Help me develop a program for learning
It's been a while since I posted, been pretty busy with life recently, you know how it is, getting in the way and such. Anyway, I need some recommendations for pushing my knowledge and skills forward.
I've been playing a long time but have never really seriously tackled any musical theory, either specific to bass or not. I've squirrelled away a few books over the years but never really taken a good look at them.
What I'd like if possible is for some recommendations as to what I should be doing with them and how often, that sort of thing. I work best when I have a schedule set in stone that I can follow. That way I can stick to it and make moves forward instead of just doodling and playing covers.
The books I have at present:
Bass Fitness - josquin de pres
Ultimate ear training for guitar and bass - Gary Willis
Berklee chord studies for electric bass
Blues bass - Ed Friedland
Foundation exercises for bass - Chuck Sher
Now to me it seems like there's plenty there to work on, but I'd really like to know which I should focus on more than others and what aspects are specifically important or recommended. Like I said my musical theory is middling at best, and my knowledge of the fretboard is ok, could be better. Ideally what I want to work on is enough to be able to follow chord progression well enough to jam with a band on the fly and maybe start to compose a few lines of my own. I'm not shooting for the moon, I just want a good solid knowledge that will stick with me through the years to come.
Anyone able to help with this? A little bit of a vague request I know, I guess I just need pointing in the right direction. Oh and before anyone asks, I definitely do not have the money right now to hire a tutor. It's teach myself or nothing at all.
First step. Chord progressions are pretty generic, same ole I-IV-V7 can be used in a zillion songs. When you can take that I-IV-V7 progression to a jamming circle and hold your own, then you are ready for the rest of the story.
What does the I-IV-V7 accomplish? Two things.
1) Movement. The verse or phrase is a rest (I) when you bring in some tension (IV) that is a good thing. The V7 chord adds climax and as anything after the climax is anticlamatic the return to the tonic I chord brings the verse or phrase back to rest so a new thought can start in verse number two. The I-IV-V7 chord are the structure chords, the minor and diminished chords in the key add color and flavor. Work on structure first, when you've got that under control then throw in some color and flavor during the fleshing out process.
2) Harmonization. The melody notes found in the tune need a chord with some of the same notes. When the melody line and the chord progression share like notes you get harmonization, i.e. the two lines sound good together. How many like notes do you need? One per measure gets harmonization. Two per measure is nice and three per measure are really not necessary unless you like a lot of gravy, if you like gravy, spoon it on.
You need to get your ear recognizing when this happens and be able to verbalize why it happened so you can make it happen in the songs you want to write.
It's a journey that starts with which chords are needed to harmonize this melody line. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrDh0OFDCAk
Ok, I get ya. So it sounds like some ear training is in order. Nothing super advanced, just enough (at first I guess) to do what you're describing here. I may have some material I can use, if not, I'm sure Prof. Google will provide.
Jamming circle. The song is called out....
Next one is Kiss Ole Kate, let's do it in D; ready 1 & 2 &...... I've never heard Kiss Ole Kate before....
From here on I'll have to assume some things. I know the key is D and the chords in the key of D are:
D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm, C#m7b5, D.
The I-IV-V7 will be D, G, A7.
Em and Bm will probably come into the picture somewhere, however, if I miss them the earth will not stop spinning.
I'll assume the verse starts with the D and then somewhere near the end of the first line of the verse the G will come into play. This G will continue into the second line of the verse and then somewhere near the ending of the second line the A7 will become active and the second line will end with the tonic D.
I'll also assume the 3rd and 4th line of the verse will do as the first two lines did. If I'm lucky.
If not I fake it till I can find where every body else is. Anticipate the change from I to IV; watch the rhythm guitar's hands and change chords when he does. Or if really lost, vamp a V7 or revert to a tonic pentatonic, until I can find my place.
Your ear will get better and everything will fall into place, sooner or later.......... But you have to start somewhere. Your CD's are a good place to start. After you figure what key the CD is using write it on the label.
Or better still call up one of the backing track videos, with chords, that are on the Internet and play along. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvF-Natz-tM Yep, you called it - your ear needs some practice. Songs using the 12 bar blues progression make good learning songs. Why? The 12 bar blues progression is fairly static and you can anticipate the changes. Four bars of the tonic chord starts the progression, then two bars of the IV followed with two bars of the tonic. Then the last line does and can change depending on the turn-a-round being used. The progression listed below does not have a turn-a-round. If you ended the last measure with the V7 (D7) that would draw you back to the starting tonic I chord as the D7 would act as a turn-a-round. With out that the progression returns to rest and begs to stop on the tonic I chord. If the progression is to continue with another 12 bar (verse) let the turn-a-round lead you back to the beginning, however, if you will be ending the song let the tonic chord end the song.Finding the key to a song on one of your CD's:
For some more of the story: http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/57
Which will talk about what chord likes to move to what other chord, i.e. the sub-dominant chords ii and IV like to move to the dominant chords V or vii. You do not have to let them move that way, but, if you do good things happen.
www.MusicTheory.net is full of information; well worth your time.
You can go as deep as you want. For example: http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/ear-chord
Thanks again Malcolm ill give it a look!
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