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Excerpts from Ron Carter’s “Finding The Right Notes” Biography

By January 21, 2010Music

Okayplayer imcvspl‘s post in The Lesson has a few quotes Ron Carter made about his time recording with Q-Tip for The Low End Theory. I don’t spend much time reading books, but this seems like something I would be interested in.

“I asked him to rap it before we recorded so that I could hear the commas and the length of the sections.”

“I didn’t write anything down because I could hear the tune in my head. We did a few takes where I would move my commas around to match the phrasing. I wated to make the song have some chord changes, because what I was hearing was monotone. I said to myself, geez, how can you listen to this all day without some kind of harmony? So I tried to sneak some chords in to see if it would work.”

“I told them, whatever you do, just make sure the bass sounds good.”

“Instead of rapping in a drone without harmony or chord changes, they could elevate what they’d be singing by suing another way of making lyrics that would be determined by the use of chords and harmony.”

“I told Q-Tip to play the piano and spend some time with Sir Roland Hanna to see how chords and harmony work. I suggested he learn some simple chord changes like I, IV, V, I that would make the lyrics sound different so that the background would not just be boomp-boomp-shish.”

“It’s a shame rap guys who were really interested in the music and not just the rap didn’t learn the basic skills to fully bring what they were doing to fruition.”

“I think he would have hired Mingus if he were alive because that was Q-Tip’s favorite bass player.”

“I used to say that if rappers ever discovered the major triad, I’d give them a dollar – and I still have that same one.”

The conversation sparked by imcvspl’s intial post is interesting. Chime in!


Founder of Rappers I Know and Art Director to the Stars...of the Underground. Follow him on Twitter @fwmj.


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