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I've no knowledge of music theory, so....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rockin John, Jan 29, 2002.

  1. Here's what might be the silliest question for a while.

    We messed about with a cover last rehersal, changing it about for our own needs.

    We played it in D. I found that the following notes each sounds fine when played individually, with the note, D:

    D,C,G, Bflat,C,D.

    Obviously D is the octave, and I guess the others form part of the key of D.

    The guitarist plays all those chords whilst I hit D on the bass. They all sound fine except Bflat.

    I'm not sure what's happening here.

    Any wisdom, please guys?


  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    B flat is min6 in key of D. Maybe okay as passing tone to D7. Would be at home in Locrian mode, or if, say, modulating to G minor.

    Don't need theory. If sounds wrong, no play. No play.
  3. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    moved to GI
  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    tee-hee. You crack me up Ed.
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Fuqua here! Fuqua smart!
  6. Try to learn a little more about chords John, find out how the diferent chords are built.

    Also ask the guitar player what kind of chord it is, I have played with tons of guitar players who will say "D", personally I would assume D major, sometimes this is not the case.

    Also learn what the different thirds sound like, if you can hear that you will have taking a big chunk out of relying on the guitar players knowledge.
  7. The point is if you have knowledge of theory then the you would come up with those lines twice as fast. You know when you can hear what you want in your head? Well with theoretical knowledge you can realise it instantly. Plus you can work out covers a lot quicker by hearing the chord changes and relatong them to your knowledge. I believe theory and feel go hand in hand to create a musician. Everything you do can be analysed by means of theory. Its good to understand the language of music as well as speak it..
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Thank you, WACOSHROUD, for saving me the trouble of posting what you just did. For a minute, while I was reading NEWAGEFISHERMAN's post, I thought we were gonna get into that whole "Is ThEoRy ReAlLy GoOd 4u, Or WiLl It OnLy MaKe U pLaY wItH nO fEeLiNg CuZ i NeW tHiS gUy WhO nEw ThEoRy WhO cOuLdN't RoCk Ne MoRe OnCe He LeRnT tHeOrY" discussion again, since it seems to pop up every couple of months or so. Thanks for nipping that in the bud, Bud. :)

  9. :D Well i try my best :D :D
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Man, there's a whole lotta 'players' that are having careers in music & MTV & all that...and they're not even in Clayton's league.
    On the flip-side, there's musical 'geniuses' that were homeless(Charles Gayle), dish washers(Cecil Taylor), & insurance salesmen(Charles Ives).
    Back in my 20s, I used to fret about this...no more.
    I mean, c'mon...in a world's that fair, would JLo outsell William Parker?! C'mon... ;)

    Secondly, IMHO, FEEL can be taught...it takes hours of listening, thinking, studying, etc. Granted, some are born with 'it', though, a schlep like me needs all the help I can get.
    Anyway, studying theory & rhythm & composition, for me anyway, has only enhanced the musical quest.
    Too, it saves a helluva lotta time, when discussing 'things'...
  11. Dizzy Gillespie always said that he had to teach himself feel. He didn't have that natural blues that Bird, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins had.

    Despite this who can say that Diz had no feel? not me. He also said he learned feel through theory and technique.

    Everyone has feel. Just some can access it more greatly than others.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think of course that the last few replies are right, but there is another thing which John's case highlights. Do you want to always be relying on the guitar player for what you do?

    As has been mentioned - they get stuck in ruts and will play the same few chords they know how to get their hands around. Far better to have some input into the song writing process yourself - more royalties!! Plus it will give you more interest.

    I have written whole sets for rock/pop bands and it made the whole thing far more interesting and exciting to play - rather than just slavishly following the guitarist and watching what (s)he's doing - far better to lead and have him/her trying to catch up with you! ;)

    U2 is also probably a case in point - Bono and the Edge obviously write all the material and most likely tell Clayton exactly what to play. Now they are good Irish boys and have remained loyal - but they could have chucked Clayton out and replaced him with 500 different bassists and nobody would have noticed the difference - except Clayton himself! :(

    I saw it happen loads of times in the 80s - guitarist and singer write the songs and dump the bass player and drummer when they feel like it! How about the Smiths - hugely successful in Britain, but the bassist and drummer have had to fight long legal battles to get a penny out of this while Morrissey and Marr took everything.

    Learn theory - write the best songs or chord sequences - better than the guitarist anyway - and become indispensible to the band! Otherwise - be constantly nervous that you could be "dumped" at any time - most likely when you start making money! :rolleyes:
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I agree with this, and I think it is an issue which most bass players could spend more time addressing. Harmony is one of the fundamental aspects of music...and just because you play an instrument whose role (most of the time) is to play monophonic lines doesn't mean that understanding harmony won't help you.

    As bassists, our job is to play the foundation of the harmony. Wouldn't it make sense to say that it's a good idea to know what you are playing the foundation OF? I highly recommend that players of all (primarily) monophonic instruments spend some time learning some basic harmony on a polyphonic instrument such as piano or guitar (especially piano). This type of study opens many doors in bassplaying because new possibilities present themselves when you understand the totality of the harmony rather than just the bottom of it.
  14. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Don't confuse pop hero's with studied musicians. A group of people with musical instruments can get together with very little musical knowledge and sound pretty good and look really good and get promoted by the industry. And there you go, a career in music. This is a generalization and not to be interpeted as the standard, but is really pretty common. Take a some talent with very little musical knowledge and exploit it. You don't have to be studied to sound good. To grow and expand as a musician theory will help exponentially.

    ED......False modulation? Is that where you might stay in the same key and just change the chord pattern?
  15. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    FWIW has anyone ever read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Part of the book is about the aesthetic experience of riding a motorcycle versus the technical experience of understanding how the thing actually works.

    With my church band I have about 2 hours to learn 3 new songs every other week I have found a little theory goes a long way.

    Besides don't any of the theory bashers find the nuainces of the fret board even remotely interesting. Most theory can be found as patterns on the fretboard.

    New Wave, I can't believe this topic is coming up yet again. All the guys here who post in the general instruction area Jazzbo, Ed, Chris, Bruce...... have helped me out more times than I can count with theory concepts. If your nice they might even recommend a cheap book to help you get started.
  16. I disagree. Its not the theory that makes you able to play this but ear-training.

    Again, the level your ear is trained is at least as important as theory. A II-V progression could also be IV-V and if you don't HEAR the difference you are lost but if you hear it and don't know the theory background you are still fine.

    Even though I have a solid knowledge of theory I think theory is often overrated (or overvalued?, sorry I am not a native speaker).

    And to NewWaveBasser:
    If you WANT to learn theory there is a ton of good books that you can get in a library or you will find lessons on the internet.
  17. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Why would you feel bad about it? I can't believe you've been here for almost a year now, and still don't know that these guys live for mutulating peoples names. To me it's innocent fun, and I wouldn't worry about it. Try to see the humour in it, instead of looking for excuses to whine.
  18. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Rockin' John? Any news yet on what exactly the value of the chords are that your guitarist friend is playing?

    Is it too soon for an update?


    Nov 22, 2001
    Columbus ohio
    try and hit the root notes of each chord change is a good start
  20. If history repeats itself I think we have about 2 more pages to go.

    Getting to the point sometimes that you have to PM knowledge.

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