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Whats your opinion

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Intrepid, Dec 15, 2001.

  1. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Ok...I know everybody I talk to says they can make music in their head and it sounds good...your mind has a natural ability to make music...now if you were able to match any tone in your head on a bass, would you even need music theory? All you would need is inspiration for the style your playing...do some people do this instead of learing music theory? I would like to obtain this ability if its possible....
  2. I've learned some musical theory, but when I write music I don't think I use a lot of it.
    I try to just write what feels and sounds good (and is fun to play...).

    A lot of good and famous musicians haven't learned any theory at all and have still written loads of good songs, Paul Mcartny for instance.
  3. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    If you had a wish to communicate with other musicians, theory would be extremely helpful.
  4. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    I agree with goold old oyster buddy. i dont think of (much) theory when i write bass lines for a song. but it does come in handy if you want to communicate with other musicans. theory is like math. musical logic. comes in handy.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY


    If you aren't born with such a degree of genius that you can coast on it for the rest of your life without working at all to improve, guess how you go about "obtaining this ability"? Most of the guys I play with have studied a great deal of music theory to get closer to this ideal you describe.....specifically, it's called EAR TRAINING, and it's a branch of - you guessed it - Music Theory. And no, you don't have to become a Nazi to get better at it. :)
  6. air_leech


    Sep 1, 2000
    and how do you think you're supposed to translate the music in your mind to actual music? yup, theory!

    theory can help a lot in recognizing what key are u thinking, how to find the next note, what time sig. you're playing it in your head etc. etc.

    sure I could sit with the bass and try all notes on the fret board untill I find the ones that make that little song I'm arranging in my mind, actually I'm sure many rock and pop musicians do that, but when you decide you want to play jazz you wont be able to skip theory class if you want to throw improvising jams with fellow musicians.
  7. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    tab :D
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    You need theory for jazz and anything jazz- or improv-related. You need theory to figure out some studio charts. Theory helps with composition, but isn't essential.

    You should at least familiarize yourself with key signatures, the cycle of fifths and basic chord/scale construction. Melody instrumentalists can get by with just note reading, key signatures and endless pentatonic scales, but you unfortunately play an instrument where you can't just play what you hear in your mind. Bassists need to be careful with note choices, and often our parts aren't written out.

    If you do have the opportunity to study theory, I highly recommend it. Even if you never actually use it to play anything, it helps greatly with music appreciation. If you're one of those "blues/rock is the shiznits; jazz/classical is elevator music" types, learning theory will turn your opinions around.
  9. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I'm never like, laying in bed, or sitting in the car, and a melody, chord progression, or bass line pops in my head. Instead, I sit down with the guitar, and just throw a few chords together (if I'm playing guitar) or if I'm playing bass, I listen to what the others are playing and that tells me what to play. I find that soloing makes a lot more sense when you are playing with someone. Just playing riffs by yourself doesn't seem to amount to much, at least to my ears. But when you play something within the context of a chord, or even just a drum beat, it all comes together.

    Even though this isn't directed to the last couple of post, I was directing this at the orginal post.
  10. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Actually I grew up on classical and I'm in the school Jazz band....I kind of know all the stuff, except I don't know chords...I just don't quite understand how your choice of notes has to change when a chord changes....I was just curious cuz sometimes I come up with the most boss bass lines in my head and when improving, if I just had the skill to instantly play it, I would be the shiznits...
  11. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Crap. And I went and bought the uniform and everything. :mad:

  12. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Hmm, let me think, how can I explain this?

    Okay, songs are based on scales. Most scales have 7 degrees (notes) in them. Chord changes main purposes are to support the melody and give the song movement. A song would get pretty boring with one chord. ("Bo Diddley" by the man himself, I believe only has one chord in it :eek: )

    As far as your choice of notes changing when the chord changes. The choice of notes really doesn't change, it's the notes you use as the certain that changes. For example, if you are playing in the key of C major. A C major triad is based on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th degrees of the C major scale. (each chord has it's forumla, a major triad is based on 1,3,5, and minor would be 1, b3, 5, and major 7th would be 1,3,5,7, and dominat 7th would be 1,3,5, b7 I suggest checking out chord forumlas for yourself, cause we would be here all day doing through each forumla) Anyways, C is based around those 3 chords. If you are "keeping the groove" as appposed to "soloing" you would want to choose notes from that chord to support he music. (the 1st and 5th degrees being the most important) But you are not limited to just want the guitar, piano, ect is playing. There are lots of times, you could add more degrees to your chord, even though they are not putting them there, or the chart says so. For example, if you were playing a simple swing using triads, you could stick a 6th in every once in a while. Here's an example in G, all of these notes are quarter notes.


    then here comes the 6th


    this might be a little advance, but you are not always limited to notes within a given scale, there are chromatic notes known as "blue notes" that help "jazz" up songs. They are espcially useful for filling out scales and runs if you want it to sound "flat" by not having to much of a major or minor tonality. Let's say we are playing out little swing number still in G and we want to walk into the C chord using every beat. Well, since this is in 4/4 time, we are playing one note per beat, there aren't 4 notes inbetween G and C. Well, we stick a blue note in between the A and B. (A#) It would look something like this.


    hope some of this helps. Sorry about my bad tab spacing but I'm no expert at tabbing by any means.
  13. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I think you are looking at it backwards. Theory isn't a tool you use to create. It is a means of interpreting what you have already created.


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