Style and Method
I have always been interested in traditional music of any kind and found my inspiration there and that is the foundation on which I build my own music.
It may be difficult to explain style, but I think it must have to do with a conscious way of limiting your chops and ways. For my part there is no way to say that ”anything goes” and many of my fellow musicians have often wondered why there are certain songs I won’t sing or perform. My own taste and musical background has something to do with it and I write and arrange the kind of music that I, myself, want to hear. That’s the only way I can explain it, but the following elements must be present:
1 – The signature
A theme or phrase is present in the intro of a song or an arrangement and will come in again as a “quote” later, according to the strategy of the overall arrangement. The signature makes a song easily “recognizable”. To start off a song with a solo within the frame of certain number of bars, to me at least, is sheer nonsense and I don’t like it at all.
In principle I’m a half-tempo man and I always write the bass line in extension of a harmonic theme by the rhythm-guitar in order to let the two instruments form a thematic / rhythmic symbiosis. I also favour a melodic stand-alone bass-line that, preferably extent ending over a number of bars.
3 – The background
The instrumentation dictates how the instruments perform in the overall arrangement as a background of themes and melodic lines that, with a little luck, makes you able to create an exiting background for a song.
4 – The solo
Variations in the background or a whole new one, is the basis for the solo. Sometimes I create a new part for the solo and, even though I’m not too conscious about it, I always phrase it in a way so that the background has something to say in between the song-lines and stanzas. That way, thank God, the use of fill-ins is seldom necessary.
5 – Other variations
Instrumental parts written for the occasion can extend an arrangement and make a ”little” song into a “bigger” one. B and C parts are not prohibited.
6 – The finished product
I find, that working with these different elements and themes, extended over 2 to 4 bars as part of the background, makes listening to a recording worthwhile for more than just a few times. This way a song can be longer without you finding them too long, and it suits me fine that coincidence plays a part in the way the background pops up in between song-lines and stanzas. I like musical arrangements where the listener may find more layers in a song after a while.