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Newbie question - Reading music. Is my book wrong? (with pics)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bizarroStormy, Feb 19, 2003.


  1. bizarroStormy

    bizarroStormy

    Feb 16, 2003
    Hi everyone! I just bought myself a bass and I was told that this is a great place to get help, so here I am.
    Quick history:
    I took guitar lessons as a kid for about a year. Then took drum lessons for a couple months, stopped the lessons but continued playing drums for about 2 years.
    I'm now 30 and want to learn myself bass guitar.
    I still remember a little bit about reading music from my guitar lessons but that's about it.
    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a teacher yet since I work second shift and no one I can find does morning or Saturday lessons (I'll keep trying). However, until then, I'm teaching myself.
    I bought a book called "Bass Guitar Scale Manual" and I'm practicing the scales in it but the book seems a little weird.
    It has regular musical notation and tabs to show you where and what to play. But some of the tabs don't seem to jive with the notation.
    I took some pics of what I'm talking about:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the first pic, it shows the G as being played on the first string, first fret. Is that right? Isn't G just an open first string?

    The second pic shows some of the same notes from the first pic being played with different fingers. I guess this is just to practice all your fingers but what is the correct way to play? How do I know (when reading music) which fingers should play which notes?

    Please help! I'm confused! :bawl:

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Ignore the Tabs and concentrate on the key signature!! ;)
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hint - G# !!

    The key signature is specifying G#, C# and F# !
     
  4. bizarroStormy

    bizarroStormy

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ah yes, key signature! Very good advice.

    Um...what's a key signature? :confused:
    (remember bizarroStormy==newbie :) )
     
  5. CS

    CS

    Dec 11, 1999
    UK
    OK see those 3 #'s at the beginning of the music? They are known as sharps and tell you that the key has 3 sharps. Bruce has told you which notes are sharp. So these notes are always sharp unless you are 'told' otherwise.
     
  6. ldiezman

    ldiezman

    Jul 11, 2001
    Nashville
    Key signature is basically how you can identify what key you are playing in.

    for instance. the key of C major you will see no sharp or flat signs in the key signature just after the bass clef sign. see if this helps with identifying your keys



    #= sharps:
    0 #- C major
    1 #- G major ( f sharp)
    2 #- D major ( f,c sharp)
    3 #- A major ( f,c,g sharp)
    4 #- E major (f,c,g,d sharp)
    5 #- B major (f,c,g,d,a sharp)
    6 #- F# major (f,c,g,d,a,e sharp)
    7 #- C# major (f,c,g,d,a,e,B sharp)

    b= flats

    1 b- F major (B flat)
    2 b- Bb major (B,E flat)
    3 b- Eb major (B,E,A flat)
    4 b- Ab major (B,E,A,D flat)
    5 b- Db major (B,E,A,D,G flat)
    6 b- Gb major (B,E,A,D,G,C flat)
    7 b- Cb major (B,E,A,D,G,C,F flat)

    those are you major Keys... thats the basic way to look at it... the best way to learn this is by looking at the circle of Fifths progresson... you book may or may not have it. You can probably find it on the internet somewhere...
     
  7. ldiezman

    ldiezman

    Jul 11, 2001
    Nashville
     
  8. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Generally, lists of key signatures go all the way up to 7 sharps/7 flats - though, really, you kinda cover all the bases after the first 6. That is, the keys of C# major (and therefore A# minor), and Cb major (and therefore Ab minor) have enharmonic equivalents with fewer flats/sharps. So, C# major/A# minor (7 sharps) is equivalent to Db major/Bb minor (5 flats), and Cb major/Ab minor (7 flats) is equivalent to B major/G# minor (5 sharps).

    So, you could say that key sigs with 7 sharps/flats are not necessary - why bother with 7 sharps/flats when you can do it with 5?

    Maybe there are circumstances when it would be preferable to use C# major/A# minor, or Cb major/Ab minor. But I can't think of any.
     
  9. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    I'm not really going to add anything useful, but here's a diagram to help.

    As well, moley, it's true that 6 and 7 sharps/flats are a bit redundant, but they can be used just as any other. Just some more options... composers have been known to use even more, double sharping/double flatting notes in the key sig. I suppose just more keys that sound the same. They wouldn't have sounded the same at all under natural temperence though.
     
  10. Bizzaro, the key signature is the #'s or b's that you can see next to the bass clef symbol. This means that throughout the song you play all those notes flattened or sharpened as indicated by the key signature. Now say we have a Bb in a bar (as shown by key signature) and then you see a B with a funny little symbol in front of it (looks like a square with 2 vertical line coming off it, one on the top right and the other on the bottom left) then you actually play the natural B.

    HOpe this helps.

    PS read what the other guys have written explaining key signatures.
     
  11. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah they would. Even on a untempered piano, F# and Gb are the same physical key. And Gbb and E# are the same physical key. The key sig thing only makes a difference to what name you give the key - it's still the same note you're hitting, no matter what you call it!
     
  12. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    I suppose you're right. That is interesting then... ah well.
     
  13. Ziggy

    Ziggy

    May 9, 2001
    Orange County, CA
    Bizzaro,

    Next time you're shopping for a music book, you might take a peek through some beginning music theory instruction... "circle of 5th's" comes to mind;^o

    michael s.
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I know that this argument doesn't belong in this thread, but players of instruments which have microtonal control of their intonation (like strings and period winds) would play enharmonic pitches very differently than a keyboard would or could. There are longstanding debates among musicologists about this subject.

    (End highjacking :) )
     
  15. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    True, true, but I was hoping no-one would pick me up on that :D

    All I meant, is that even with "natural temperament", there is no difference (theoretically, that is) between A# and Bb etc.

    As a practical issue, like you say, with fretless strings and the like they could well be different (depending on the context and the player).

    But, from the point of view of keys, I'm not sure there's even a practical difference. Do you reckon the same player would intonate the same piece differently depending on whether it's written in A# Major or Bb Major? I'm not sure, but I wouldn't have thought so.
     
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Obviously, keyboard players have no control over intonation (excluding synth players, of course). But before equal temperment was accepted as the standard, the further away from the "key" of C major you got, the more "Wolf Tones" you brought into the mix, to the point where certain keys were damn near unlistenable when played on the keyboards of the time which were tuned by any of the previous systems which relied heavily on "pure" tuning of intervals. In fact, J.S. Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier" (book I) was the first published work to include music notated in all 24 keys (12 Major, 12 Minor), and it has been argued that much of Bach's inspiration to create this great work came from the fact that equal temerment made such an undertaking possible for the first time.
     
  17. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yup, that is my understanding of it.
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I mentioned this to the trombone player in our band, who is a music teacher and was trained classically - he plays bass trombone as well as normal.

    But he did say that on Trombone he does approach different keys differently and will play intervals differently - I think in Jazz solos, you can hear these differences, so a trombone solo has a very different character to sax and especially piano and some people hear this as the trombone being out of tune - whereas ironically, it may be the trombone is accurate and the piano just an approximation!! ;)
     
  19. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Depending on what you call accurate, of course. If you call the tempered pitch accurate, then the piano is perfectly accurate. Whereas if you call the natural/untempered pitch accurate, then the piano would be an approximation.
     
  20. You know, this poor guy just needs to know what a key signature is! :D