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Going from I to V with 2 beats each

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by Forest, Feb 2, 2020.

  1. Forest


    Aug 9, 2011
    Just a quick question about proper bluegrass approaches when going from I to V when there are two beats to each chord. For example, say F to C. If I was just doing the usual root 5 sequence then I'd already be on the C the beat before. Is the norm just to repeat the C, or in such cases to walk up to it more, like F, A (the third) and then C?
  2. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    As you imply, we generally don't want to lead into a chord change with the root of the new chord.


    1-8-5-2 or 8-1-5-2;
  3. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Plenty of Blue Grass and CW basslines feature
    This is root 5th for I and V chords.

    Obviously if the progression is I V I V I V... for an extended time, you don't want to play the same pattern all the time. But I don't think you have to particularly avoid ever playing |1-5|5-2| ...just don't play it all the time.

    I would also suggest adding some walk ups and walk downs.

    You might play |1-5| then jump down the octave to 5 in bar two to camouflage that you are repeating the same note; then walk back up to the I |5-67|.


    Note: Depending on the arrangement and the musicians you are playing with, the preceding 8 bars may be considered great or way too busy. You might only want to do a walk up/down at the end of the 8 bar phrase, and stay squarely in two the rest of the time.

    Hopefully my notation is clear. A number followed by - is a half note, for example 1- indicates a tonic half note. Tow numbers together are quarter notes, for example 67 indicates a quarter note played on the 6th and 7th scale degrees. Bold and underlined numbers are played below the tonic For example 5-67 is a half note played on the 5th followed by quarter notes played on 6th and 7th walking up to the tonic.
  4. Bar Star

    Bar Star

    Nov 4, 2018
    Thanks to both of you for the alternative approaches and the OP for the question. I have wondered often but never thought to ask TB. I will now go and shed your ideas with a metronome!
    Wasnex likes this.
  5. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    The 3rd and 7th scale degrees are great leading tones, I tend to throw them in judiciously playing grass. For whatever reason I've never been a fan of hitting the same note twice in traditional 1-5 lines. Repeating notes is good for a 2-feel, good for pedaling, good for a lot of things. Just not bouncy 1-5 lines. /opinion :D
    Dabndug likes this.
  6. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    The 3 and the 7 are good leading tones ... leading to the IV. In a major key, there is no great leading tone from I to V. I do like @Wasnex's suggestion of the using a 5 leading to its octave. There's also using 4 to lead to the V.
    Wasnex and unbrokenchain like this.
  7. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    Maybe "leading" isn't a good word for the 3 on the way from the 1 chord to the 5 chord, but it sounds very consonant and in-place to my ear, just the start of an arpeggio. But I do think the 7 leads very well back into the 1 (8).
    AGCurry and Wasnex like this.
  8. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    |1-34|5-2-| In our I V progression, all of these are chord tones except 4. I would call the 4th a passing tone.

    The concept of leading tone is related to voice leadind and the tendency of voices to move to the closest chord tones. Normally we thing of the leading tone as the maj 7th leading up a half step to tonic. But you can also have an upper leading done that wants to come down a half step to the nearest chord tone.
    AGCurry and unbrokenchain like this.
  9. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    In the example, bar of C then a bar of G7, I would probably play one of

    C-C-G-D or C-A-G-D most often. If you play C-G-G-D it sounds like the G7 chord started half a bar before it did.
  10. I agree that I would be mostly likely to just repeat the C twice in this example. C-C-G-D. Especially during the middle of a verse where walking might be too busy.
  11. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO, Nothing wrong with the occasional CGGD, even if you don't drop the octave G to G.

    IMHO you are all making way too much of the G in the bass implying the V chord. If you just played the I chord you would probably play |CGCG|CGCG| and no one would think anything of it.

    The bass will play on beat 1 and 3 and a harmonic instrument like guitar, mandolin, or banjo will probably accent the I chord on 2 and the V chord on 4. |Boom Chunk Boom Chunk|Boom Chunk Boom Chunk|. I.E.No one will hear a five chord implied when you play the G on beat 2 because one of the harmonic instruments will be playing a I chord.
    marcox likes this.
  12. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    I agree that people are unlikely to get confused, but I still think playing C G G D for a C major chord followed by a G major chord, doesn't sound smooth. Even if the other musicians aren't going to be confused, it's still introducing a G sound half a measure early.
    Jake deVilliers likes this.

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