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How would you write this?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bearhart74, Jan 14, 2020.


  1. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    I scored a fun gig with a band doing all original stuff and i have to come up with some bass parts.
    As i construct them i want to write them out and wonder how you experts would assign a key to the following progression in the verse of a song.
    All major chords ...
    G A# A G# ||:
     
  2. punkrocko

    punkrocko

    Jun 18, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    I would write it:
    G Bb A Ab
    It's hard to say as there is nothing diatonic if they are all Major. What does the rest of the song do?
     
  3. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Tricky. The only key in which all 4 notes are diatonic is Bb minor (G, Ab, A, Bb), which has 5b in the signature. Unfortunately, of the diatonic chords available with those notes as roots, only the Ab is Major (Ab, C, Eb). The rest are minor (Bb, Db, F) or diminished (A, C, Eb and G, Bb, Db). So you will need accidentals.
     
  4. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Their is an intro part that is G and C that is used in other places in the song but its the only place that C shows up.
    The chorus uses G, Bm, Am, D.

    And no i didnt write the song
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  5. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    That is all clearly key of G (I, iii, ii & V), and the C is diatonic as IV of G.
     
    johnny_bolt, MCF, Koog and 1 other person like this.
  6. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    Then ill explore writing out my part in G and see how messy it gets...
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    You will have to do what jazz musicians call "make the changes" or in other words, choose notes that support the chord of the moment. You won't be able to simply breeze through playing the same note or scale through the whole section. When in doubt, roots are often a safe note choice.
     
  8. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Why in god’s name would you want — or need — to indicate a key signature for that piece?

    Just write the notes/chords, include accidentals as necessary, and be done with it.
     
  9. Biggbass

    Biggbass

    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    G
     
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Because educated musicians like to know what key we are playing in. Knowing the key center helps us feel comfortable and at home in the song, and informs our note selection. Clearly it is a tonal composition in the key of G Major, so what is the benefit of not knowing that critical piece of information?

    The section that walks down Bb-A-Ab-G is simply an old swing/blues/jazz cliche or "turnaround" that you might hear for example in a Stray Cats song. It does not contradict that the overall key of the song might be G Major.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
    fig, BazzaBass, johnny_bolt and 5 others like this.
  11. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    having a key signature in mind helps me to think correctly about the notes i want to play... so when i hit a Bb/A#, for example, if i am thinking G then i think A#...
     
    BazzaBass likes this.
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    With the disclaimer that I haven't heard the song, and I'm going purely off your verbal description:

    I don't think it's A#. I think it's Bb, borrowed from the parallel minor key of G Minor for a "blues" or "jazz" turnaround sound. If you wanted to get fancy you could say it is a type of "tritone substitution" for the VI-II-V-I progression E-A-D-G. Back in my big band days, I played this exact lick (Bb-A-Ab-G) quite frequently. It is a common substitution in Rhythm Changes for example.

    I think the reason a lot of people these days refer to Bb incorrectly as A# is because many brands of digital tuners only show sharps, not flats. ("What note is that? The tuner says it's A# and the tuner is never wrong, so...") ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
    pbass2, SLO Surfer, nnnnnn and 7 others like this.
  13. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I think that’s a exactly the way to look at it from a traditional harmony standpoint. From a blues perspective, I think it’s just a sequence that emphasizes the b3 and strongly leads back to the root. Either way it’s in G.
     
  14. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    In the key of G major the iii is B minor,
    The ii chord is A minor, the V cord is D(7)
     
    lfmn16 likes this.
  15. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    That's what I wrote.
     
    Mushroo likes this.
  16. punkrocko

    punkrocko

    Jun 18, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    Sounds like a bluesy tune in G. I would consider that sequence a:
    I VI II V substituting a bIII for the VI, and a bII for the V.
    You say they're all Maj but I suspect Dom.
    A bluesy tune with some Dom chord subs. Sounds cool.
     
    Minimalist likes this.
  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Also the I chord is GMaj. (LOL ;))
     
    SteveCS likes this.
  18. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Doh!
     
    Mushroo likes this.
  19. I'd call it G minor and be done with it (Bb Major key signature, B and E flats in key sig), then use an accidental for the Ab.
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  20. bearhart74

    bearhart74 Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    if intro:
    G C
    verse:
    G Bb A Ab
    chorus:
    G, Bm, Am, D

    Which chords would you suspect are dom? Just the D at the end of the chorus?

    All: I'm still on the steep end of the theory and harmony learning curve so your patience with possible
    silly questions is seriously appreciated.
     

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