the melody. So, if it is the most important element, I ask you this... WHY... are we not ALL playing it?

Thank you very much,

Peter Hendrickson
(reprinted with kind permission of the author)

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