key Signatures

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by God_of_bass, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. When reading notation, say in the key of G, and the key has the followng sharp note F# then reading isn't so bad. However what method do you serious readers use whne working in keys with lots of sharps. Do you memorize the sharpened notes or rely on hours of scale practice? just wondering..
  2. dirk


    Apr 6, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    Well, having learned to read music on trombone, I didn't have much practice in sharp keys, so I used the knowing the scale method at first, but now I just read the notes because now I'm more accustomed to the sharp keys. But usually when I'm improvising a line I use a lot of non-key tones and rely more on voice leading in my lines. But scales are the best place to start, I've been told by teachers that scales are the ABCs of music.

  3. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    Yes, playing scales in all keys and saying the name of the note you're playing will help. You can write out scales on paper too as an exercise in a lot of diffrent keys and play.

    Another excellent thing to do is to take an easy melody written in C for example and transpose it to another key, like Eb or A etc. and write it out.

    Of course these things aren't particualry fun , but they will give result if you work on them...

  4. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    But isn't it just a question of the position of your fretting hand on the neck. Lets take a scale with lots of sharps: Bmaj. Its all the same pattern, its just where your left hand is initially positioned. Or isn't it that simple?

    If you understand your keys and the scales that they represent, you can "read ahead" or comprehend where a certain piece is going to go. Its like reading a book, groups of words go together and you can read and comprehend more accurately if you've got a good grasp on the language.
  5. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    This is where the Cycle of 5ths comes in handy. I practice each scale going around the Cycle. Here's what I do: Start with C major. I'll read "no sharps, no flats". Then I will play the scale up and down in 2 octaves. Next comes G major. I'll read "1 sharp: F" and then play that the same way and go around through the whole cycle clockwise in 5ths. The next day I may go through the cycle counter-clockwise in 4ths. I'll play C major then the next scale would be F major (1 flat: B). I think it would be of help as well if you say all the notes to yourself as you're playing them. This helps you both memorize the scale and learn the notes on the fingerboard.

    As a drill away from the bass I made up my own flash cards. On the front I wrote the key then on the back I wrote the notes in the key. I try to guess the notes (or the other way around, try to guess the key). You can, of course, do this drill with your bass. Pick a card then see if you can play that scale.

    Hope this helps,

    PS: I also wanted to mention something about learning your scales by pattern. Your scales can be played as a "moveable scale" up and down the fingerboard. However, if you only become accustomed to learning your scales in this way it will be extremely difficult down the road to learn your notes as "separate entities".