So I have a question for musicians about their sessions that they frequent, the music that is played and about the general etiquette and how the music that is played actually comes together…
Basically what I wanna know what music genre you play and what your role is in making the music and what the other members/instruments roles are and I will give an example…
Bluegrass, in a bluegrass jam session you typically either have a said leader or the leader is the one who initiated the song. The leader will typically kick off the song by playing a quick instrumental or by picking someone to kick it off for them and then said leader will begin singing the verse and then when it comes to the chorus other members may join in harmony. When a phrase ends the instruments will usually play fillers to give the music a flare and drive. My favorite thing about bluegrass though is the breaks within the song, the leader will usually give a subtle signal for a player to play a solo and the player will accept or decline and so everyone gets to shine in a bluegrass band (if you have a fair leader). Of course etiquette is pretty much the same as any other jams.
I play guitar and the guitar in bluegrass is mainly a rhythm instrument that provides a harmony background. It’s really a staple bluegrass instrument however it rarely gets to solo unless the said guitarist is phenomenal in whicb im not (yet at least) but does play a lot of fillers.
The reason I ask is because I’m interested in how other genres interact an example would be rock and roll which is my favorite genres I listen to but I’ve never played in a rock jam session so I’m curious….
I assume that the spotlight is typically almost always the lead guitar and the singer.
I’m also curious about Irish traditional music and how everyone is incorporated into that certain sound, I hear that it is similar to BG but at the same time, I see folks play all these reels but never get a break to really solo. Curious.
@greymorph, I have never been in such a structured jam session as the one you described, we all just agree on a series of chords to jam on and take it from there. I couldn’t tell you what genre it is specifically, it’s pretty simple stuff and usually pretty repetitive and a bit messy since it’s unplanned. Here’s an example, as you can see we all take turns with solos and it just kinda flows, they didn’t know I was recording either, haha
I’d say your “role” depends on who you’re playing with, is it friends just for fun? or is it other musicians you’re meeting with specifically for the purpose of the music? my jam sessions are usually just for fun and everyone gives everyone else freedom to mess around no matter how good they are. My boyfriend and I also have an acoustic duo that is a bit more structured with specific roles assigned, for example, I sing this part, you harmonize here, insert solo in this part, play this twice, end song.
Yeah, I’ve never even heard of a “rap session”…I didn’t know they existed…
@ellie, I watched a few minutes of the video, haven’t finished it yet. So your sessions typically consist of a piano, mandolin and guitar? What genre is that?
See it’s typical of bluegrass to have breaks for individual musicians to show off their skills. There is always a leader though so that the players never bump heads trying to get a solo in a break, or course sometimes two can agree to solo together in unison or a harmony.
It’s all done with subtle signals such as eye contact, head nods or shake or even body language such as the leader raising the neck of his instrument to signal and end.
It’s all very coordinated in such a way that it appears very natural and thus it is completely natural and yet it’s never controlled, that’s the beauty of it.
I hear that jazz and blues jams are the same way but I doubt rock jams are because of the fact that there is only one lead guitar…
It doesn’t vary much throughout the rest of it, it was just for fun :)
I’m not sure it fits into a specific genre. It’s not always those 3 instruments, I play harmonica and guitar too, and the people we’re playing with are always different. Sometimes there’s a drum as well.
I do love that about blue grass, every instrument gets a solo. It’s rare to hear bass or drum solos so I get pretty excited about that. :) I wanna play bluegrass eventually on keyboard and harmonica.
I’d say in most typical genres that I’ve heard it’s only lead guitar that gets solos, but it’s of course up to the individuals playing to set the rules.
I mostly jam on the guitar and sing in a progressive post rock (or something like that) band. We used to be a full band, but now only two of us are left… and we’re both in the guitarist/vocalist role. So currently I also write the drums, basslines and synthetic elements. Temporarily I hope.
It’s a fun and easy kind of music to jam in general. You just gotta know the person you’re jamming with and his/her style, so you can stay synced in the crazy rhythms and odd repetitions and know when to use what effects and so on.
That’s what I like the most about it, the emphasis is on teamwork and staying alert and in sync to your bandmates. That and the complex, polyrhythmic technicalities.
As long as you can pull those things off, any scale or sequence of notes will come out sounding really cool and interesting.
I also play bass in an “old man rocknroll” band like once or twice a month.
It’s ridiculously easy, but it’s still pretty damn fun to jam out with a bunch of oldies haha.
But my favourite jam sessions are the ones I do on the computer with a single friend or alone.
This is a very different approach to music, no instruments are involved, only modular softsynths which get manually programmed from scratch to make various noises.
Our primary and most important rule for these sessions is that everything has to be made manually from scratch, no samples or presets allowed.
It’s like a band where you build each instrument throughout the course of the song.
Most of these sessions lead to tracks that sound more like synthetic insanity that songs, but every once in a while something comes out sounding like electronic dance music.