# A little more music theory

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by markjsmithbass, Jan 11, 2014.

1. ### markjsmithbass

For anyone following the progress I've finally completed all the chord construction lessons for the music theory series so I'll be moving into more of the functional harmony stuff next. This latest lesson covers slash chords and inversions:

http://www.talkingbass.net/music-theory-bass-guitar-slash-chords-inversions/

Gonna put up the tracks for that lesson soon.
So the music theory series is coming on nicely. Hopefully it'll be useful as a comprehensive free resource for everybody and I'm trying to keep a progressive order so it can be approached in steps and never get too advanced in one go. The list is now as follows:

Lesson 1 - Intervals part 1:

Hope that helps someone

Mark

2. ### Stick_PlayerBanned

Nov 13, 2009
Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
Watching the video on "Slash" chords, it's important to know that when a HORIZONTAL Line is used, this indicates a Polychord.

C
G

Would indicate a "C-Triad" over a "G-Triad" - C, E, G over G, B, D.

Ab7
XD

Would indicate an "A-flat Dominant Seventh" over a "D-Triad" - Ab, C, Eb, Gb over D, F#, A. Or, could be another way to write D7(b9#11)

=======

A Diagonal Line (i.e., forward slash) indicates a chord over a desired bass note. This could indicate an inversion: C/E, or a chord with extensions: Gm7/C (i.e., C11).

3. ### markjsmithbass

Yup, you're right. Thanks for pointing it out, I should have made it clearer and I'll annotate the video.

That said, it's more a case that a horizontal line CAN be a polychord. I've seen soooo many books (especially those with titles beginning '1000 Songs') that use a horizontal line and the notes directly above and below. So even though I'm aware that this can describe a polychord and even though I should have been more clear in addressing the line and positioning in the lesson, it's still worth knowing that it COULD be a slash chord/inversion. Polychords are a lot less common than basic slash chords so it's not likely to cause any problems and even if a polychord was intended, the bass would still be playing the alternate note (unless soloing). However, I suppose there is theoretically the possibility of poly-slash chords. Haven't seen any in chord symbol format before but I guess you could analyse certain modern orchestral scores and come up with them.

I always see chord symbols as an imperfect science in that people seem to adapt them to their own personal preference. The number of different ways to write one straightforward chord like a Cmaj7 is testament to this. So this one size fits all aspect of chord symbols combined with the lack of any formal authority can lead to chaos in terms of ensemble or arrangement based harmony like polytonality and inversion. I suppose it's just a case of taking note of every different abbreviation or shorthand method and using context to influence your decisions.

Mark

4. ### Fergie FultonGold Supporting Member

Nov 22, 2008
London-NewYork-Paris-Munich-Braintree
Retrovibe Artist rota
So true Mark, and yes Stick makes a great point. I think in these days when there seems to be more variations in notation because of the various technologies, instruments and genres we have there is so much 'personalised' terms, or un-unified use or understandings of what any said notation means.
It is a double edged sword, because in trying to point out the correct use of something, someone will be accused of being elitist, anal, pedantic, dogmatic etc about its use having to be strict.....bit it is more about its understanding being correct so the use is correct.

Un-fortunately these days there are far more un-trained players than trained ones trying to learn. Since trained players do not need to learn from un-recognised sources and have skills in place to see though a meaning to the real meaning (as in your playing is bad...when actually it is great) if the use is allowed to go on being used in the wrong context then at some point in time that will become the accepted context and be correct.
Theory is what we accept and agree on as the correct understanding of what we learn and use, trying to quantify the vast resources of the internet is an impossible task i think, but that does not mean we should not....great videos and from my point of view ( as i understand you) well presented.

5. ### markjsmithbass

Wow. Thanks guys. That means a lot to me. I invest a lot of time in this stuff. I find passing a lot of this information on to other players has helped me refocus on my own playing.

6. ### Fergie FultonGold Supporting Member

Nov 22, 2008
London-NewYork-Paris-Munich-Braintree
Retrovibe Artist rota
A respectful question deserves a respectful answer, it is the first step in learning, the second step, as you note with Mark, is presentation being clean and to the point. Once the point is made, learned and understood then it can be elaborated on.

Nothing demotivates learning than the feeling of being marginalised, made to feel you cannot have an opinion, or being afraid to say 'i don't get it'. One of my music teachers used to say,
"if you do not understand something then say so....and keep saying so till you do.....do not say you understand something when you don't." She would then go on to say'
"Saying you understand something when you do not... is not clever, that in itself is a stupid thing to do, the clever thing is to take the opportunity to ask your question, your job is to ask questions, my job is to answer them....that is how learning works...if i cannot answer your questions, or you do not understand my answers...that is my fault not yours."

I see answering questions or sharing info in the same way, as do many others which is why TB is a cool place to seek info from.

7. ### Stick_PlayerBanned

Nov 13, 2009
Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
Yes I have also seen the Horizontal Line used to indicate a chord with a specific bass note, as opposed to a Polychord.

And I have seen that example, from Chick's book.

Doesn't mean it's "correct", though.

I guess it's best to ask the symbol writer's intent.

* * *

Mark, I have enjoyed your videos. And have linked them to others.

Keep up the great work!

* * *

Poly-Slash-Chord:

Ab7
D/F#

8. ### SevenJacks

Feb 13, 2011
Boston (North Shore)
Watching now and enjoying it immensely!
I really hope guys like you (Scott Devine etc.) make a buttload of money from stuff like this because it is quite the effort to put out this high level of quality instruction for free!

Thank you thank you thank you!

Sincerely,
A fan

9. ### markjsmithbass

Cheers. It also costs quite a bit to set this stuff up. Wanted to do it right so invested in some lighting and backdrop and it's pretty much shaping up to the vision I had. Hopefully it'll bring some money in one day, or some enthusiastic students or even some good friends. But if not then it's no disaster. I actually love the process of creating the lessons and the challenge of presenting information in a concise way so that anyone can understand it and have that 'click!' moment a lot of us here on Talkbass have had many times in our own musical journeys. It's the reason I encourage feedback and criticism.