Bassline Academy – Opportunity, Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin has been a longstanding hero of mine. To see him live is spellbinding, he can captivate and engage an audience of thousands with just his solo voice. His album ‘Spontaneous Inventions’, from which this track is taken, was an early acquisition of mine and remains a perennial favourite.

Whilst this isn’t strictly a bassline, tuba players can learn a lot from the phrasing, articulation, breath control and groove of Bobby McFerrin. He has this ability to be able to sound like two instruments, improvising bass and melody, at the same time rather like a Bach cello suite. I’ve tried to replicate some of this in the transcription and recording!

‘Opportunity’ is predominantly based around an Eb blues scale which works really nicely for me being an Eb tuba player, however, the range of Mr McFerrin’s voice is considerably higher than I can play so I’ve transposed the whole transcription down an octave so that I act as his tuba octave pedal double.

Download the PDF transcription of Opportunity here.

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