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weak and strong beats in 3/4

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by 33degrees, Jun 15, 2005.


  1. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    when walking and soloing i find it especially difficult to builid lines that always get the interval to a chord tone on the 1 beat in 3/4.
    i can feel that beat one is obvioulsy the strong beat but is beat 2 also a strong beat and so needs a chord tone or extension on and is beat 3 the weak beat where i get to play chromatic?
    cheers!
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I think that's a question you need to answer on a case by case basis. Generally speaking, it's probably safest to do what you're saying, though. But does it help create interesting lines to stick to a formula? Well yeah, a lot of times it does. The question is would it be more interesting if you veered off the formula now and then? Sure it would.

    I find 3/4 an especially difficult time sig to play in. At least with odd tempos like 5/4 or 7/8 you can use the odd time sig as an excuse to go off on some wild sounding riffs. So what I do is I listen to other bass players who are really good at it and steal their riffs. And that's what you need to do, too. Learn the parts and try to figure out ways to do those parts in the songs you're playing. When you listen to great players and steal what they do, you will eventually learn how to make good parts on your own because you have "learned from the masters." You'll get a really big vocabulary of parts to choose from, and you'll start taking a little from one and adding to another, and adding it to yet another, and pretty soon you're creating your own ideas.
     
  3. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    In 4 the weak beats are 2 and 4.

    Try this walk on D minor for days,put cord tones on 1 and 3 and put anything(thats right anything) on 2 and 4. Might not sound great but it does sound like D minor.

    In general 1 is stronger than 3 is stronger than 2 is stronger than 4,

    In 3 one is strongest 2 is weaker and 3 is the Weakest



    Aj
     
  4. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Wow.......

    it help to actually read the original post.


    Yes, your right


    Aj
     
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That's a very complex question, and probably needs to be answered on many levels. One really easy way to "play chromatic" is to simply approach new chords with double-chromatic approach tones from above or below, like so:

    (Someday my Prince - downbeats bolded)

    Bb-C-C# D-F-E Eb-F-F# G-Bb-B C-F-F# G-D-Db C-G-Gb F-E-Eb D...etc.

    While this is kind of basic, it's also pretty workable and common. Normally, I'd go through the whole spiel about trying the progression once with all ascending approach clusters, then all descending, then mixing it up, but because of the medium, the above skips to "mixing it up".

    If you're into the whole approach-tone philosophy, you can also try enclosing your target tones from above AND below, like so:

    Bb-Eb-C# D-F-D Eb-Ab-F# G-D-B C-Ab-F# G-B-D C-E-G F-C-Eb D...etc.

    Which can provide a little variety from the double approach-tone-in-the-same-direction kinda vibe. If you work with this "enclosure" concept for a while, you'll get a sense for when a diatonic approach-note sounds good to you as opposed to always using chromatic ones, and that opens a hole new can of worms.

    This is just the beginning, of course. One of my favorite things about playing in three is playing broken time, where you can either play in one (dotted half), two (dotted quarter, or hemiola), three (walking) or four (dotted eights..another kind of hemiola) over the time - depending on what's going on, of course. In the end, you'll want to simply trust your instincts and try to create a good countermelody to what's happening, but this is a start. Hope this helps!
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hey Chris, that's some good stuff there. I'm going to steal it!

    See what I mean, 33? Find out what the good ones do and steal it! Done!
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Feel free, but you're not stealing it from me - you're borrowing it from the tradition just like the rest of us. :) I know I've learned more about basic walking technique from just listening to a lot of Ron Carter and Ray Brown than any books/teachers I've ever had.
     
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    The demonstrations that have been given are good (what I call ) 'Melodic Chunks', and there are bazillions of these. They all boil down to scale studies, which include scale patterns, arpeggio and arpeggio patterns, leading tone patterns, etc., etc.

    They way that I love to approach bass lines, in any time signature, is in a way that I call 'Melodic Rumble', wherein I play nice, simple and diatonic-ish melodic lines that both outline the changes, but perhaps inspire some ideas back up to the top of the band if things are dry. I'll try an example in 3/4 in text (a dot preceding a note means 'go down' to get it):

    Bb Bb C | D .F# A | Eb .G Bb | D .B D |
    C .G C | B .G B | C Eb G | A Bb C
    D .A .D |.Db E G | .C D Eb | F G Bb|
    .A . F .D | .B C D | C D Eb | F G A
    (Bb), and on to the second half....

    This mebbe ain't the slickest example of what I'm talking about, as I'm doing it sans fiddle, but hopefully you get the picture.
     
  9. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Oh, also let me add this, which is more in line with your original question:

    I would throw out a lot of the idea of 'strong' and 'weak' beats. I feel that this is pretty useless for the most part. What you're trying to acheive with walking bass lines is to propel, harmonically and melodically, the structure of the tune. There are really no hard and fast rules, other than if the structure starts to collapse you aren't doing your job. I find that in my playing, roots will often happen on beat one on 4 and 8 bar sections, key changes within a section, etc. This can be explained in a few different way; phrases within my line, phrases within the structure, big tonal-center movements that need the strong support, etc.

    Studying and playing melodies and structure (cadences) will teach you how to play bass lines best. If you ear is weighted toward these things you'll not be able to play dada-istic garble -- if you're following you ears.
     
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I be SO smiling.
     
  11. 33degrees

    33degrees

    Jun 4, 2005
    Spain
    ok thats all really great, im going to mull over all that information for awhile.
    just to recap on one point,
    so the 1 beat is normally best played with a lower chord/ or sometimes an extension (9,11,13) interval and the 2 & 3 are good to go!
    just liked to add that i practise this really slowly and i can really think about what happening in terms of scale/chord/ interval movement and keeping a direction but when i play a medium jazz stadard it all goies out the window and my fingers just go back to the old tried and tested walking cliches. how can i get the grey matter to think faster so that i can make these smooth lineal lines on the go????
     
  12. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    You just keep practicing the material that you want to have in your ear. Forget about it when you're actually playing with people. After enough time the new material will suddenly pop up in your playing -- once the stuff is internalized and not before.