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The Electric Bass Concerto was written with the intention of highlighting the expressive melodic qualities that the electric bass possesses in the hands of an experienced performer. This piece takes inspiration from all those great bass players that have brought the instrument out from its original position in the background, the rhythm section, of various bands. People like James Jamerson, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Bootsy Collins and Jaco Pastorius.
This piece is written in two movements, rather than the traditional 3 movement concerto. Where tradition would have movements in FAST/SLOW/FAST structure, this piece uses a FAST/SLOW(fast) combination. This is to use a structure that broke with tradition in the same way that using an electric bass as a solo instrument breaks tradition. I chose to put the high energy fanfare type movement first to energise the audience and players, and remind them of the groove and funk that is a big part of bass playing. The second movement then becomes slightly darker as the bass shows its soulful side, with its ability to play beautiful harmonics, soaring melodies and multiple parts at one time. There is also an obvious link between movements witnessed in the instrumentation and impact of the middle sections of both pieces. The combination of the bass with the percussion, accompanied only by instrumental stabs is important because it places the bass with its instrumental brother the drums. Bass and drums are the foundation of most modern forms of music – rock, soul, funk, jazz etc.
I. Reconstituted Preservative
II. Sweetened Processes
05 May 2009: 2009 NZSO-SOUNZ Readings 1