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 Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar / Hawaiian Music
 Bass line for Sase in the Kwan book. What the...?
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53 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2017 :  09:42:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So I got started on the Leonard Kwan book. First tune, Manini, pretty straightforward, nothing I haven't seen before. Good.

But then the second song, Sase-- what is going on with the bass in this badboy? It appears to be all over the place. I have the version from Tabledit and the bass line conforms to the usual I-V-I-V.

In the below example the top is from the Kwan book, the bottom is the same two measures from the Tabledit. (These are just the opening measures, but pretty much the whole tune is like this in the Kwan book).

What's going on in the Kwan transcription by Ladd? It's hard to hear on the recording from the Red Cover album what Kwan is doing exactly, the guitar has an effect on it and is pretty low in the mix.

Can somebody shed some light here? Thanks!

Edited by - 12toneman on 08/07/2017 09:44:21 AM


1937 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2017 :  2:03:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Uncle used to have really good thumb control. "Maori Brown Eyes" used a tuning (low to high) DGDEGD with the E being alternated on. Listen, watch YouTube, no stress, jus' press. "Sase" is part of a song family with similar chords, "Alikoki", "Livin' On Easy", etc.
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Kapila Kane

945 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2017 :  2:47:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not sure I understand the problem...I see that the lower Table-edit is slightly different...and probably the one in error.
I would lean toward the Dennis Ladd version. He spent time with Leonard and reckon he had that new-fangled cassette tape technology. Wow. Pre-CBS, pre-digital, maybe even Pre-Cortex.

Meanwhile, I tend to have a similar, "want-it-to-be-symetrical" mindset. Maybe too much Mozart on my brain!

But think musically, not symmetrical math. Not only can melodies have variety and variation, but so can da bass.
And for the sake of melody, sometimes the steady bass gets dropped for a beat or so... but the beat goes on!

Perhaps for mechanics of the chord/melody, or could just be design/variety.
If you look at Ozzie's teaching materials, it might seem to be required...
But remember the stuff you learn in First Grade, later on we always move on, and then they tell you..."oh yeah, here's an exception to those first grade rules. Really just guidelines!

Don't expect slack-key songs to always fit the root, fifth, root fifth, root-root etc. mold. Sometimes the activity in melody also takes precedence over "It's all about the bass" attitude!

But I do notice things like this. I used to try to wonder why Dennis Kamakahi often didn't maintain any strict 1-5 or other ALWAYS there ostinato bass.
Also think there's the semblance of the drum beats in Hawaiian music.
But here and, as in Dennis's execution of song, The focus is on melody, words, and maintaining flow. But "flow" doesn't always require that Boom-Pa is always present. Well, maybe in a polka band.

Edited by - Kapila Kane on 08/13/2017 2:49:07 PM
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1937 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2017 :  09:11:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wide variations on bass lines in slack key. Peter Medeiros' book explores some of them.
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