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Switching form major notes to flats.....sucks!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Guss, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. Whenever I'm playing, and I try to switch form major notes, to flats or sharps, it never seems right. It is kinda frustrating. Is there any rules about how this switch should be made?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I find this strange - I always find it very easy on Bass to transpose to any key and often laugh at horn players who really struggle with sharp keys.

    I always tell them how it doesn't make any difference to me what key it's in - just to tease and taunt them you know! ;)
  3. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Heh, well it is easy to transpose on a bass, or a guitar, or a piano. With horns tho, changing key screws it up because the fingerings are all completely different. Not like a bass where you can just shift it up a fret and use most of the same fingerings :)
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    :confused: I'm not quite sure what you're asking about. For example, if you're playing in the key of C major, the main notes to use are C, D, E, F, G, A and B. Anything else (ie. throwing in sharps or flats) will tend to sound more dissonant, although not necessarily wrong.

    However, if you're playing in E major, the main notes are E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D# - if you don't play any sharps or flats, it's going to sound odd (in fact, it will be E Phrygian mode :) ).

    The rule, which can be overruled by the judgement of your ears, is to concentrate on notes that fit within the key of the song / spelling of the current chord.

    Or are you talking about taking a song in G major and playing it in G# major instead (and yes, that would be a good way of stretching the horn players ;) )?

  5. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I don't suggest you go asking horn players to play in G# major :D They tend to have a nasty reaction ;)

    Actually, I don't recommend anyone plays in G# major. Especially since there isn't actually a key signiature for it. If there was it'd be F double sharp C# G# D# A# E# B#. We're talking all 7 sharps, and then doubling back round and sharpening the F again!!! :)

    I'd suggest going for Ab major :)
  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Yes - just to clarify, the G# major thing was a joke. Try it at your peril... the horn section will probably suggest several anatomically unfeasible uses for your bass :eek:

    The (fretted) bass is in the class of instruments known as 'even tempered' - it will sound as (out of) tune in any key. Do a seach on Talkbass for 'even temperament' for related threads.

  7. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Indeed, the bass is even tempered. That means it doesn't get all pissy if you play in certain keys :D
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    C# Minor is the one I like bringing out for horn players - I tell them it was a favourite of Freddie Hubbard! :D
  9. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    LOL. I just feel sorry for the horn players that play with Stevie Wonder. His songs are all in keys like B, and F# and such. Playing that riff in Sir Duke is a bitch!
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I'm still trying to figure out exactly in what context you are making the "switch" from natural notes to sharps or flats. Are you talking about changing keys?

    In my mind the best way to study keys is to study the circle of fifths. Each stage of the circle is a different key following in a natural progression of sharps or, going counterclockwise, in flats. (The left side of the circle has the "flat keys"; the right side has the "sharp keys.")The arrangement makes it so much easier to visualize and hear the sound of each key. Once you grasp the concept of the circle of fifths, you can play each key often enough so that they do not sound dissonant.

    Do a search here. The circle of fifths has been explained many, many times here. I think Gard has done a thorough discussion of it, for one.

    The other thing I wonder if you are not referring to, is that you have stated elsewhere that you are fond of pure improvisation without the constraints of standard theory. Is it possible the dissonance you are hearing is that within the context of your improvisation, you are playing notes that do not conventionally fit within that context?

    Thus you will get a definite uncomfortable "wrong note" reaction, because, say, if improvising in C major, for example, and you play B flat and A flat, neither of those notes belong to C major, so they may cause a dissonant sound. At least,you are able to hear that the sound is dissonant. That is a positive thing.

    Do a search for the circle of fiths and start getting acquainted with how each major and minor key is constructed and how it sounds. If you already know about the circle of fifths and key construction, maybe I am totally misinterpreting your question.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I just thought :

    There are no wrong notes - only wrong resolutions!

  12. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Heehee. I get it...

    What I think MORSE CODE means is that when he uses notes that aren't in key, they don't sound right.

    There are no real "rules", per se... but if you use notes that are not in the key, you will generally want to resolve them quickly as they will likely sound dissonant. As for that, try running a search on "passing tones" or "tension and release", for starters.

    This is where knowing a little theory starts to go a long way.
  13. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Yep.. the poor bastards. I always hated it when I was playing trumpet and some evil guitarist would want to do everything in E (F# for Bb instruments) or A (B for Bb instruments) so they could use more open strings. With bass, it just doesn't matter. Oh, you want to do this in Zb Demented? Sure, no sweat... :D
  14. Well that sums it up.
  15. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    My personal favorite Key signature is
    Rb demolished
    I like to play it in the Fellopian mode :D


    anyone want to figure out why I chose these ridiculous notes?
    no, the answer is not :"your a gimp" or "because your none too bright"
    there was actually a method to this madness. :D
  16. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    My favourite is to play 1024th notes at 0.5 bpm in the key of Zb Gamma.
  17. I have gotten that all my life. :D
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Just wait....it gets better.
  19. HAHAHA!:D :D
  20. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    The guitarist/singer in our band is changing keys for songs all the time to suit his voice.

    For me it's either some dots/no dots, all dots, or no dots.

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