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I need some definitons.

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by 311 fan, Jan 26, 2001.

  1. 311 fan

    311 fan

    Sep 24, 2000
    La Verne, CA
    I need to hear this from a pro. What are chords, harmonics, scales, and time signatures? I have basic ideas of them, but id like to hear it from a pro. Ive hears they can be very important, so id like to find out what I can about them, since im not taking lessons. Your all free to write back as well. Thanx
  2. basslax


    Apr 20, 2000
    Washington, DC
    i guess you would like a reply so.. (i know a couple will be wrong)

    chord- a group of notes played together--I.e. on the song plain(311 of course) the intro is just tim playing chords-its not just one note its a few put together--not incredibly common on bass but there out there

    harmonic-a note played by lightly touching the string and plucking-try placing you finger right on the string at the 12th fret (very lightly-press down) and pluck the string and you will hear a not and remove your finger from the string and it will ring

    scales- a group of notes played sequencially (sp?) ie do re me fa so la ti do

    time signature tells how many beats are in a measure-ie 4/4 youls 4 beats per measure with a quater note as one beat(counted one two thre four..two two three four..three two three four each section is a measure)
    3/4 would be three beats per measure and a quarter note is one beat

    whew i dont feel like proofreading so there ya go
  3. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi, sorry for the delay - I was touring California for two weeks! (thanks to everyone who came to the gigs, BTW...)


    chords - more than one note at a time, labelled according to the relationship of the notes to one another and to the harmony of the tune. EG - C E G is a C major chord, C Eb G is a C minor chord etc...

    harmonics - try touching the string over the 5th fret, right over the fret, don't push it down, now pick it with your right hand and the resultant high climing note is a harmonic - the physics of it is to do with splitting the string into smaller length subdivisions...

    Scales - a sequence of notes that relate to one another in the context of a key or 'exotic' harmonic flavour. If you play from C to C, no sharps or flats, just 'natural notes' - C D E F G A B C - you get a C major scale. That note set forms the key of C major...

    time signature relates to the pulse of a piece of music - when you count along with the song, does the rhythm cycle in groups of 4, 5, 6, 8????? if you count 1,2,3,4,1 etc... and the accent is on the 1, then the chances are it's in 4/4, that is 4 quarter notes in a bar...

    to give any kind of in depth explaination of this would take pages and pages of text. Your best bet is to buy a book - check out Carol Kaye's resources via her site - http://www.carolkaye.com and also 'The Improvisors Bass Method' by Chuck Sher, or for something a big bigger and deeper, try 'The Jazz theory book' by Mark Levine... the introductions above are simplistic in the extreme, and don't really work outside of the context of trying them out, so I'd urge you to find a friend that will explain them with musical examples, or get a good book... ultimately, one on one tuition is the quickest and most effective way to learn...

    good luck

    (Live in London - March 2nd, supporting David Friesen - see http://www.solobassnetwork.org.uk for more info)
  4. basslax


    Apr 20, 2000
    Washington, DC
    so i was right after all...hmm scary

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