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Help - What notes are applicable for non-scale notes?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by rabid_granny, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. I've encountered this situation many times and no one has given me a good answer.

    Let's say I'm playing in the scale of C. I'm playing a chord progression that goes G F# F C. Each note gets one bar.

    G is the fifth so I can hit notes in the mixolydian mode. F is the fourth so I can hit notes in the lydian mode.

    What about the F#? If I wanted to arpeggiate a chord, what chord would it be? Minor? Major? A mix? Other than a C# (fifth), I can't really feel out something good.

    Help. I need to write a decent bassline.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well you need to know what type of chord the F# is? Is it a major, minor, dominant - where are you getting this chord progression from?

    Chord progressions I see written, have things like GMin, G7 etc. etc.

    You need this information to be able to decide - unless you are hearing the chords and can do it by ear, as well as analysis.

    "Does not compute - insufficient data!!" ;)
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Thinking about this again - the answer is that you are not playing in C Major for the bar that has an F# chord, as C Major doesn't have a chord with F# as the root.

    You have effectively moved temporarily into another key and if you want to work out what to play, you have to work out what key you are in -

    so for example, you could consider your first two bars to be in G, with the F# as the Locrian and your second two bars in C - although really we just don't have enough information...

    - but basically, as I said, it's easier if you know what type of chord we are looking at for the F#.
  4. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Bruce is right, because you've not qualified whether the chord is Major or minor and because you're not strictly in C Major it's difficult to say what scale/tones to use.

    I'd try line pedalling on D over the G (D=5th) and F# (D=augmented 5th)

    So with the G you play G and D, then with the F# you play F# and D.

    That there's a nice sound, IMO, depends on the context of course.

    You could also try playing the D over the F as well, as a Major 6th - as per your Lydian mode.

    Hope that Helps.

    P.S. If in doubt just find an intersting rhythm using roots - people usually dig that ;)
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Another thing to consider is that the F in your chord progression may not be a maj7. It may not be even functioning as a 4, so Lydian could be out. You've got to get into the function and quality of those chords. (For instance, what if the F is minor?)
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Absolutely.. it's not really possible to say what will work and what wont without knowing what the chords are... and more importantly, without actually hearing the music!

    If the F were minor, the D pedal might still work? :meh:
  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    One way to find out the quality of the chords if you can't hear them without a instrument is to listen to the progression while you're sitting at a keyboard and play the various qualities of chords against what you're hearing.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Just to add to the confusion :D depending on how much dissonance you are willing to allow, you can use ANY note against ANY chord.

    Basic rule of thumb:

    1. Choosing notes that are in the chord will always be consonant.

    2. Choosing notes that are in the scale or mode the chord is derived from will be consonant most of the time.

    3. Choosing notes neither in the chord OR the scale/mode the chord is derived from will be dissonant.

    However, we hear dissonances all the time and accept them. If the dissonant note is not on a strong beat or does not last longer than 1/8 note and is followed by a consonant note, it's usually acceptable to the ear.

    A perfect example is leading into a chord tone by a chromatic half step. In a major scale there are only two half steps in the scale (7 <-> 1, 3 <-> 4) so using a half-step approach to any OTHER scale tone is going to be dissonant...yet we hear this all the time because and accept it because of the resolution to a consonant note.
  9. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    "there's be no such dissonance in my song sonny" :D
  10. Here is a clip from the original song. I'm not the bass player in the clip and I could copy the original bassline but that doesn't help me grow as a bassist.

    This clip is in F major. The chord progression given to me is C, B, Bb, F. There are no funny tricks in the song but you will be able to deduce that when you hear it.

    I did not consider changing the key of the song when working through the chord progression. Using the new chord progression, would I play the C and B in the key of C then play the Bb and F in F major?
  11. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    OK, I've not got the best ear for chords, but it sounds like you have a 3 chord progression to me.

    It sounds like C, Bb, F, with two bars on the C. The bass note in the second bar, you're playing B (I think!), sounds dissonant... which is OK if you want that, but it sounds a bit off in that context to me. If you used it as a passing tone it would be easier on the ear, but used as the root for a bar it's a bit much, IMO of course :)

    My advice would be to write down all the notes in the scales associated with each chord to get an understanding of tyhe common chord and scale tones and the uncommon ones.

    All of those triads exist in the key of F Major, F being the I chord, Bb being the IV and C being the V... so you could happily play away in F Major there (FGABbCDE)


    C is the resting chord, the tonic - where the turnaround is heading for - so I think it's best to think of it in the key C... and you have the right feel going there, with the drums and bass all heading for the resolve back into C, fills etc

    As for as harmonic function of each chord, well, I have to admit I'm little stumped - I have some ideas, but they're confused. Can anyone shed any light on this?
  12. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Sounds like...

    C, Emin/B(a little hard to hear, but sounds like the guitar is playing the the B E G voicing) Bb F.

    Though there are other combinations, these notes seem to sound good over the progression.

    C E G E D C, B E G E D B, Bb D F D Bb, F A C E F E
  13. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002

    I assume it's E-/B purely bass plays B as the root in that bar.

    It's just that the B sounds a little out of place to me, which it shouldn't do if the chord is E-
    I'm also not hearing any change between the 1st and 2nd bars... maybe the guitar melody is fooling me there?

    I'll be the first to admit I've not got the most trained ear!

    I like this game :)
  14. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You sort of have to focus on what the rhythm guitar is doing bar by bar. It's easier to hear, if you play along with a keyboard, or play the chords on your bass if you have an extended range instrument i.e. something with a high C. The second inversion Emin(Emin/B) chord fits right in there.
  15. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Just so you know, I'm not arguing, just into the discussion :)

    Am I right in saying that in this conext there's no real difference in terms of harmonic function between:

    a) the rhythm guitar playing CMaj and the bass playing B, so the notes played, in lowest to highest pitch order, are = B C E G


    b) the rhythm guitar playing 2nd inversion E- and the bass playing B, so the notes played are B B E G

    ...because E- is the 1st inversion of CMaj - they are essentially interchangable?

    I'm sat at my PC at work - the only thing I did to check my theory was find this dodgy midi keyboard on the interweb to quickly check my theory by hearing the root motion!

  16. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I think they sound different i.e. B C E G vs B B E G.
  17. I just came back from rehearsal and discussed the chords with the guitarist. It's a C/B chord so the chord progression is: C, C/B, Bb, F. (He demonstrated it and I should have wrote down the fingering because it didn't look like a standard C chord - he likes to voice chords differently.)

    So on the C/B, I'm playing the B as the basis for that bar and can do anything I want in a locrian mode?
  18. play what sounds right
  19. Easier said that done. I would like to know if there is any applicable theory that I can use. So far, what I have gathered is that I could temporarily change keys.

    However, now that I know it is a slash chord, I would like to know how to work around it. I know what the definition of a slash chord is but I don't know how to apply that to this music.
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    C/B is basically CMaj7 with the bass playing the 7th. You can play C major or B lochrian.. I;d stick with the C Major personally, and ust accent the B.

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