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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fsf347, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. fsf347


    Mar 28, 2008
    how can you tell what chord a measure is based on?

    for example, lets say a piece is in D Major, and the measure is all quarter notes containing the notes: E D# E F#

    how do i figure this out?
  2. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    Perhaps a thousand opinions coming, but this is what I do: -
    • If in a band situation and playing without chord charts, I ask the band leader the keys of all songs to be played before we kick off. Any good band leader will communicate the key he/she will be playing in before starting off with an unplanned song (like on-request);
    • If the band leader starts off without communicating with the band first, I switch to percussions ;) (I always have at least a few shakers / a tambourine closeby - life's too short to try figuring out keys on-stage)!
    • When playing with CD's I use my CD player's A-B repeat feature (any practicing musician's best friend, regardless of what they say about metronomes!) on the first few bars and play with until I've got it - which is usually on the 2nd / 3rd repeat cycle;
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You figure it out by listening to what everyone else is doing and seeing if you recognize a chord in what they play. That little bit you quoted sounds like a walking line based on an E chord as I look at it, but you really need the context of everyone else's parts to verify it.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    If you are in D Major and the root of the chord feels like E - then it should be an E Minor chord - unless the key shifts or it is actually ambiguous about key.

    Most people can hear the root of the chord and sing these through a progression quite easily, as you hear a tune...?
  5. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I agree with Bruce. But what comes before and after the chord, in the case, probably will give you as much information as the notes played in that measure.

    Key centers and chord progressions are processes that can take several measures to develop and/or express themselves. One chord is often times not enough information.

    Much also is dependent on the style and tempo.

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