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Jamming in The Key Of

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by 1zero, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. 1zero


    May 20, 2005
    in general what does that mean? i've heard this being said regularly and have no idea what it means...when someone says "play in the key of A" does that mean we play based on the A chord or Amaj/minor scale?i'm really interested to know as i've signed up for my college's music group and am afraid that i'll be in a situation where i 'd need knowledge of something like this..thx ppl
  2. It refers to the scale you'll mostly be using. To know which chords to play, you'll need to know the chord progression being used. Or maybe just guess, but the former is usually better.
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Hopefully they will tell you whats going on with the progression. Although for experienced players there are different 'shortcut' ways to talk about chords. Such as: 8, or 12 bar blues (they might say, long form or short form), or 1/6/4/5, which would refer to the scales steps the chords are built on (this is the most common progression for Do-Wop or 50 R+R among other kinds of music) or "Rhythm Changes" in which case they are talking about the chord progression for "I've Got Rhythm" (think "Flintsones"). All of those cover about 47.5 million songs. Of course there are others.

    One thing you can be sure of is: at some point in time everyone in the group had to learn this stuff, or is learning it. And that means--- If you don't know what something means, ASK! Jamming with good players can be a tad intimidating at first... get over it, you'll have some of the best times of your musical life and learn a bunch. Have fun.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yeah - I've heard people say : "Blues in F" or "Rhythm Changes" starting on ...

    But just saying : play in a key ...not really!! :meh:
  5. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Rhythm Changes in anything but Bb . . . . that's weird.
  6. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005

    I was at a gig and the guitarist (he's amazing!) called out "freeform in bm7"... I was lost :( lol
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    It's a rock/funk thing as I've seen it. I've heard "let's jam in "insert key here" many, many times. It usually means no real chord progressions, just sort of grooving on the tonic for a while and then expanding from there.
  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ha, check out my sig.

    When playing country you are usually given the key and the title of the song. Knowing the key gives you a huge hint what the first chord might be (but not always).

    Given the key you know that the chords used will probably be I V IV II VI in order of most common usage, not what the order will actually be. i.e. Two common sequences are I IV V and I V so I rank V as more common than IV.

    You can now do roots or root/fifths until you work out the chord sequence. Once you know the chord sequence, you will hit a bridge ;) But really, once you know the chord sequence you can start adding fills.
  9. Blake Bass

    Blake Bass Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2006
    Montgomery, Texas
    I reccomend taking a music theory class or finding a good teacher in your area. If you spend one month studying scales and key signatures you'll be able to answer your own question quite competently.
  10. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    When I hear this at a jam, it's usually being said by a guitarist who wants to just freak out and solo. It feels pretty limiting to me, so sometimes I'll suggest changes (like the ones mentioned above, 1645, 251, etc.), sometimes I get blank looks, but mostly I get a literal reading of the progression. Where they'll just play those chords over and over until we stop. So i'll suggest things..."Why don't you alter the chords, or "How about some substitutions?". These also are often followed by odd looks...
    Ho hum.
    That's the plight of this weekend warrior.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yup - if I heard something like that, I'd think the person didn't really know what they were talking about, was wasting my time and I would be out of there as quickly as possible! :meh:
  12. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    +1 for that. But, I played in a band that was run by a trumpet player and we always played it in E. (the first time that was called I had the cobwebs cleaned out of my head!)
  13. Its the B# that throws me...
  14. gop_jeff


    Feb 18, 2006
    Puyallup, WA
    When they call that, tell them you prefer Dbb instead. :cool:
  15. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    Isn't Bb the most common key for Rhythm Changes? Oleo is in Bb.

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