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Rythms and melody

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Pottish, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. Pottish


    Nov 28, 2008
    Been wondering about this for a little while. Without a teacher I've tried to teach myself all about rhythm melody and harmony. But I have a couple blank spots that I'm not finding much to read about.

    Thoughts about timing? I'm wondering wether there's things to read about how timing affects your sound. Specifically talking about each part of the 4/4 bar and how the small changes (like from steady 8th notes to 1 a2 a3 a4) gives the sound it does. Or like how reggae is stereotyped sometimes as on the offbeat to how 16ths are considered "funky".

    Melody. I was wondering if there's anywhere I can read up about the tonal qualities of the notes in scales. Also there relationship to chords as a whole, like what place a M3 plays in a M7 chord. I think this would help me feel more comfortable moving about a bit while jamming in particular.

    Sound like stupid questions perhaps :p But I'm guessing people have written about the choice of timing in the musical bar somewhere :)
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    this is why you take lessons if you're serious. things like this can't easily be explained in a 1-paragraph answer on tb, and really only become apparent with some continuous study. and some of the questions, like your reggae/funk question, really don't have answers because they just are. for example, i don't know why reggae does a lot of off the beat stuff, but it does.
  3. afromoose

    afromoose Guest

    I agree with Jimmy - there's loads of questions there and you probably need to spend a while absorbing lots of material with a teacher to get an appreciation and perspective on that stuff.

    I would recommend the hal leonard bass book method by ed friedland as a course as it covers a lot of what your asking. If you can't afford a teacher you could probably still work through that book as it's well laid out.

    'Choice of timing in a musical bar'.. Hmm... I think that is such a wide open subject that the best you could do is to learn loads of different ways - the bass bible, which is full of grooves from all over the world, will give you an idea of how rhythm changes feel. But I don't think anyone has written any kind of theory that can explain it better than just learning to play the different styles.
  4. y
    I'll speak to melody, and how melody relates to chords.
    The melody line and the harmony line should share some of the same notes. If they do they harmonize each other. Why do we need to change chords? Well -- when the melody line moves on to notes not found in the old chord we go out of harmony and have to find a new chord that has some of the new melody notes in it's makup. The I IV V chords contain every note in the tonic scale, so one of those chords will harmonize your melody. You need not go beyond I IV V, but, that does not add a lot of flavor ---- so, extensions and the minor chords - those other 4 chords in the key - do add flavor.

    We balance destroying the verse's journey from (I) rest to (IV) tension to (V7) climax then back to rest (I) when we add other chords into the progression, however, if done correctly you can gain the harmonizing note you need and keep the verse's journey together. Extensions, sus chords, etc do this quite well.

    OK on to other things...... The 1, 3 or b3, 5 and 7 or b7 are the degrees of the scale that make the song minor or major, dominant seven, or maj7, so they are the ones you need to work into your bass line. Octave 8 and coming back down the scale has a place, i.e. R-3-5-8-7-6-5-1. Throw some come back down riffs into the mix. For example: Go up over the G chord and back down over the C chord. And then there is always pentatonics, love pentatonic scales. Google "How to harmonize a melody line".

    Lot of what you ask -- you and a teacher will never get around to. In a thirty minute lesson there is not a lot of time for theory and items like you were asking - the discussion eats up your 30 minutes -- it just does not happen. S0..... Google and ask here.

    Lot of good information on melody in this video. Copy down what is being said.

    Good luck. Not at home so spell check is not with me today, sorry.
  5. blakelock


    Dec 16, 2009
    i've been playing for quite a while but only recently been paying attention to theory so i may not know much. however, what i'd say (if i understand your question) is that you should play a chord (say, AM7) then pluck the note you're interested in (say, the M3 note). and try to figure out what you feel when you hear that particular note as part of the chord. some note are easy. for instance, the flat7 in a minor chord gives a funky/nasty sorrow (aka blues). you might want to do this on...(don't shoot me)...guitar since the chords will sound a bit clearer.

    there may be some list of what character each note of each chord type contributes, but you might want to explore it on your own. it's all about the journey. :cool:
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    No text can convey rhythm in a way more direct and enlightening than simply playing and listening. I think the best route to exploring this is to seek notated and recorded examples of various styles.

    Each style has its own set of rhythmic characteristics, and while they can be explained in simple terms, it takes playing time for the feel to sink in. (I played Cuban bass lines for well over a year before I think I started to really feel it.) The more in depth you explore a style, its history, and its heroes, more you can bring to your feel.

    Also, rhythmic styles are defined not just by the bass: they are defined by the interplay of the entire rhythm section. Learn all the instrument's parts for a deeper understanding.

    Reading rhythms in standard notation is invaluable for this.

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