TIP OF THE DAY

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Knowing the Note or Taking the Ride

Some people have no idea what note they are playing at any given moment. Based on what they've written to me, N. Scott Robinson and Percy Mwana pretty much know exactly what note they are playing all the time.

I myself usually don't know the name of the note I am playing, but I know the number of the note, i.e., the number relative to the root where the root is "1". If you don't get that, think of "Do Re Mi" as "1 2 3". Though if in a minor key, the 3 has a different flavor--but I still think of the notes relative to the root.

Then again there are moments when I am just so full of emotion and feeling that I forget about notes and names and letters and numbers, and I am broken down into somebody who plays totally by feeling. If you feel something like that coming on, I suggest you go with it, as it might lead to something wonderful. But also be prepared for coming back down to Earth, because that blessed swell will end--and when it does, you need a plan for what to do next. It's sort of like being lifted up in the air by God, and then being put back down on Earth again. And wouldn't you want to take that ride?