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Difference between classical and jazz/rock?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by redgress17, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. redgress17


    Sep 27, 2009
    I'm not sure if I've just been having the wrong impression, because as classically trained double bassist, I didn't start thinking about music theory until recently. I feel like playing the 4th and 5th chord tone is a lot more common in classical music, and playing the 3rds and 5ths are more common jazz/rock.

    Is this a true statement, for the most part?

    I am new to chord analysis so I might be totally wrong... help mehaha
  2. What I see in Pop, Rock and Country is roots, fives, and eights as the safe go to bass lines. Need more then the 3's and 7's come into the picture. I never go above the 7's. Leaving the higher notes to the solo instruments.

    R-3-5-3 is one of my safe generic bass lines for major chords. I also like R-3-5-6 for major chords.

    But, roots and root-fives with chromatic runs to the next chord is my bread and butter. I very seldom play any minor chords as the music I play is 99% major key, dirt simple, I IV V chord progression.
  3. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    You may still need a bit of clarity ....in most music, classical included, when you go to the 4th you are probably rooting a new chord.

    4ths, within chords, usually only exist in jazz styles where quartal harmony is used or as an upper extension ie: 11th

    and of course suspended chords in pop music etc.

    Here's your basic chord types and breakdown:

    Major = 1, 3, 5

    Minor = 1, b3, 5

    7th or dominant = 1, 3, 5, b7

    Diminished = 1, b3, b5, bb7

    Augmented = 1, 3, #5

    half diminished = 1, b3, b5, b7
  4. redgress17


    Sep 27, 2009

    ok. so in most types of music, the 4th is most likely a part of a new chord?
  5. Not always, but think of the typical chord cadence in "pure" classical music, like Mozart or Haydn (the ||: and :|| are "repeats):

    ||: I - IV - I - V :||

    If you visualize this as chord modulations (assuming key of C):

    ||: C - F - C - G :||

    Of course, the 4 could also be a suspension (Csus4 as an example), which typically resolves down a minor second, returning you to the root triad.

    Once you get into later (romantic-era and eventually 20th century avant garde, 12-tone, chromatic, etc...), all this goes out the window :)
  6. The way I understand it. In a bass line the 2 and 4 are best used as passing notes. OK to use just keep them passing.

    Here is a little something I live by:

    Generic notes for your bass line.
    • The root, five and eight are generic and fit most any chord. Remember the diminished has a flatted 5.
    • The 3 is generic to all major chords.
    • The b3 is generic to all minor chords.
    • The 7 is generic to all maj7 chords.
    • The b7 is generic to all dominant seventh and minor seventh chords.
    • The 6 is neutral and adds color, help yourself to 6’s.
    • The 2 and 4 make good passing notes. Don’t linger on them or stop on them, keep them passing.
    • In making your bass line help yourself to those notes, just use them correctly.
    • Roots, fives, eights and the correct 3 and 7 will play a lot of bass.
  7. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    Sig'd :bassist:

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