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Breaking down I'll Take You There theoretically

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Justbleazy, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Justbleazy


    Apr 3, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I've been playing bass for 4 years now and I want to take my bass playing to the next level. I'll Take You There by the Staple Singers was one of the first songs I learned to play and I want to start simple in learning some theory before I get into more advanced songs I know how to play.

    Anyway, I've typed this up to start breaking songs down theoretically. Please let me know if I'm on the right path. Thanks!

    The main part of the song consists of two chords in the key of C, C Major and F Major.

    The notes in the 2 chords listed above.
    C Major - C -E -G
    I - III –V
    F Major – F A C
    I – III – V

    The bass notes of the song. I typed this away from my bass :bag:
    C – C – G – A – C – A – G – F – F – G – A – C –A (C)
    I – I - V – VI – I – VI – V – IV – IV- V- VI – I – VI (I)

    Scales I can use while playing the song:
    C Major Scale – C –D – E –F –G –A –B –C (Ionian Mode)
    F Major Scales – F - G –A – Bb/A# – C – D –E –F (Lydian Mode)

    Notes I must play: C - _ - _ - F – G – A - _ - C
    Notes I can choose to play: “D” – “E” - “B” – “Bb”
    The notes I can choose to play are only for fills so I’m not being repetitive.

    Thanks again for the help!!
  2. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    *Whispers* - "it's the Staple Singers". ;)
  3. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Just so you know, music theory is giving names to sounds we are familiar with. It's analysis. That being said, this statement "C Major - C -E -G
    I - III –V" means nothing. I is the tonic chord, III doesn't exist in a major tonality (it would be iii, the mediant chord which is minor in a major tonality) and V which is the dominant. When describing chord members you never use Roman numerals because those describe chords in the key: I ii iii IV V vi viio. If you want to describe chord members C major in the key of C major is " 1 3 5". Don't get fancy.

    This :F Major – F A C
    I – III – V" also means nothing for the same reasons listed above.

    This "C – C – G – A – C – A – G – F – F – G – A – C –A (C)
    I – I - V – VI – I – VI – V – IV – IV- V- VI – I – VI (I)" is what? Is this the chord progression? There ain't no major VI chord in C major. It's minor. Did you mean "In the key of C major, the scale steps to play are 1-1-5-6-1-6-5-4-4-5-6-1-6"? Because that's what you're trying to say.

    "C Major Scale – C –D – E –F –G –A –B –C (Ionian Mode)" is right from the Department of Redundancy Department. It's just C major. I know everybody likes to cite modes because they have funny names, but it's not. It's C major.

    "F Major Scales – F - G –A – Bb/A# – C – D –E –F (Lydian Mode)" No. Wrong. Stop. Halt. First if it's F major then it has a Bb. Period. It's not interchangeable or negotiable. Second it's not lydian. I know everybody likes to cite modes because they have funny names BUT NOT EVERYTHING IS MODAL. It's a major scale which just happens to be built off of the 4th member of the C major scale. A lydian mode built on F would be F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F. No more, no less.

    So the way this song is actually analyzed is it's based on 2 chords: C and F. In C major the roman numeral analysis is I - IV - I - IV etc. On the I chords you can play C, E or G and it will sound good. On the IV chord you can play F, A or C and it sounds good. If you want to play scales over those, on I play C-D-E-F-G-A-B and on IV play F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E. No modes, no secondary dominants that don't resolve.
  4. Yeah, and they are the Staples Singers, not Staple Singers. Pops Staples, Mavis Staples, etc.
  5. tonym

    tonym Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2011
    Their family name is "Staples" but the group is the Staple Singers, at least according to all of my albums. ;)

  6. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    +1 :smug:
  7. Dang! I stand corrected. Staple Singers, who knew?
  8. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    It's okay.

    Ain't nobody cryin'.

    Ain't nobody worried. :D
  9. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    I'll take you there @ 12:53 by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

    Bakithi Kumalo's take on that bassline, embellished and tastefully done.
  10. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    If you don't like playing REPETITIVE "grooving" bass lines, start playing Free Jazz, or switch to Flute.

    Thanks for reminding me about that iconic and fundamental for the song bass line.
    I would be very careful trying to "play (any) fills" without
    (1) destroying the groove and making the bassline
    (2) "too busy and unattractive".

    Anyway, I would stay away from Bb (!)
  11. Mind explaining why?
  12. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
  13. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013

    Back to you.
    Comedian (and a singing piano player) Tim Minchin

    Taken from Tim Minchin and The Heritage Orchestra (Live at the Royal Albert Hall)
  14. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    I'm going to suggest that the harmony is really:

    ||: C | F F/G :||

    The bass line is constructed by using a C Major Pentatonic (C, D, E, G, A) during the C-chord, and F Major Pentatonic (F, G, A, C, D) during the F-chord.

    The bass plays a "G" on beat three of the 2nd measure. This "implies" a V chord.

    There is no "B" nor "Bb" used. However, during the | F F/G | measure, one could use a B-natural.

    Not sure where the thinking of using an F-Major scale during the F-chord (i.e., IV-chord in the Key of C-Major), is coming from.

    The progression is simply in C-Major. The chords (implied, as well) are diatonic -- ||: I | IV V :|| -- the V being implied. Or, think of it as a Gsus.
  15. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I'm not a good educator.
    The modern Lydian musical scale
    three whole tones, a semitone, two more whole tones, and a final semitone.
  16. Yes, that's a Lydian scale. However, just because this tune is in C, and there's an F chord in the music, doesn't translate to "see F, play Lydian." Every note is an option; you just have to know how to use them. To the best of my knowledge, David Hood never played a Bb in the original recording, but that doesn't mean that someone else could incorporate that pitch.
  17. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    Please, incorporate that pitch, Bb, rearrange the song.
    You are the creator of your basslines.
    What's more, there are a few Bb vocal notes.
  18. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    An interesting story behind the song:
    CLASSIC TRACKS: The Staple Singers I'll Take You There

    BeBe + CeCe Winans -- I'll Take You There

    Whitney Houston (angelic Whitney) BeBe Winans & Marvin Winans Singing I'll Take You There
    The song starts at 1:56.
    (The keyboard player is using a lot of chord substitutions. You decide if it's OK)

    About your "implied" V chord.
    Only as implied.

    And, yes, Bb, notes "during the | F F/G |" were/are used in vocal and horn arrangements.

    Sorry, I said it.
    I truly don't want to be argumentative.

    P.S. What if the rhythm guitar played C and Dm7?
  19. :confused::confused::confused:

    And how will that re-arrange the song? I truly can't tell if you're being inquisitive or sarcastic.
  20. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    It's the song's "implied" V chord.

    Absolutely. Not listening at this moment, but I suspect the "Bb's" are more in the style of Blues inflections -- not quite a Bb. And they work great in the upper registers. And most importantly - how they are used. But not as chord tones.

    Could work: ||: C | Dm7/F Dm7/G :||

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