5th?? 3rd?? huh??

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sippy, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Ok I got my hands on the chord chart to Teen Town. I understand you just have to play the arpeggios for each chord listed. For "C" for example, I'd play Root::Octave::fifth. The problem is, how do I know which is which???? I hit a C note, then where's the octave, and where's the fifth? I'm assuming the octive is 2 strings down 3 frets over. Kinda like when you do Octive slides. but what is the "fifth" and why is it called the fifth? Thanks guys.
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    1 C
    2 D
    3 E
    4 F
    5 G
    6 A
    7 B
    8 C

    The fifth is the fifth note in the C major scale. So you'd play a G. The third would be the third note -- E.
  3. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    LOL really?? it's that easy??....
    so the 3rd not I play in the C major scale.. is what the 3rd would be in

    root: octave: 3rd?
    and in that example you gave me the octive would be the 8th note right?
  4. DojoMaster

    DojoMaster MusicDojo.com

    Aug 3, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    When you say you got the chord chart to Teen Town, I'm wondering what you mean about playing arpeggios. The tune itself uses a lot of chromatics and passing tones...the bass part is not really outlining the changes...it's the solo instrument in the tune.

    And when we talk about 5ths, 3rds, etc., it really depends on your context. Yes...If you're in the key of C major, you spell out the scale, one letter at a time, and count to get your pitch, but I don't see how that relates to this particular tune.

    I'll be glad to help you out more with this, but perhaps we should use a less complex tune than Teen Town to do so. ;-)
  5. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    I can play Teen Town, I can Play a lot of Jaco tunes. I'm just getting into more of a theory thing now. I can play these songs, and now i'm learning why i'm playing what I am. The chord chart I have features a lot of like C(13) and A(13) and so on..I know **** about music, but I'm very good at picking up instruments and playing them. I was playing Vivaldi's Four seasons (spring and summer) on violin after 3 weeks of buying the instrument. But when it comes to improvising, I'm terrible, also I can read music at a very basic level, and am really getting into theory. I guess what I'm trying to say is all I have is a very good ear, but a terrible knowledge base.
    My bass instructor thought it was funny when I was playing Black Market and "The Chicken" but asking the questions that I do. I guess that sounds crazy, but I just really want to learn everything I can now, instead of just playing everybody else stuff.
    Another easy question, when you say "I'm in the key of C" does that mean you are in the area of the fingerboard where the "C" scale is? Just like if you said I'm in the key of A you are in the area were the respected A scale is located?
  6. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    I don't think I explained my question too well.. being in the key of C what exactly does that mean compared to being in the key of A?
  7. I'm definately no theory juggernaut, and someone more clever than I will give a better, more correct definition but: Being in a key isn't about a position but about notes. If you are in the key of C, you mostly (but aren't restricted to) stay using the notes of the C major scale (that is C D E F G A B C) However, if you were in the key of A you would use the notes A B C# D E F# G# A, remembering that you can construct major scales by choosing a note and using the formula T-T-S-T-T-T-S Where T is a Tone (2 half-steps) and S is a Semitone (1 half-step) And the minor formula is T-S-T-T-S-T-T major keys use major scales and minor keys use minor scales.

    A piano is very helpful in trying to learn this stuff I've found.

  8. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    ahhh so to use the top post as an example while i'm playing C::oops:ctave::5th i'm in the key of C
    and if I were to play say A::oops:ctave::3rd I'd be in the key of A. So you can be in the "key of C" all over the fingerboard just as long as you're bassline is based on a C scale.
  9. Hookus


    Oct 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    No, what it means is that you are playing over some sort of C or A chord.

    A key signature is a way of eliminating sharp and flat notation on sheet music, really. What it does is change the reference pitch for a line or space.

    The key of C would mean that generally speaking the chord structure of the song uses notes from the C major scale, in any of the seven modes. The mode that you would play depends on the chord type, be it minor, dominant, etc...

    Your bassline has less to do with the key, and more to do with the chord you are playing over. The key signature is typically a tool used when composing music, not necessarily writing basslines. For these, knowing which mode to play over which chord type is more important, IMO.

    You may be playing notes from the A major scale, Ionian mode, when the guitar player is playing an A chord, and that A chord is the 6th of the C major scale, which would also most likely be the key signature. But, they may have sharped or flatted that A as well.....
  10. DojoMaster

    DojoMaster MusicDojo.com

    Aug 3, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    If you're talking about playing over changes, arpeggios (chord tones) are a good place to start. When doing this, it's always about the chord of the moment, at least at first. For example, outlining a C major chord you use the root, third, and fifth. The root is C (of course), the 3rd is the third note of the C scale (E) and the fifth is the fifth note of that scale (G). The triad (three notes) are the basic building blocks of the chord. C minor would be root, minor 3rd (or flatted 3rd) and 5th, so that is C, Eb, and G.

    Now let's take a commong chord progression: C, A min, F, G. Note something interesting. Let's say we're in the key of C. C is the I chord because it's built on the first note of the C major scale. A min is the vi chord (note that it's lower-case, cause it's minor), as it's based on the 6th note of the C major scale. F is the IV chord, and G is the V chord.

    Now, as you figure out these triads, note something else. C (C, E, G); A minor (A, C, E); F (F, A, C); and G (G B D) are ALL notes in the C major scale, because those chords are diatonic to the key. When you use a major scale as your key, you get the following chord types:

    I: major
    ii: minor
    iii: minor
    IV: major
    V: major
    vi: minor
    vii: minor b5

    So in the key of C, the diatonic chords are:

    C major
    D minor
    E minor
    F major
    G major
    A minor
    B minor b5

    I'm not going to get into sevenths here, but just start seeing how this all fits together.
  11. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Aerospace Guy, congratulations on your considerable and impressive talent in playing by ear. Also, congrats on your willingness to learn music theory.

    What you asked about--octaves, thirds, fifths--are intervals. You have been using intervals to help you figure out how to play a song by ear, but you just didn't know the name. Intervals are the sonic distance between notes, either ascending or descending.

    Here are the diatonic intervals.

    root (perfect unison)
    minor second
    major second
    minor third
    major third
    perfect fourth
    (augmented fourth/diminished fifth)
    perfect fifth
    minor sixth
    major sixth
    minor seventh
    major seventh

    You asked where to find those intervals. There are several patterns you can learn that will be the same for any root and you can find any of those intervals from the root just by knowing one of the common patterns.

    A chord will have intervals, but not ALL intervals. Each kind of chord has a formula of intervals characteristic of that kind of chord.

    If you do a search here of intervals and chord formulas, you will see much more about this subject, also about keys and modes. Also, you can do a Google or Yahoo search. They will lead you to many excelent web sites that explain these terms in great detail.
  12. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    Wow you guys have been the most informative bunch I have ever seen on a website forum. I really appreciate the time and effort you guys took to helping me out, you all helped me out a great deal and I thank you all very much!! :)
    Hopefully what you all said and some further research, now that I know the basics, will improve my playing even more! :) Thanks!!!
  13. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005