7 to 3 resolution
Most jazz theory lessons once they describe how 4 note 7 chords are formed will cover in almost emotional terms how badly the 7 of one chord want to resolve to the 3 of the next chord in the cycle of fifths.
Todd Johnson's 'Autumns Leaves' 'lesson' in his book two has a very nice sequence that runs 1 3 5 7 | 3 1 7 5
ex. C Eb G Bb | A F Eb C fro Cm to F7
what's sweet about this particular sequence is you end up on the same note you started on. (And Autumn Leaves is a great song to work on this as it runs through ii V I in major and minor)
So recently I ran into another book that uses a 3 5 1 7 sequence that can run indefinitely into another 3 5 1 7 sequence. (In keyboard study 'they' tell us the 3 in the bass is more deceptive than the root or the 5, so in walking bass 'they' like the fact that the next strong beat is the '1'.)
There are patterns one can use to try these out, but like any pattern if you repeat it long enough you'll run out of position or out of fretboard. So I won't even go into that level of detail.
The 3 5 1 7 has much more an open ended question sense to it than the 1 3 5 7 | 3 1 7 5 that sounds very settled.
What I found very instructive practicing the 3 5 17 esp on Autumn Leaves with the mix of 7 chords , is how fixed I was in a certain pattern or sequence of notes and how the 3 5 1 7 forces a less linear wider sense of where the chord tones sit. I also found, at least at first, relating all chord tones physical relationship back to the root useful.
I found these sequences are not just useful in themselves, but help a lot in breaking down the natural linear way we first learn and think about the chord shapes.
another way to train to play inversions
One point to all this is, given the early lessons in walking bass cover one chord per bar (or less) the choices and the teaching there are essential to get under your fingers, but real songs tend to hold some chords longer than one bar and I'm very interested in how one expands into that territory from the 'universally accepted' one chord / one bar teaching.
One way is to treat a chord tone other than 1, esp 5 or 3 as a target note for the 2nd bar under the same chord. At least that seems to be a step in the right direction. I assume it takes some training and knowing to get a feel for what works where.
2 years in I'm taking a much harder look and study with Ed Fuqua's book as well as Jay Hungerford's. Hungerford particularly takes an approach of using target chord notes other than the 1 (esp the 5) to generate 2 bar / 1 chord patterns. So it's kind of a formal expansion (but no background on theory, you have to supply your own) Fuqua's examples aren't so easily broken down as it tends to be real open playing -- which is a nice goal.
if that were the case, it would be very bad
but it's Autumn Leaves and it's cycling through the cycle of fifths so after the two chord sequence the next chord's root is one step or half step away
Cmin7 F7 Bbmaj7 Ebmaj 7 Amin5b D7 Gmin7
I like the symmetry of it from my keyboard meager study.
7 goes to 3, 3 goes to 7 1 is the 5,
but you may be right. I'll try playing it both ways and see.
the Hungerford book seems to use a lot of stepwise chromatic approach like a 1 3 6 6b to get to a 5 on the 2nd bar of a 2 bar chord and it drives that as a a 2 step chromatic approach a lot more than say scalar 1 3 7 6 to 5 would -- so I don't know where that fits in with strong notes on strong beats.
I would mention that I came to learning how songs are structured by playing (of all things a tenor banjo) (4 strings tuned in 5ths) and I picked up and played what I wanted to play -- Motown, Grateful Dead, Beatles. I noticed some songs worked much better than others playing only the chords and what chord inversions and voice leading choices might support the melody line better than others. So that was the motivation for learning some theory and some keyboard studies.
So I have a bias for chordal 'leaping' basslines as a way of connecting most directly with the harmonic structure of a song. Forgetting for a moment that chords support but aren't the melody and the bass has the opportunity to 'work' the melody more directly. Problem is with basslines you can't stick with chordal or scalar too long before it sounds too pat and too predictable. And scalar / stepwise gives you a way to work in the melody or countermelody in a way that chordal sequences can't quite.
I come back to the Hungerford book. Some of his scalar choices (as a lesson book) sound really vanilla. They work, but don't seem to do much more than fill in the space, but others, using the same guidelines, make me sit up and pay attention because they reflect and really fit the song.
I can't really play piano, but I can comp the chords. My playing sounds a lot like a primitive version of what the piano track on a play along sounds like. But given that comp coming out of a chord bed there are ways to hit a few passing notes that support and echo the melody. I would be very happy if my bass playing got to that same level reflecting the harmonic progression and echoing the melody.
what this tells me is I should be spending a lot more time playing along to play-alongs or recordings with a lead instrument/vocalist, instead of just working on lesson bass lines. I really need to spend a lot more time hearing how the song is working.
The first year or so that wasn't so doable just do to lack of skill set reading/playing, but I can see the need for that transition now.
The second part is also on the spot, but this kind of "overdoing" it applies to many other aspects of making music, too. And honestly, probably everybody was at some point guilty of it, one way or another ;)
Here is an example of a guide tone line over the changes to "Sandu", a blues.
There a lot of half-steps smoothly leading from 7th of one chord to the 3rd of the next - Db to C, Eb to D, Gb to G etc.
Check out "Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony" book for more info about this. Great book.
Until I forced myself to think linearly in my walking lines, I tended to get stuck in these "less linear wider sense of where the chord tones sit" boxes that didn't connect smoothly from chord to chord. Nowadays I strive to construct an over-arching gesture that moves in a fairly uniform direction using relatively small intervals (mostly steps or 3rds) over several chords; this seems to make every resolution and every chord change feel more like a progression rather than simply a litany of sequential harmonies.
what I was trying to describe was breaking out of always landing on a root tone on beat one. It takes some practice and some sense of where all the chord notes are for a given chord. That's the wider sense I was talking about.
The linear thinking you're describing is what the practice of 1 3 5 7 to 3 1 7 5 and cycling in 3 5 1 7 might hope to install -- by widening the choices to smooth transitions.
Your description of movement in steps or thirds sounds very good to me.
The Sandu example reminds me of keyboard lessons where the left hand plays the root and the right hand plays only the two notes of 7 and 3 or 3 and 7. In a cycle of fifths the voice leading lesson is pretty clear and it doesn't take long to just hear what's 'right'.
well you never rooted the bass -- if you stick with that 3 and 7 on the strong beats it would sound like you'd transposed the whole of the song up an inconsistent major or minor third
more than the 1 and more than the 5, a 3, as in the example, in the bass implies a key shift/reharmonization.
plus given a reharmonization of hearing that 3 as a 1, we'd have a lot of implied flatted 5 chords -- a bold choice for traditional blues
As was pointed out, if you are not playing roots on downbeats then you are not going to be a very popular bass player. Yea, don't play b7 on beat 1. :)
The linear harmony concept is for making lines that outline the changes very well, and to connect the notes smoothly that lead into another strong chord tone. There are parts of it that could be applicable to bass lines, but the role of the bass (roots on downbeats) has to be covered. It is not a bad thing to play roots on 1 at all. It might get old for us, but that is what people want.
FWIW..... We have "And on that day" this week and there are a lot of 3-7-6 or 3-6-7-1 and 3-6-7-4 chord combinations (Nashville numbers) being used in this song.
For some reason it is taking some practice to get good crisp sounds from those combinations.
Not a problem it'll all be OK by Sunday, but, I remembered this string. It is taking a little getting used to.
The concept here is not the chords 7 and 3, but tones 7 and 3. For instance in a Dm7-G7 sequence, the 7 of the Dm7 chord (c) resolves down by half step to 3 of the G7 (b). This also would be in a melodic line, not a bass line.
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