I wanted to ask if anyone had any information about tetra chords, and how to use them effectively in playing bass?
I didn't find a huge amount on Google, but I understand that they break scales into two halves, and enable the playing of melody all along the fretboard; also that they relate to the cycle of fourths, in that you would play the first 4 notes of the scale (half a scale).
As you can see, my understanding is a bit vague, so I was hoping that those 'in the know' might share some of their knowledge, as I get the feeling that this would be a useful thing to understand?
Tetrachords are another way to approach scales and their construction.
It is a collection of intervals: whole-whole-half. Stack 2 of them and you get a scale.
They are useful to remember scales and the notes they contain, they also can be used as an efficient tool to build melodies, since in a given major scale you can always use the notes from the tetrachord starting on root and 5th.
Lots of fun can be had.
Thanks Jazz Ad! So, can I use any scale or mode and create Tetrachords using the first 4 notes of the scale? For example, whole-half-whole for a minor, or half-whole-whole for a phrygian etc.
This seems like a neat idea as, I'm guessing, it should then be possible to run them up and down the fretboard using the same pattern of 4 notes, staying in the same key. I will have to give it a try.
It only works for ionian and phrygian, I think. Just something to keep in mind
Do an an internal search on Tetra Chords, there is some great info in the archives, i have contributed to a few good threads in the past about how an why i was taught Tetrachord Theory and how it seems to weave through lots of musical ideas from keys, cycle of 4ths, cycle of 5ths, scale construction, modes construction, etc.
The great thing is Tetrachord Theory is a basic simple lesson in itself, maybe 20-30mins. at most eith examples.It was one of the first theory lessons i got because it was used to teach us how to construct the scales we were about to learn. Once you have it down it becomes a reference that your brain uses to learn or verify ideas.
So if you see four sharps in a key sig. you can work it out if un-sure, so rather than trying to remember all flats and sharps in keys, you learn how they are constructed and used. :)
I find tetrachords to be a really helpful way to break scales into smaller pieces and see how they relate to each other. Here's a great resource:
As is shown here, you can start by defining four basic kinds of tetrachords via their intervals -- Major (whole-whole-half), Minor (whole-half-whole), Phrygian (half-whole-whole), and Lydian (whole-whole-whole) -- and then think about each mode as a combination of two tetrachords. For example, the major scale (Ionian mode) is a pair of major tetrachords; the natural minor scale (Aeolian mode) is a minor tetrachord plus a Phyrgian tetrachord, and so forth. It doesn't take much work to figure out what tetrachords to combine to create the harmonic minor scale, the melodic minor scale, etc.
I'm really big into tetrachords with my students. They help break down the scales into easier bits, and by studying the various fingerings, really open up lateral playing on the fingerboard.
Tetrachords in a nutshell are basically the same as arpeggios but use different note permutations. Whereas your garden variety arpeggio would consist of a root, 3rd and 5th, a tetrachord could be root, 2nd, 3rd, 5th. You can take any scale fragments and permutate them to your own taste.
For example, when soloing over something like Giant Steps, a real basic and "arpeggiated" method to do would be to use a tetrachordal method. Heck, any jazz standard for that matter! Hope that helps.
Thanks for all of your replies so far, and thanks Lobster11 for the link, it's very helpful.
For example: I previously was really only comfortable with one particular fingering of the Phrygian mode/scale, in one position played across three strings. So for A Phrygian (e.g.), starting with my index finger on the 5th fret of the E string, I'd play the first three notes (A, Bb, C) on that string, then the next three notes (D, E, F) on the A strong, and the last two notes (G and the octave A) on the D string. This not only locked me into a particular position on the neck, but also locked me into a particular way of mentally grouping and visualizing the notes: i.e., intervals of half, then whole, on the E strong, then whole-half on the next string. That's kind of a weird, non-symmetrical pattern. But thinking about the scale as a pair of stacked Phyrgian tetrachords got me to thinking about the notes in groups of four, which led me to a different (more "lateral") fingering: I play the first four notes (ending on D) using the same fingering as above, but then shift up two frets -- my index finger shifting from D to E on the A strong -- to start the second tetrachord on E, from which I use the exact same fingering as the first tetrachord (i.e., the notes E, F, and G on the A string, ending with the octave A on the D string). This symmetry means that you repeat the exact same fingering twice (with the shift in between). Moreover, you then wind up with your index finger on the high A, ready to start over into a second octave using, again, the exact same fingering. And if you continue the pattern by shifting again when you get to D (on the G string), then play E, F, and G following the same pattern (yet again), you're only one higher-octave note away from completing two full octaves -- having used the exact same fingering pattern of four-note groups every step of the way.
At least for me, this provides a really nice example of how learning theoretical ideas can be of very practical use, contrary to what some people seem to believe!
Here's a good article
I want to know more -
are there any practice tools/charts for tetra chords ...or are the examples noted on these few links all that is needed for a beginner?
Start off with
C D E F G A B C
cut it in half to get G A B C then add the rest of the diatonic notes to get G A B C D E F G. Now you have the makings of a G major scale, work out if it needs sharps or flats then cut it in half and create another scale....which will be D major and so on......it will become apparant with a little thought what is going on when we use the 5th as the new root for each new scale created. :)
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