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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 88 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Playing Bass (Narrativism essay preview)  (Read 25797 times)
clehrich
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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2003, 09:12:53 AM »

I think I'm mostly getting this, but my knowledge of music theory comes exclusively from classical music, and I'm having trouble figuring out some of the types.  Which kind of bass-line is it at the opening of Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused"?  It seems to me it's a walking bass, on the beat and so forth, but it also cues the lead guitar and the vocals, and generally sets a melodic undercurrent.  Am I over-thinking this?
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Chris Lehrich
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2003, 09:54:54 AM »

Hi Chris,

Dude, in a word, Yes.

Best,
Ron
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Alan
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2003, 10:07:41 AM »

Hi all,

I've noticed several people seem concerned that music theory is required to understand Ron's post.  But I think focusing on music theory is taking the idea farther than necessary.  Just our everyday knowledge of the music we listen to is enough.  Pause to think for a moment what the different forms mean:

Walking - that's the standard bum ba-bum-ba that underlies lots of pieces.

Undercurrent - Ron said this is reinforcing the rhythm section - so just think of notes that duplicate the back beat (boom pa! boom pa!) of rock and roll, reinforcing the drum's basic pattern.

Counterpoint - (pa boom pa boom) or just reflecting another instrument.

Melody - well most of us know what a melody is.  It's the part most often sung.

Cues - that's new to me, but it's easy to imagine little noises used to signal other players.

Atmosphere - here I don't have a solid idea: but if Ron says Pink Floyd, I certainly have atmospheric memories of their music.   It's the stuff used to stir emotions alone.

So the idea of an RPG session as a performance, with the player's contributions standing as other instruments, while the bassist switches between techniques makes sense to me without a great deal of theory.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Le Joueur
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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2003, 02:38:23 PM »

Okay, I've been following along; this has been a great analogy, very inspiring.  Two things though....
    By sticking to just the bass analogy and forgetting Ron's point that this is about Narrativism, aren't we strangling a number of 'newer' gamemaster techniques; like absentee?

    Also, I've listened to a lot of rock since the seventies; I've found that the bass line (with some attention to the message of the poetry/lyrics) can pretty much predict what I will like on the 'visceral response' level.  Which brings me to the one band that confounds me at evey turn, the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

    Take a moment to listen to the intro for "Higher Ground" from
What Hits.  Flea just starts it off by 'going crazy.'  I don't much care for their entire catalog, especially the poetry it supports (which doesn't speak to me in the least), yet what Flea does to that bass gets me every time.

And it's like that with evey rock song with a sophisticated (complicated?) bass line.  I've heard many of the songs listed as examples, but can't really make a match up.

First of all, which does Flea do?  Secondly, how does that map onto gamemastering technique?  Can anyone help me out here?[/list:u]Thanks for the time and attention; I look forward to all three essays and the attention they'll demand (as well as the reviews of Godlike, Alyria, Fvlminata, octaNe, and Arrowflight), good luck and God's speed.

Fang Langford

p. s. "If God is your copilot, switch seats!"
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2003, 04:36:26 PM »

Hi Fang,

H'm, can't speak to the Flea issue. I've got a couple of Peppers albums, so might listen and see. I'm not a big fan either. Arguably, Flea is one band and the rest of them are another ... And despite the one exchange in my little Q&A, I'm not entirely sold on the idea that you can directly translate all the diversity in the one medium to the other. It's a topic for thought-experiments, not scholarly application at this point.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Rush. I can't believe I forgot to mention Rush.
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arxhon
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« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2003, 11:54:14 PM »

Hi,

I'm new to this GNS stuff, and won't take up much of your time as a result. Anyway, i read the GNS essay, and to be honest, it's pseudo-Kantian in its complexity (yes, i've read Kant). Many good points, but tough to pick them out.

On the other hand, this whole "GM as bassist" thing makes PERFECT sense. Honestly. It probably helps that i do in fact, play bass, but i understood what you are trying to get at (walking a player, cueing a solo) without looking up 'synecdoche'.

That is all, carry on :)
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2003, 07:06:55 AM »

Hi there,

Welcome to the Forge, and thanks! The essay was written in a very legalistic style at a time when that was necessary - a lot of my ideas were under direct attack and a lot of argument was flyin' around based on what people thought I "must" be saying, and similar. Times are different now, and I'm working on ways to explain things to a non-hostile, new-to-it audience. I'm glad the bass analogy makes sense, especially to someone who plays the thing.

Best,
Ron
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