“You have to dance with your fingers!”
Oudplayer Mousa Elias giving me some advice on how improve my drills.

When I talk about ornaments on the bass I mean the small movements by the left hand made before or after playing a note. Technically it can be a bend, slide, drill or some sort of hammer-on or pull-off. However, I would like to make a small difference between using something as a technique and using it as an ornament. For instance when I use slides as technical idea I’m looking for a musical element where the sliding sound, not necessarily the note, is the important part. When I use slides as an ornament I think of it somehow more connected to the actual note that I’m about to play. It is a way into the note rather than something that happens before the note and therefore I see it as a smaller movement. This is directly connected to the attitude towards sound. I like to use ornaments as a subtle thing so I don’t want the actual technique to be heard since it might steal focus from the note. The best way to develop this has been to record myself when I practice since I found it quite hard to actually hear if I’m overemphasizing a certain ornament while sitting with my instrument. Recording, both audio and video, is such a nice tool and I keep forgetting to use it over and over again. It can be discouraging listening back to myself and realizing that it sounds… not so good… but it’s important to remember that the reason I’m recording is to become conscious about how it sounds and therefore have the option to do something different.

Here is a short recording from the practice room where I’m trying a phrase with some different ornamentation.

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