Playing Together as a Band: Sonic Range – Pt. 1

Andrew Stanley —  January 10, 2013 — 1 Comment

Sonic Range Photo

Whoever could have guessed that musicians had to think so much when they jumped into a band context? If I’m a great player of my instrument, I should be able to step into any setting and sound good! Unfortunately, without experience as a band member, this is likely not the case.

We’ve been talking about the horizontal “rhythmic” plane (as we call it) of playing together within the 100% rule.  If you don’t know what I mean, go back and read “Playing Together as a Band: Rhythm Playing“.  We know that there is so much more to talk about in each of these areas, but for the sake of keeping everyone’s interest, let’s move onto the vertical plane of sonic ranges.

Imagine this …
At rehearsal, you spent the entire time making sure that you all locked into a great groove with everyone else in the band. Your shots are tight, you’re complimenting rhythms of other players and rhythmically, you’re exactly where you need to be. You walk away from rehearsal and realize that your whole band completely forgot to talk about what range you were playing in. What will your band sound like when you come back together to play?

It might sound something like this: Example – Playing together in the same range
*Note: this link will bring you to a new page.  Be sure to press the back arrow when finished listening to the clip.

That certainly doesn’t sound bad, but you can hear that although the electric guitar and keyboard parts are rhythmically together, they’re still in the same range and a lot of the sonic clarity is lost in the clash of the two parts.  Take a listen to the clip again if you need to. Playing rhythmically together will get you to a place where you’re mostly sounding like a band. Adding a sonic depth to the ‘rhythmically well playing band’ will make you sound like a GREAT band.

Listen to the difference that is made when parts are spread out sonically …
Example – Spreading out Sonically
*Note: this link will bring you to a new page. Be sure to press the back arrow when finished listening to the clip.

Next week we’re going to look at the actual frequency ranges of our instruments and find out what and who we need to be listening for when we’re playing in different ranges.

Andrew Stanley


One response to Playing Together as a Band: Sonic Range – Pt. 1

  1. Very helpful. I’ve always heard that I shouldn’t play in certain octaves – the example was very helpful.

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