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notes other than chord tones?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ToshitomoriOh, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. ToshitomoriOh


    Jul 28, 2012

    I've been practicing the "spider riff" from MOP by Metallica, and kinda noticed that some of the notes used are not the chord tones of Em, even though the chord progression of that part is Em (at least according to the score I have by cherry lane lol).

    The riff goes like...EFBE FCEF C#EFC EFBB....

    I believe that the notes F, C and C# are not the chord tones of Em, since the notes making up Em are E, G and B.

    Can any of you bass masters guide me on where those non-chord tones come from? Do they come from the scale with which the song was written or else? (I'm like....on which key the song was written in the first place, lol).

    Thank you so much for your attention.
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    They come from the taste of the musicians using them. You can use any note out there in any key or against any chord if you know how to place it properly.
  3. ToshitomoriOh


    Jul 28, 2012
    That's true enough.
  4. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    These types of lines that don't clearly come from any key are part of the evolution of rock music. In the early days of R&R, the chord structures adhered more strictly to blues or jazz theory in that the progressions were either diatonic to a single key, perhaps with a key change at the bridge, or I7 IV7 V7 blues and variations.

    As the genre evolved, more people began playing and, at least in part, the garage band concept interjected more personal experimentation that resulted in a departure from diatonic patterns and such. In some cases, the "out of key" notes can come from blues scales and other identifiable sources, but in other cases, it was simply a matter of choosing notes or chords that sounded good with one another, without any real basis in theory. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, as with most things in art.
  5. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Actually Cliff Burton studied classical theory prior to joining Metallica. He was a big reason the stuff that came out between Kill em All and Justice had these almost Mega Opus forms with tons of tempo and time signature shifts.

    Rev J
  6. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Practice chromatic scale patterns until your fingers bleed and I guarantee why/how non-chord tones work will become apparent. Becoming fluent with the chromatic scale is by far one of the most important things a musician can do.
  7. ToshitomoriOh


    Jul 28, 2012
    I appreciate all your expertise. Cliff's work is definitely beyond my imagination as a beginner.
  8. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I was just looking at the note choices in the riff. With the exception of the C# all of the notes are in E Phrygian (third mode of C) the 3 chord in C is E minor. It looks to me like the riff is in E Phrygian with the C# as a chromatic tension note. That C# against an E minor triad implies a C#dim 7 chord that wants to resolve either down a half step or up a half step. In this case it goes down a half step implying a Cmaj7 (C, E, G, B). The cool thing about this is if you move the C# up a half step to D it resolves to an Emin7 3rd inversion (D,E,G,B). But in this case the resolution is to the VI chord of the mode.

    Rev J
  9. IncX


    Jul 23, 2007
    a lot of things dont make sense in metal, especially when you apply standard theories on them.

    kerry king is a good example ... his solos are way-off scale most of the time. call it sloppy, but it definitely is Slayer.
  10. Reddog01


    Nov 3, 2013
    Georgetown, TX
    Music is made up from more than the notes in the triads (1,3,5). The notes in the triad + the 7th (either major or minor) are called harmonic tones. The other notes in the scale (2,4,6) are non harmonic tones. These non-harmonic tones have special characteristics, and depending on how they are used, have very specific names, i.e.: passing tone, anticipation, suspension, etc. What you are seeing are notes in the scales (not just the triad) being incorporated in the bass line. That C# you see is probably being just a passing tone that gets you to the D, which is the minor 7th of the triad.

    If all this seems like musical mumbo-jumbo, it's really not. It's music theory. When I read the sub-forum on Amps, I get really confused because I just don't have the background in acoustics and electronics to understand some of the postings. Music theory is the same way. It is really a detailed study of what critical attributes make up melody, harmony, and rhythm. In addition to that, one can get into form and analysis also. A person who has a background in theory and composition can explain every one in a musical score. It takes a lot of training to be able to analyze what's going on. Don't get confused, ask your questions, and I bet you will find many folks who can help you out with your understanding of what you are playing.
  11. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    +1. It was what the composer felt/heard. Theory and execution although they overlap, are two different things.
  12. Depending on how you want to play it, Cliff didnt even play all the notes.....Listen to the bass track on Youtube, as far as I remember he only plays E-F and B...