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#725761 07/28/22 06:13 AM
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I’m thinking that in order to continue to progress in music I’ve got to add music theory and more specifically, the Circle of Fifths to my toolbox. My 3 goals are to 1) understand how music works, 2) to play better bass guitar and 3) to write better songs using BiaB.

What I think I know about this diagram is that if we move clockwise, one step on the outer yellow circle we find the “upward 5th” (of the C major scale?) of where we started. So G is the upward 5th of C and D is the upward 5th of G. When we get to Cb/B this is not a slash chord but indicating that Cb and B are equivalent. To find the upward 5th of a note on my bass, I move up 1 string and then up 2 frets. C-D-E-F-G or 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th (upward).

If we move counterclockwise we get the “downward 5th” of where we started. So F is the downward 5th of C and Bb is the downward 5th of F. On my bass I can get these downward 5ths by moving up 1 string and staying on the same fret or by moving down 1 string and then move down 2 frets. C-B-A-G-F or 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th (downward).

I know there is a ton of music theory material on the web but I find that much of it may start at a beginners level but then accelerates beyond my skill level making it difficult to see the “entire forest”. Also, I find these sites don’t align very well with my 3 goals above. So here are a few questions.

1. If this diagram is for the C major scale, are there different diagrams for all the other scales?
2. Do you find the Circle of Fifths useful for what you do musically? If so, how?
3. Can this tool be used in constructing chord progressions when writing songs?
4. Can you recommend a beginner’s music theory book that you actually have on your bookshelf or plan to buy? Being able to discuss something on a specific page would be useful. Who knows, this may grow into a “PG Music Retirement Center Book Club”. smile
5. Anybody else struggling with music theory?

Thanks for any insights.

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1. No. Just move your eyes around the circle. For example the majors for the Key of A is D and E.
2. Yes, it gives me a basis to start with.
3. Progressions are not my strong point. Someone else?
4. I took music lessons and it was explained to me. I have not read any books on the topic but probably should.
5. Yes, there are rules and rules can be broken.

Hope this helps...

...Deb

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1. It's the same for all scales ... it's about the relationship of notes/chords, not about the scales.

2. Yes, to the extent that I can draw it from memory and recite much of it from memory. It helps to analyse music. It shows the conventional progressions, the relative minor, the tritone, the key signature, right there of the chart. There are several mnemonics to aid memory ... find something that suits. I personally like "Fat Cats Go Down Alleys Eating Birds", but there are others.

3. Yes, definitely. It shows the conventional progressions, but also offers other paths. That 1-4-5 is always there root, step left, step right past root. The common jazz progression 2-5-1 is also there as the 2m is the relative minor of the 4, or the root just steps counter-clockwise. 3-6-2-5-1 is also there.

4. Someone recommended the Dummies Guide To Music Theory. It should be on my bookshelf somewhere, but I can't presently find it. The Beato Book may be worth a look, though it's just gone interactive on a website, which means it's no longer a paper copy. I have mixed feelings about that.

5. I suspect many, possibly most, of us struggle at least a bit. I certainly struggle with some. Don't get hung up about it; rules are made to be broken; if it sounds good to you it's fine; I've wrongly fingered a few chords and loved the resulting sound. One person's tension is another's "sparkle" and yet another's dissonance.


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Originally Posted By: DebMurphy
1. No. Just move your eyes around the circle. For example the majors for the Key of A is D and E.

Thanks Deb, but I don't know what this means. "the majors for the Key of A is D and E"?
D and E are majors?


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Originally Posted By: DebMurphy
1. No. Just move your eyes around the circle. For example the majors for the Key of A is D and E.

Thanks Deb, but I don't know what this means. "the majors for the Key of A is D and E"?
D and E are majors?

Pre-empting Deb ... apologies if that's presumptuous.

In a major key/scale, the major chords are the root, the fourth and the fifth. If you look at the root chord on the circle, the 4th is one step counter-clockwise from the root and the 5th is one step clockwise from the root.


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
4. Someone recommended the Dummies Guide To Music Theory. It should be on my bookshelf somewhere, but I can't presently find it. The Beato Book may be worth a look, though it's just gone interactive on a website, which means it's no longer a paper copy. I have mixed feelings about that.

5. I suspect many, possibly most, of us struggle at least a bit. I certainly struggle with some. Don't get hung up about it; rules are made to be broken; if it sounds good to you it's fine; I've wrongly fingered a few chords and loved the resulting sound. One person's tension is another's "sparkle" and yet another's dissonance.

Thanks Gordon, I've never been a fan of the Dummies series. I may be ignorant but I don't think a dummy. That said if the book is good, I could get past my reservations on the title. This one looks like it includes a CD at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-Dumm...66398&psc=1
Regarding Rick Beato, I've listened to an interview or 2 of his and 1 or 2 "why this song is so great" and I like the guy. He seems knowledgable.

The idea that rules can be broken and that it's about whether it sounds good or not is sound advice. And it's good to know that others struggle with music theory. Makes me feel that I'm not such a "dummy" after all. If I am a dummy I'm in good company laugh

If nothing else, it sounds like diving into the Circle of 5ths is a worthwhile endeavor.

So there is no circle for other scales, just the one I posted above. Is this because each of the 12 notes ( A - G#) are shown on the circle?

Other than an aid to help find the 5th, does that outer ring tell me anything more?


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

In a major key/scale, the major chords are the root, the fourth and the fifth. If you look at the root chord on the circle, the 4th is one step counter-clockwise from the root and the 5th is one step clockwise from the root.

Ahhh, ok. That answers another question I had. 1 step CCW and 1 step CW from the root gives us the common 1-4-5 used in so many songs?


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When you move around the circle, remember going up a fifth can also mean going down a fourth to the same pitch in a lower register.

I prefer my chart to show key signatures. I know them, but when you get to five or more accidentals and a certain age, a chart makes it easier.

When composing, the chart can be used for modulating from one key to another. For example, you are in A and you need to get to C. Just move counterclockwise from A to D to G to C. Some of those can be minor. It’s simply taking the ii V7 I progression a few more steps.


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No worries! I have a simple way of looking at the circle.

...Deb

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I agree with you in that the dummy books should not be called that. Maybe change the name to Beginner's Guide to Music Theory would be much better. However regardless of the title those books are very good. I have been through a number of them.

Another way to look at the circle of fifths is to look at it as a way to get back to your tonic chord. For example lets say your first chord is C and the second is B, Using the circle of fifths going counter clockwise your chord progression would be C-B-E-A-D-G-C. Remember the chord progression can be of any version of a chord. For example C-Bm7-E9-A11-Dm7b5-G7-C. In other words they do not have to all be major triads, i.e. major chords. Note that any chord can come after the tonic. Also the above in not written in stone as you can use any chord progression that fits your song and sounds good.

I hope this helps.


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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
When you move around the circle, remember going up a fifth can also mean going down a fourth to the same pitch in a lower register.

I prefer my chart to show key signatures. I know them, but when you get to five or more accidentals and a certain age, a chart makes it easier.

When composing, the chart can be used for modulating from one key to another. For example, you are in A and you need to get to C. Just move counterclockwise from A to D to G to C. Some of those can be minor. It’s simply taking the ii V7 I progression a few more steps.

OK, I think you all are helping me connect some dots. But I have to have my fretboard diagram and the circle at the ready.
Moving CW from C to G is moving up a fifth (up 1 string and up 2 frets)
Moving CW from C to G is moving down a fourth (down 1 string and stay at the same fret)
These 2 G's are 1 octave apart (2 strings up and 2 frets up)

How can I find the chart you're referring to showing the signatures?

And as you point out it looks like you can modulate (musically move?) from any note to any note simply by hopping around the circle CW 1 step at a time. That's useful.

So if I've written a verse that I like, and I want to create a chorus to follow it, one pleasing way to make this move is to specify the first chord of the chorus to be 1 CW jump on the circle (a fifth) from the last chord in the verse. This is cool. Then to musically get back to the verse from the chorus could do the same between the last chord of the chorus and the first chord of the verse?


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
MarioD #725810 07/28/22 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted By: MarioD
I agree with you in that the dummy books should not be called that. Maybe change the name to Beginner's Guide to Music Theory would be much better. However regardless of the title those books are very good. I have been through a number of them.

Another way to look at the circle of fifths is to look at it as a way to get back to your tonic chord. For example lets say your first chord is C and the second is B, Using the circle of fifths going counter clockwise your chord progression would be C-B-E-A-D-G-C. Remember the chord progression can be of any version of a chord. For example C-Bm7-E9-A11-Dm7b5-G7-C. In other words they do not have to all be major triads, i.e. major chords. Note that any chord can come after the tonic. Also the above in not written in stone as you can use any chord progression that fits your song and sounds good.

I hope this helps.

Thanks Mario, you just answered another question before I even asked it. Not only is it musically pleasing to move CW (forward) on the circle, but moving CCW (backward) also works.

I guess one way to really see this in action is to create a BiaB learning tool that spins the wheel in both directions smile

This is getting better with every post, thanks guys.


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I have not read all of this thread. I’ve been busy learning stuff I thought I knew.

The couple of YouTube videos below are probably the best I’ve seen on the “Circle of Fths” by a person called Gracie Terzian.

Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/sWAaJF9Wk0w

How to use the Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/4WxDZ-wSXLY

Easy way to remember the complicated scales
https://youtu.be/-fErw8WPvw0

In my opinion these are really worth a look even if you think you really know the Circle of 5ths and scales inside out. If you are not across the Circle of 5ths they should almost be mandatory.

My opinions
Tony

Last edited by Teunis; 07/28/22 11:50 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
I've never been a fan of the Dummies series. I may be ignorant but I don't think a dummy. That said if the book is good, I could get past my reservations on the title.
I often think their "hey this title would be fun" has probably cost them a lot of sales. Generally, the books are good. Lot's of people say "I'm not a dummy, I won't buy it".
They're not for dummies. They're for people of all abilities.

Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Regarding Rick Beato, I've listened to an interview or 2 of his and 1 or 2 "why this song is so great" and I like the guy. He seems knowledgable.

He is. He can also be a bit opinionated and insufferable. But on balance I like what he does.

Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
The idea that rules can be broken and that it's about whether it sounds good or not is sound advice. And it's good to know that others struggle with music theory. Makes me feel that I'm not such a "dummy" after all. If I am a dummy I'm in good company laugh

If nothing else, it sounds like diving into the Circle of 5ths is a worthwhile endeavor.

So there is no circle for other scales, just the one I posted above. Is this because each of the 12 notes ( A - G#) are shown on the circle?

Other than an aid to help find the 5th, does that outer ring tell me anything more?

I'm someone who, when I don't understand something, is prepared to put a hand up and ask for an explanation. Nine times out of ten, people come to me afterwards and say "I'm glad you asked that, because I didn't understand either". In fairness, I'm pretty bright, so if I don't know, I reckon it's a pretty good guess that I'm not the only one. The 10nth times out of ten are the ones where I blush and say "Oh, of course, how silly of me". I don't mind. I'm usually still not alone.

Often the outer ring also includes the key signature, though as with the rest, once you have the FCGDAEB around the ring, each step right of C adds a sharp and each step left of C adds a flat. The ring inside the outer is the relative minor of the major, so also shares the same key signature. There's a surprising amount of information in that circle.

FWIW, Hal Leonard do a small book and extended version, called "The Chord Book" which add more detail about other chord relationships, but I'm still not sure whether it's helpful or just a complication.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper


So if I've written a verse that I like, and I want to create a chorus to follow it, one pleasing way to make this move is to specify the first chord of the chorus to be 1 CW jump on the circle (a fifth) from the last chord in the verse. This is cool.

Sure, you can do that. Or you can modulate almost anywhere else to go into a perfectly effective chorus (bridge). Up a minor third is powerful. Up a major third is nice. My favorite is probably to go up a fourth. After all, that's just one step on the Circle but going counterclockwise. It's very popular.

There are hundreds of diagrams of the Circle of Fifths on the Internet. Here's just one, showing key signatures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_fifths#/media/File:Circle_of_fifths_deluxe_4.svg


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Teunis #725835 07/28/22 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted By: Teunis

In my opinion these are really worth a look even if you think you really know the Circle of 5ths and scales inside out. If you are not across the Circle of 5ths they should almost be mandatory.

Thanks Tony, I watched all 3 videoes and she does a great job. I'll be watching them again to really try to cement this info. In one of them she was talking about how to transpose. I'm learning there is a ton of info packed into this tool.

Whoever invented this circle deserves kudos.


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

Often the outer ring also includes the key signature, though as with the rest, once you have the FCGDAEB around the ring, each step right of C adds a sharp and each step left of C adds a flat. The ring inside the outer is the relative minor of the major, so also shares the same key signature. There's a surprising amount of information in that circle.

Thanks Gordon, I need to think about this as I'm sure it's important.


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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Sure, you can do that. Or you can modulate almost anywhere else to go into a perfectly effective chorus (bridge). Up a minor third is powerful. Up a major third is nice. My favorite is probably to go up a fourth. After all, that's just one step on the Circle but going counterclockwise. It's very popular.

Another quote worth capturing. Thanks Matt.


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Teunis #725981 07/29/22 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: Teunis
I have not read all of this thread. I’ve been busy learning stuff I thought I knew.

The couple of YouTube videos below are probably the best I’ve seen on the “Circle of Fths” by a person called Gracie Terzian.

Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/sWAaJF9Wk0w

How to use the Circle of 5ths
https://youtu.be/4WxDZ-wSXLY

I tried to capture the essense of the first 2 videos that Tony provided.
I think these videos are great.
Any comments for improvement are welcome.

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The Music Theory for Dummies book mentioned above is a great starter book. +++ HERE +++ is a link to the book's webpage that has additional information of interest. The Amazon webpage has links to purchase both new and used copies of the book.

Another music self learning asset is +++ Play With Your Music +++ and the +++ Play With Your Music +++ YouTube channel. The Play With Your Music YouTube channel has a +++ Link ++++ to a seven video playlist that does a good job of introducing music theory.


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The circle and the chart are helpful. Another important concept is what's called "the scale pattern," or, the "intervals" of the scale. Major, minor, pentatonic -- each octave has a specific pattern of intervals.

A full step interval is two semitones. For example, C to D in the C Maj scale is a full step (two frets.) A half-step interval is one semi-tone, (one fret) e.g. E to F or B to C. There are no E# nor is there a B# in the C Major scale. -------------

Full step: C (the one) up two frets to (the two) D.

-------------------- C Major Scale: ----------------

C (root) - D (full step up) - E (full step from D) - F (half step) --
G (full step) -- A (full step) -- B (full step) - C (half step)

------------------------------------------------------

Apply the same principles to all 12 keys of the major scale.

Root (First degree of the scale, names the key. Step pattern:

Root - whole - whole - half - whole - whole - whole - half

--------------------------

Thanks for catching those mistakes, Dave Snyder. I hope I made the corrections. Apologies to all.

Last edited by edshaw; 08/01/22 03:33 AM.

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Originally Posted By: edshaw
The circle and the chart are helpful. Another important concept is what's called "the scale pattern," or, the "intervals" of the scale.
Major, minor, pentatonic -- each octave has a specific pattern of intervals.

A full step interval is two semitones. For example, C to D in the C Maj scale is a full step. A half-step interval is one semi-tone, e.g. E to F or B to C. There are no E# nor is there a B# in the C Major scale. -------------

Full step: C (the one) - C# (the two) - (the three) D.

C (root) - D (full step up) - E (full step from D) - F (half step) --
G (full step) -- A (full step) -- B (full step) - C (half step) --

Apply the same principles to all 12 keys of the major scale.

Thanks Ed, I think I understand full-step/half step and that from C to D we have full(2 frets) and from E to F we have half (1 fret).

Gracie Terzian seems to use "scale" and "key" interchangably. Are they the same? If we look at the table I posted on 7/29 (I'm assuming you didn't detect any errors in it) and look at the scale/key of E Major, we see the following notes.

E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D# we see it's root is located at clock position 4 on the circle and we have 4 sharps. (I'm thinking these 4's are unrelated since at clock position 11, F we, certainly can't have 11 sharps or 11 flats). If I play these notes on my keyboard and end with the higher octave E , I hear the familiar Do-Re-Mi musical sequence.

I also notice in this table that for all keys/scales the 1,4 and 5 scale numbers correspond to "major chords". Do you know what that is telling me or what the significance of that is?

Also, this table is restricted to major keys. Is there a separate table restricted to minor keys? If so, would the next inner circle dictate these keys/scales?


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Gracie Terzian seems to use "scale" and "key" interchangably. Are they the same?
Not quite, but probably close enough for the moment. A song is in a key and that key, by default, uses the notes from the scale, however there are other scales that could also be used with that key. A prominent example is that all major keys have a "relative minor key", that uses exactly the same notes. But also, a player could also use the blues scale over the key and the blues scale includes note that are not in the key. Be aware of it but don't get hung up on it. Each major's relative minor starts exactly 3 semitones below the root of the major. The key signature is exactly the same. A fairly reliable check of whether a song is in major or relative minor it to look at the final chord from the song. Usually(!) that will be the key.

Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D# we see it's root is located at clock position 4 on the circle and we have 4 sharps. (I'm thinking these 4's are unrelated since at clock position 11, F we, certainly can't have 11 sharps or 11 flats).

They are related, but we stop the sharps and flats at 7 as that's all we can have in an octave.. on a piano, that's the five black keys plus the 'odd' B#/Cb and E#/Fb.

Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper

I also notice in this table that for all keys/scales the 1,4 and 5 scale numbers correspond to "major chords". Do you know what that is telling me or what the significance of that is?

It's just how a major scale is defined.
Don't worry about the following for now, but at some stage it may well become of interest ... there are also "modes" aka "church modes", which use exactly the same notes as the major scale, but each mode starts on a different note from the scale. They're a powerful concept, but will likely give you a headache if you try to understand them now.

Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Also, this table is restricted to major keys. Is there a separate table restricted to minor keys? If so, would the next inner circle dictate these keys/scales?

The key we normally know as minor is the relative minor. It's the most common of the modes I mention above. There are many scales and they have sometimes remarkably different characters. Again, don't worry about them now.
The one other scale that is probably well worth knowing is "the blues scale". It's fairly common, it's fairly easy to get to grips with and it has that nice blues feel.


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

Don't worry about the following for now, but at some stage it may well become of interest ...

Thanks for understanding where I'm currently at in the subject (baby step #1) smile .
But I can say that my journey has begun . . .


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I'm reminded of an old story, Bass Thumper, about the jazz great who was asked if he had taken lessons to read music. "Yes, he said, but not enough to hurt my playing."

Incidentally, I screen shot that table & gave copies to a musician Sunday who had inquired about the 1-4-5 progression, specifically in regards to adapting to the variety of keys. ( I deleted the Db , Gb, Cb, for simplicity sake.) So, thanks for that.
And, yeah, the minor scales require a "Minor Keys" chart. The quick rule of turning a major into a minor chord is to flat the three of the major chord.
In other words, if D Major chord is D-F#-A, the D Minor chord is D-F-A. The one three five refers to chords; meaning, the first, third, and fifth degree of the scale (D-E-F#-G-A-C-B-C#-D) as opposed to the chord progression such as 1-4-5, or D-G-A.

Incidentally, a good place to start is to learn the 1-3-5's of each note in the 12 note scale. Commit to memory and you'll know the 12 major chords, including some you'll see little of.

Chord progression is something that has developed as composers sought to create a framework for the listeners. This is apparent to those who have studied the hymnals of previous centuries. We find the system is based on relative emotional triggering. Cmaj as a root chord has this driving sort of congregational feel to it. Yet, play that same Cmaj in a compostion in which the C note is the 5th; namely the key of F, and it takes on the quality of tension, urging a return to the root. Here again, the rules are general. Then there is the theory of harmony.

https://www.howmusicreallyworks.com/Pages_Chapter_6/6_17.html

Thanks to each participating. We never stop learning !


PS: David caught a big mistake in my previous comment. I hope I corrected it. Thanks, David!






Last edited by edshaw; 08/01/22 03:32 AM.

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Yes I pointed out that Ed had said:


"Hey everybody, if it helps, the notes of the C Major scale are 7, Pineapple, 24, Bb, Tomato, 12, and Gravy."

I didn't think that was correct.

smile

Kidding!!!!!!! But not 100% kidding..........

cry

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Originally Posted By: David Snyder

"Hey everybody, if it helps, the notes of the C Major scale are 7, Pineapple, 24, Bb, Tomato, 12, and Gravy."

A pineapple, tomato and gravy sandwich? I can C major problems ordering this at your local Subway shop 24 7. Especially when they close at 12 midnight.

But then again, life would Bb without music crazy

Last edited by Bass Thumper; 08/01/22 12:53 PM.

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You all know about colors to pitches, yes? Red yellow white is C D E for example. It has odd applications to music. Some folks with perfect pitch claim to be able to associate pitches with color. A few composers in history have used this color association for the right mood.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
[quote=David Snyder]

A pineapple, tomato and gravy sandwich? I can C major problems ordering this at your local Subway shop 24 7. Especially when they close at 12 midnight.

But then again, life would Bb without music crazy


Perhaps the wittiest comeback I have ever read on this forum, hands down.

Congrats, sir. You win.

smirk

BUT, I will not be defeated! I will brandish arms with you again, good fellow and next time I will be victorious!!!!!!!

But you own the field for now.

Well played.


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Now here is an interesting “interactive” Circle of 5ths which may help some folk learn what at first seems like a complex subject. The subject remains complex I guess but this site makes a fair bit of sense.

https://www.randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/

Just hoping to make things easier

Tony

Last edited by Teunis; 08/02/22 12:52 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Some folks with perfect pitch claim to be able to associate pitches with color.

I had not heard about this condition, my pitch is approximately plus or minus 1 semitone frown
Could this be why I never detected a problem with A Long and Winding Road ?

Last edited by Bass Thumper; 08/02/22 03:03 AM.

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Originally Posted By: David Snyder
I will brandish arms with you again, good fellow and next time I will be victorious!!!!!!!

Mine dear fellow, 'i regards to the challenge thou propose i might not but take adequate time to reflect and ponder forthrightly thy crave. That we both be gentlemen of the high regard, we might not but take upon such activities not with frivoulous forswear and disregard yet with deep consultations and adhearance to the moral thresholds that such men aspire. Not least of what be the import for the fair maidens amonst us that might not but be shielded from all manner of ungentlemanly discourse. If such challenge be accepted it shall be uncovered that henceforth mine honor hath yet be tarnished.

Most evident it is that thou hast experience 'i such contests. Yet moe than experience be required to win victorious 'i the heat of the broil. Therfore and 'i the spirit of honor and kindness, i shall prevail to offer an gentle 'scape from certain defeat should'st thou be inclined to accept such exuent.

Most sincerely and 'i humble office,
lord bassthumber of the tudor estate


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
Generally, the books are good. Lot's of people say "I'm not a dummy, I won't buy it".
They're not for dummies. They're for people of all abilities.

My Music Theory for [Non] Dummies, 4th edition by Michael Pilhofer, MM?, and Holly Day arrived from Amazon, US$16.89

The first thing I did was grab my roll of masking tape and Sharpie marker and replaced "Dummies" with "Newbies". [Sometimes in life one must control the narrative] smile

The 2nd thing I did was my usual new book aroma test. Nothing like the smell of a brand new book; it passed.

The 3rd thing was to check the Table of Contents
Introduction
Part 1: Getting Started with Music Theory
Part 2: Putting Notes Together
Part 3: Musical Expressions through tempo and Dynamics
Part 4: Musical Expression Through Form
Part 5: The Part of Tens
Part 6: Appendicies

The 4th thing I did was read the Introduction. Some notable info:
1. Even the most basic music theory training gives you the information you need to expand your range and abilities as a musician.
2. This book is written for the following types of musicians (which, frankly, cover the gamut)
>> The absoulte beginner
>> The music student who drifted away
>> The experienced performer

The 5th thing I did was to check if it has an index, yep it does. And several pages show up under "Circle of Fifths" in the index.

There is also a link to online material containing chord progressions and other stuff.

So far I like it . . .


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Originally Posted By: edshaw
Incidentally, I screen shot that table & gave copies to a musician Sunday who had inquired about the 1-4-5 progression, specifically in regards to adapting to the variety of keys. ( I deleted the Db , Gb, Cb, for simplicity sake.) So, thanks for that.

Glad that the major key table was worthy of sharing. I haven't been able to find such a table that links the keys to the clock position on the circle of 5ths . . so I built one.

Here is my crack at the same table for the minor keys. I have "?" for the chord designations because I don't yet know if they are different from that of the major keys. Please let me know if you spot any errors.

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Last edited by Bass Thumper; 08/05/22 01:36 PM.

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Awesome job, Bass Thumper. It occurred to me how helpful this would be, but I was self conscious about bringing it up. Now, you went and made the chart! These two charts replace dozens of little disassociated diagrams. The piano player I gave your Major Scale chart to made copies for the worship team. She was excited about having it!

Somewhere along the way I learned the triads and their inversions on guitar. It was a surprising fast study that paid immediate dividends.


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Originally Posted By: edshaw
Awesome job, Bass Thumper. It occurred to me how helpful this would be, but I was self conscious about bringing it up. Now, you went and made the chart!

Hey Ed, thanks for kind words.
This sort of thing helps cement the material in my own head and I've recieved so much from others at this forum so why not share the little I have?

I'm sure there are other chunks of music theory info out there that needs to be consolidated or presented in a way that connects dots. Let me know if you become aware of any.

Also, I edited the above table to show the "m" after the chord names to distinguish them more clearly from the major keys.


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Good show, Bass Thumper.
I changed the title to Minor Scales and added footnotes
on Minor Scale intervals: root, whole, half, whole, whole, half, whole. and a note to how to write the minor scale that is, flat the 3, 6, and 7. Also, turn a major chord to a minor by flat the 3rd degree. D-F#-A becomes D-F-A etc.

I don't know how to add a .jpg to the comment.

Last edited by edshaw; 08/06/22 04:21 AM.

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In working on my next song I stumbled upon a pair of chords that are very pleasing to me and that I think I've heard in songs over the years. It's Asus(A-D-E, 1-4-5, tension) followed by A (A-C#-E, 1-3-5, release).

If you type Asus into bars 1, 2 and 3 and A in bar 4, you'll hear a subtle but pleasing resolution happen.

My question is, can I do anything as a bass player to support/enhance this tension and release or is that the job of the other instruments like piano or guitar? I'm thinking my presense on the root is what's important to maintain a consistent firm footing for the band. If this is correct, is there anything in BiaB I can do to enhance this effect?

Does the Circle of 5ths have any bearing on what's going on here?

My "Newbies" book may address some of this at some point but I've only made it to chapter 4.


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There are no rules set in stone when it relates to music!

There are a number of things I would do to enhance the sus to major chord transition. For example I might play a D note for the first three measures then a C# to A in the fourth measure. Or an A for the first two measures, a D for the third and a C# in the fourth. Or A for the first two measures, an A to D in the third and again a C# to A in the fourth. It also depends on what the other musicians and the lead(s) are playing. It also depends if you want or need to enhance the transition. You are not limited to playing the tonic on the bass for every chord.

Just play around and see what is best for you. YMMV


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Thanks Mario, you're right, I don't necessarily need to be constrained to the root or 5th in order to support the flow.

For grins I built a snippet that runs 4 cycles of Asus, Asus, Asus, A; followed by 4 cycles of Bsus, Bsus, Bsus, B and then 4 cycles of the Asus phrase again. I added sax just to liven it up a bit.

For each of the sus chords I'm playing the 1-4-5 but on the non-sus chords I'm doing 3 beats of the 3rd (3 beats so that it's easily heard). For A it's a C# and for B it's a D#. And it works. This is definately supporting the tension-release.

You can learn a lot just by playing in the sandbox and I think I'm slowly learning how music works.
One "rule" for bass players might be when in doubt, break apart the chord and try the 3rd.
Good stuff !! smile

Asus Bsus Asus


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Originally Posted By: edshaw
I don't know how to add a .jpg to the comment.

You can click "File Manager" to add an image.


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Bass Thumper that is how you learn my friend. I have probably discarded as many failed experiments as I have posted songs. Well I shouldn't call them failed but more like learning exercises. BiaB is an excellent tool for investigating and learning new genres, scales, leads, etc.

It is fun learning with BiaB.


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Originally Posted By: MarioD
BiaB is an excellent tool for investigating and learning new genres, scales, leads, etc.

Ever watch Bob Ross on PBS with his Titanium White, Yellow Ochre and Van Dyke Brown immediately available on his palette?

Well I look at BiaB as the painter's palette for the ammeteur or pro musician. I can dab a little Asus, some B and some Bsus on my brush and paint it on my canvas . . . cooler than cool. Especially when you consider what would be involved in bringing live people together each time you want to explore something.

. . . OK, just had idea involving Prussian Blue smile . . .


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
BiaB is an excellent tool for investigating and learning new genres, scales, leads, etc.

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When I started writing songs it was on bass guitar. I'd sort out where the bass went, the lyrics and a vague melody. A friend would match the bass with chords he liked. After I learnt an half dozen chords I played the ones I could to match the bass. When I learnt a few more chords...basically nine...I'd sketch with guitar & add bass. I learnt them becasue they were simple...Em, Am, G, D, Dm, C, Bm, F & Fm. No sharps or flats obviously and the were, for the most part, simplified three note versions of the chords. I knew nothing of keys, 5ths etc. so winged it and came up with some okay songs. A little later by ear I worked out variations of those chords and came up with things like Am7 -> D -> Dm -> Am -> C -> Em -> then A2 "resolving" to Am as the base for a song. Those any many other variations stood me in good stead until I found I needed to sing my own songs through lack of singers willing to do so - I was helped to find that A was the key for my voice, weak, thin & limited and I learnt the extra chords necessary to accommodate that, (mainly taking the open F & D shapes then moving them up n down the fret board.
With BIAB it's even easier to add nice chords to a bass progression. Work out the bass, drop what you think are the roots into the chart bars and then tweak the chords to taste. Don't feel you HAVE to follow the theory stuff...if you like where your bass is going work from it...here's more freedom that way.
I was willing to do that slow evolution across almost 50 years but I can understand someone being too impatient for that.
Enjoy the learning.

Last edited by rayc; 08/11/22 12:29 AM.

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Originally Posted By: rayc
.................. Don't feel you HAVE to follow the theory stuff...if you like where your bass is going work from it...here's more freedom that way.
............................
Enjoy the learning.


I have always told my student "learn theory but don't let it get in the way of your playing. If you can't play from your heart you can't play."

Learn theory so you can practice scales, chords, etc as that will improve your play ability and possible widen your horizon; BiaB does a great job on all of that.


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Originally Posted By: rayc
Enjoy the learning.

That's exactly what I'm doing Ray.

And thanks for sharing a little about your journey and song writing methods. Everyone's journey is unique.
Mine started less than 7 years ago (just a fraction of your 50) when I bought my bass and a practice amp. I then started watching YouTubes on bass instruction and bought a Hal Leonard book or two. Then a couple years ago bought the entry-level version of BiaB. This allowed me to jam along with very simple backing tracks that I could create. Along the way I discovered the Ultimate Guitar website for chord sheets and then learned how to download popular songs (audio) so that I could practice them via the chord sheets. This then forced me to teach myself how to transpose since the chord sheets and audio files don't always align in the same key. Then Audacity allowed me to record myself which allowed me to better critique my playing. Studio One came along this year.

Regarding music theory. For years I noticed that rhythmically bouncing from the root to the 5th was pleasing to the ear. One of the things that the theory has given me is a partial understanding of why this is . . . the Circle of Fifths. So for grins a couple days ago, I constructed a BiaB Circle of Fifths "song" that walks around the circle from 12 O'clock to 12 O'clock. This is giving me insight I didn't have before. I believe if you run the circle backwards you move in steps of 4ths. It may be true that knowing theory is not required to play or write music, but I'm finding that the more theory I know the better. It's somehow comforting to know that musical genius' going back hundreds of years put together a coherent body of knowledge that the rest of us can take advantage of. And I'm sensing that this knowledge might be somehow based in mathematics; perhaps the purest and most useful tool man has devised.

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My Alter Ego Tater Totts posted a song called Circle of Fifths as a joke some years ago using the same trick.

smile

https://soundcloud.com/tater-totts-radio/circle-of-fifths

Circle of Fifths
By David Snyder

Performed by the Legendary Tater Totts

CH

Got a circle of fifths
Around the front yard
Got a circle of empty fifths
Around the back yard too
I’ll keep going around this
Circle of fifths
Until I drink my mind
Off of you
Got a Circle of Fifths
In every room in the house
And baby it’s the best that I can do
And I’ll keep going around this
Circle of fifths
Until I drink my mind of you

V1

Well I flunked out of school in the first grade
Cause I still couldn’t add
2 plus 2
But I didn’t need no schoolin’ that much anyways
I never got the hang of sniffing glue
But I reckon there’s good money money made in truckin’
Til you pull into the truck stop from hell
That’s where I met you
It was my first mistake
Cause I could smell the liquor in your hair

V2

Well I only got one question ‘bout the liquor stores
What time do they open in your town
You know I got to get there
Early as I can
Cause there’s a woman that kicked my heart around
I should have known when I pulled into that truck stop
I should have known when I kissed her
And got a whiff of that smell
I should have known that that woman was the devil
And she would drag me right straight down into hell

CH

Got a circle of fifths
Around the front yard
Got a circle of empty fifths
Around the back yard too
I’ll keep going around this
Circle of fifths
Until I drink my mind
Off of you
Got a Circle of Fifths
In every room in the house
And baby it’s the best that I can do
And I’ll keep going around this
Circle of fifths
Until I drink my mind of you

All Words and Music copyright 2018 by David Snyder

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Originally Posted By: David Snyder
My Alter Ego Tater Totts posted a song called Circle of Fifths as a joke some years ago using the same trick.

Do great minds really think alike? crazy
Very clever . . .


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
So for grins a couple days ago, I constructed a BiaB Circle of Fifths "song" that walks around the circle from 12 O'clock to 12 O'clock.

I do something similar, though as I'm jazz-oriented I tend to use a ii-V7-I-I sequence, on the next bar, changing the I to the minor as my new ii, so I get something like this (starting in C):
Dm-G7-CMaj7-CMaj7
Cm-A7-BbMaj7-BbMaj7
Bbm...

It's particularly helpful for me as jazz tends often to follow that progression, though it will almost always break away from that somewhere.

For other types of music, a mix of I IV V or I IV V vi might be better.

Don't complicate unnecessarily, though. Don't think I'm saying "you should do this!" ... it's just somthing to think about and maybe try.

FWIW, I also quite often just improvise to standard or minor blues loop. Less thinking about the progression means more relaxed and, hopefully, more fluid and expressive.


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
I do something similar, though as I'm jazz-oriented I tend to use a ii-V7-I-I sequence

As time permits I'll try to explore some of these jazz chord progressions as (thanks to my Matt Finley Pandora station) I'm appreciating jazz more and more.

The "newbies book" is really providing a good grounding that was heretofore, missing in my knowledge.
Page 8:
From what historians can tell, by the time the ancient world was beginning to establish itself - approximately 7000 B.C. - musical instruments had already achieved a complexity in design that would be carried all the way into the present.

Many people consider ancient Greece to be the actual birthplace of music theory, because the ancient Greeks started entire schools of philosophy and science built around dissecting every aspect of music that was known then.

. . . Wait a minute! This can't be a real caveman band. Where's the bass player???

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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Many people consider ancient Greece to be the actual birthplace of music theory, because the ancient Greeks started entire schools of philosophy and science built around dissecting every aspect of music that was known then.

Pythagoras, of course, defined the musical scale in a mathematical way, but in practice, the mathematical way doesn't actually sound right, so the scale has been tweaked a little, several times, so that it does sound right.

I once said something to someone about the "perfect fifth". His reply was there was no such thing, which made us both laugh due to those tweaks. Of course there actually is a perfect fifth, but it isn't quite what we actually play.

Curious.


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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott
Pythagoras, of course, defined the musical scale in a mathematical way

Ahhh, Mr. Pythagoras of hypotenuse fame. Not to be hyperbolic but he didn’t engage in hyper-hyphenated hyperbole as far as I can tell. smile

But to hydroplane back to music theory, page 77 has an interesting statement:
We could write an entire encyclopedia on the different types of scales used in music from around the world , but because this book is primarily concerned with the Western tradition of music, we confine our discussion in this chapter to the two most frequently used scales: the major and minor.

Even if “an entire encyclopedia” is an exaggeration, this tells me that this body of knowledge is huge.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Even if “an entire encyclopedia” is an exaggeration, this tells me that this body of knowledge is huge.
... and yet ... I remain fascinated by Bobby McFerrin's demonstration of the pentatonic scale.


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That is an exaggeration. The various modes and scales in Western music don’t take an encyclopedia. By that, I am not saying it’s the easiest thing to learn.


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+++ How Many Scales Are There In Music? +++

Quote:
The short answer is that there are 48 total major and minor scales. The long answer? It could be more than 200, more than 25,000 or infinity depending on the definition.


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Originally Posted By: edshaw
Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
BiaB is an excellent tool for investigating and learning new genres, scales, leads, etc.

Ed, depending on how accurate you may want the footnotes to be in your "Minor Scale" chart, pages 83-88 talks about 3 types of minor scales, natural, harmonic and melodic. They are all different. I think your footnote is referring to the natural minor scale.


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Originally Posted By: Jim Fogle
The short answer is that there are 48 total major and minor scales. The long answer? It could be more than 200, more than 25,000 or infinity depending on the definition.

Jim, in my searches I also came across that exact quote. FWIW, infinity to me sounds like it's based on a very non-useful definition (for musicians) of what a scale is.

Here is an interesting and quite bold quote I found.

There are 2048 scales in music, no more, no less. 12 of them are intervals (scales with only two notes), and 344 of the other 2036 scales are source scales”

And these people have built an encyclopedia.
https://mdecksmusic.com/2020/01/25/a-universal-encyclopedia-of-scales/

Somewhere at this site look for a video that rapidly scrolls thru each one. You need to be "Data" on Star Trek to absorb it all but it's fun to watch and think about.

Obviously, I'm way out of my league on this subject but I'd guess that if we talk about the number of practical and useful scales for musicians (worldwide), that the number is even fewer than 2048.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Originally Posted By: edshaw
Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
BiaB is an excellent tool for investigating and learning new genres, scales, leads, etc.

Ed, depending on how accurate you may want the footnotes to be in your "Minor Scale" chart, pages 83-88 talks about 3 types of minor scales, natural, harmonic and melodic. They are all different. I think your footnote is referring to the natural minor scale.


Thanks for that important piece of information, Bass Thumper.


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FYI - In my guitar scales book it list 17 scales one should know about:
1-Major scale (Ionian Mode)
2-Major pentatonic
3-Natural minor scale (Aeolian mode)
4-Minor pentatonic
5-Blues scale
6-Mixo-blues scale
7-Mixolydian mode
8-Dorina mode
9-Melodic minor scale
10-Harmonic minor scale
11-Phrygian mode
12-Locrain mode
13-Lydian mode
14-Dimnished scale (half - whole)
15-Diminished scale (whole-half)
16-Chromatic scale
17-Whole tone scale


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You should know them, then put them aside and just play and have a good time.


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Infinity is a very, very large value indeed, that's best handled as an abstract concept, rather than trying to understand it.
Think of the largest number that you can imaging ... say a digit followed by a million zeros, or the number of atoms in the universe.
In comparison with infinity, those numbers are a close approximation to zero.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The post earlier that said 2048 is OK for Western music with 12 tones per scale. 2048 is 2^11, which is all the possible two-or more combinations of notes in sequence.
Eastern and middle eastern scales often have microtones, so have more that 12 notes per octave, so the number of feasible scales would be significantly higher.
That also ignores the possiblity of scales that span more than an octave ... and is there any real reason why they should not?

Mario's guitar book's 17 scales you should know are plenty for most of us; too many for lots of us. The two diminished scales are, of course, actually the same thing, varying only by where one starts them.

Don't get hung up on them!
Edit: I.e. ... what Matt said.

Last edited by Gordon Scott; 08/16/22 12:19 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

Don't get hung up on them!
Edit: I.e. ... what Matt said.

I would hope no one is hung up on an infinite, 2048 or even 17 scales. I know I'm not.

For me, exploring such questions adds to ones basic knowledge of what music is, and how vast it might be.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Originally Posted By: Gordon Scott

Don't get hung up on them!
Edit: I.e. ... what Matt said.

I would hope no one is hung up on an infinite, 2048 or even 17 scales. I know I'm not.

For me, exploring such questions adds to ones basic knowledge of what music is, and how vast it might be.


I am not hung up on scales or any other music theory. There is only one set in stone rule in music and that is there are no rules in music. Just play from your heart and you will do just fine. Consequently one with no learned music theory/scales and still be a fantastic musician.


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Yeah Mario,

I think it is pretty simple.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with the guitar--like addicted to it. My parents could not wrestle it out of my hands from the age of 12 on, when I bought my first real acoustic with tobacco cropping money.

I studied scales for hours every day not because I had to but because I was mesmerized, finding all those patterns on the fretboard that turned out to be math equations. Next to girls, what was there in life, if not a fretboard???

So years later, when someone talks about all the things you have to do and have to know I always want to laugh. Sure, it has to come from the heart. But if you want to tell a girl you love her, she has to know you mean it. She will not be fooled. Same thing with music.

So, you either love your instrument or you don't.

And if you do, you know there actually is a rule.

If it sounds good, put your finger there.

If it doesn't don't.

You will know.

It will be just as natural as going in for the kiss.

smile

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Originally Posted By: David Snyder
Yeah Mario,

I think it is pretty simple.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with the guitar--like addicted to it. My parents could not wrestle it out of my hands from the age of 12 on, when I bought my first real acoustic with tobacco cropping money.

I studied scales for hours every day not because I had to but because I was mesmerized, finding all those patterns on the fretboard that turned out to be math equations. Next to girls, what was there in life, if not a fretboard???

............................


smile


David, our starting paths are very similar. I was 14 when I became addicted to guitars. I got my first job picking cherries (we had to be 14 to get working papers up here in this state), saved my money, and bought my first acoustic guitar. Every free minute I had I was on that guitar. Besides teaching myself via the old Mel Bay guitar books I was killing my Chuck Berry albums trying to learn his licks.

I also found out that playing guitar was a great way to meet girls! However the one I married I did not meet at a gig!

Your absolutely right in that if it sounds good it is good.

PS - my kissing has been limited to mostly one lady for the last 55 years!


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Originally Posted By: David Snyder

And if you do, you know there actually is a rule.
If it sounds good, put your finger there.

+1 and very well articulated, there is a rule.
If this rule didn't exist, we wouldn't have music.
Consider this spectrum: painful noise, sound, mediocre music, good music, great music. (With great music spanning generations and centuries.)

With absolutely no rules you get noise, that few if any, will be interested in listening to. An example: Record a chimpanzee banging on a grand piano, and then try to have Pandora or your local radio station play it for the masses. I don't think you'd get too far.

Why is Beethoven, Mozart and others still reverred today? I'd say because they understood the rules and applied them masterfully. And these rules could very well be psychological or emotional.

If we drill a bit deeper we find that proper rhythm is one element that plays a huge role in good and great music. I'm hoping that thru music theory I can discover other elements.


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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper
Originally Posted By: David Snyder

And if you do, you know there actually is a rule.
If it sounds good, put your finger there.

+1 and very well articulated, there is a rule.
If this rule didn't exist, we wouldn't have music.
.......................


But if the notes you play don't follow the accepted rules of the day then there are no rules right?

For instance the same 88 keys were under Beethoven that were under Monk but their music is totally different. Beethoven followed the rules of his time and Monk broke all of them.

My point is that music is always evolving, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but to evolve one must break the current rules.

Or am I way off base here?

Last edited by MarioD; 08/17/22 03:11 AM.

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Originally Posted By: MarioD
My point is that music is always evolving, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but to evolve one must break the current rules.

Or am I way off base here?

Yes, music is always evolving and yes, sometimes rules are broken or changed and yes, new rules are written to add to the body of existing rules. But none of this says rules don't exist.

In addition to the rule of rhythm, I suspect that if we explore deeper that we will find that there are rules involving melody, harmony and other elements of good/great music, that if broken will slide you down the spectrum from music into sound and then if you keep going, painful noise.

I suggest that music in general is saturated with rules . . . for good reason. Some we may be conciously aware of and others not so much.

Even in our most "rule-less" genre, jazz, in many works I can hear the rules at play; consistent rhythm, repeating phrases, moving away from a musical thought and the returning to it, etc. I think this is because the composer had an audience in mind that he/she intends to communicate with.

I suspect that music is full of rules because at some deep level, music is a language. And in order for the reciever to understand what the transmitter is transmitting, both have to understand a common set of rules that govern the language.

No Rules = Randomness = Noise

In my opinion, here is a great piece of music. To demonstrate my above equation, import this into your DAW and then attempt to break every rule you can. Tweak the rhythm, alter the phrasing, randomly modify the structure. I think you'll find noise is the result.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgFhNbFvl_s


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Jazz, unless it’s the anarchy kind of free jazz (which I have no use for), works because all the players do know the rules. They may knowingly choose to break some of them for uniqueness, but the underlying song structures are followed by all. This is how I can perform in concert with someone I’ve just met, with no rehearsal. It’s a common and unspoken language we all share.


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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Jazz, unless it’s the anarchy kind of free jazz (which I have no use for), works because all the players do know the rules. They may knowingly choose to break some of them for uniqueness, but the underlying song structures are followed by all. This is how I can perform in concert with someone I’ve just met, with no rehearsal. It’s a common and unspoken language we all share.

+1
Anarchy Jazz. Never heard that description before (it fits), and I too have no use for it. I simply don't understand the dielect, if in fact, it is a dialect.

An observation: Since frequenting this forum, and without exception, every song posted in my opinion has followed rules. Be it rock, jazz, country, blues or other genre. Even lyrically there are rules involving cadence and rhyme. Lyricists, here and elsewhere know this well when they practice their tradecraft.

Indeed, I'd say that in order for a song to be a member of a genre that it has to (at least primarily) follow the rules of that genre, because all languages are rules-based. Blues in particular has a heavy rules-based song structure. I don't have the knowledge to put it into words, but if you violate that rule, you've destroyed the song. Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, BB King, etc, all know this rule and (innately) so do their audiences. . . which I think is cool.


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Originally Posted By: MarioD
David, our starting paths are very similar. I was 14 when I became addicted to guitars.

My musical history is quite different from you guys. Less than 7 years ago I retired after an exciting and stimulating career and so I bought a bass guitar and started to teach myself. I soon found myself in a church band where I learned my first 2 rules about playing music:

1. Keep in time with everybody else, especially the drummer
2. Blend

As for working as a child. We grew up blue collar so I started raking the neighbor's leaves in the Autumn and shovelling their driveways in the Winter when school was cancelled due to snow storms starting at age 10. Then I "graduated" to a paper route which was steadier money. Those days taught me something about work ethic.

Last edited by Bass Thumper; 08/20/22 01:12 AM.

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Originally Posted By: Bass Thumper

My musical history is quite different from you guys. Less than 7 years ago I retired after an exciting and stimulating career. And I looked around and noticed I didn't have a passion (other than my wife and my faith) so I bought a bass guitar and started to teach myself. I soon found myself in a church band where I learned my first 2 rules about playing music:
1. Keep in time with everybody else, especially the drummer
2. Blend

As for working as a child. We grew up blue collar so I started raking the neighbor's leaves in the Autumn and shovelling their driveways in the Winter when school was cancelled due to snow storms starting at age 10. Then I "graduated" to a paper route which was steadier money. Those days taught me something about work ethic.


I wish that you lived around here and played the bass around 1973! I had a wedding band with 4 regular musicians but a number of temporary bassist! I fired most all of them because they could not adhere to your #1 and #2! Drinking did not help there rhythm either. Having a bassist that does not adhere to those standards can really kill a band.


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Cop, that's not how field sobriety tests work.

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The pentatonic scale is, probably, the most used scale in popular music - for solos, "improvisations" and such.

Let's not forget atonalism as described by Schoenberg in his Pierrot Luniare.
It has strict, and difficult to follow, rules for those indoctrinated in the classical/18thC musical traditions that still outline much musical discourse.



I love this period of his work dearly but cannot begin to work within it's parameters as my skills, ears and heavily reinforced expectations simply won't allow it.

I do, however, "break the rules" often - particularly those related to chord progressions within a "key" or "key" itself.
That said, some of my stuff has been described, by music teachers, as senseless.

I was told that this was an egregious breaking of the rules...that it couldn't be a song, that it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up etc. I, quite simply, like the sound of the chords together and built the melody from chord tones as that "sound" suited the melancholy/disrupted-ness and paranoia of the lyric.


I've written plenty of songs that are more well behaved/well tempered. This is one I wrote, (well, the chords & lyrics), in 76 or 77 but forgot/lost until a couple of years ago. It's constrained by the chords I knew at the time...about half a dozen.


Last edited by rayc; 08/18/22 09:10 PM.

Cheers
rayc
"What's so funny about peace, love & understanding?" - N.Lowe
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I've made it to the Circle of Fifths in the newbies book.
Pages 92 and 93:
The creation of the Circle of Fifths is the very foundation of modern Western music theory, which is why we talk about it so much in this book.
Along with being your best friend for deciphering key signatures on sight, the Circle of Fifths is just as essential in writing music, because its clever design is helpful in composing and harmonizing melodies, building chords, and moving to different keys within a composition.


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Page 171 has a rather sweeping statement.

When you really think about it, the entire history of Western music can be summed up by I-V-I or I-IV-I. From Baroque-period music to rock ‘n’ roll, this formula holds darned true. What’s really amazing is that this simple formula has resulted in so many songs that sound so different from one another. This variation is possible because the notes and chords in a key signature can be arranged in so many different ways.

I wonder how true the 1st sentence is.


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For me there’s no better place in the band than to have one leg in the harmony world and the other in the percussive. Thank you Paul Tutmarc and Leo Fender.
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One thing not mentioned in this thread is the term Scale Tone 7ths or sometimes Scale Tone Degrees. It's described in several places in this thread but not named. That term is very well known among musicians. What your major and minor charts are showing is Scale Tone 7ths. Note a 7th chord is four notes, not a basic triad. Sure, people can play a major or minor triad on guitar or piano but 75% of the time or more it's a version of a 7th chord because a simple triad is so plain vanilla. 7th chords are the foundation of pretty much everything. In the major chart you created it should be called the Scale Tone 7ths chart. 1 is major, 2 is minor, 3 is minor, etc. But, it's a Major or Minor 7th with the minor 7th down a half step so in C the Maj 7th is B but the Min 7th is Bb.

The comment about knowing all the scales and theory but then you can break those rules is completely wrong for a newbie. No, you can't break the rules until you know them so intimately you can play every one of them in your sleep then maybe think about breaking them. The point of endless practicing to learn a diminished or whole tone scale is to pound it into your brain what they sound like so when you listen to records you recognize exactly what they're doing. If you're only messing around in your basement writing your own stuff then feel free to break some rules but even then, not recommended. If you're playing out with others then absolutely not. Start doing that you'll get thrown off the stage or at least never get called back again. Pretty much everyone I work with in rock, blues, funk, jazz groups and one big band knows all this stuff better than I do but I can hang with them.

Each one of those scales have a distinctive sound against the primary tonality of the song. You hear it, you realize the person played a snippet of a whole tone scale to lead to the next chord change for example so the next time you play that tune you can play something that compliments it and why? Because you practiced it for hours and hours over the last six months or whatever. Each scale requires different fingerings and hand positions so it's not something you can just do with no practice. If you ask your guitarist what he did and he says I played two bars of whole tone over the four chord you know what he means. You don't work on that stuff what he said is Greek to you.

So yeah, if you want to be a complete player you need to know all those scales. Do I know them all fluidly? Heck no that's a ton of work but I do know the most commonly used ones, all I'm saying is this is one reason learning music is a lifelong thing because there's isn't time unless you're a genius level full time pro. Us part time hackers have other things to do in addition to our little musical hobby. To me the most important scales to learn are of course the major and minor but then learn the blues scale, by far the most important one in classic rock and blues, the pentatonic major and minor (very important) then the diminished and whole tone. That's only six, not too bad.

People think this is for mostly jazz, not true at all. I've analyzed lots of classic rock stuff by the Eagles, the Allman Bros, Santana, Genesis, Queen and so many more. Most of those guys when you read their bios started as very educated musicians, they knew all this stuff from day one. Neil Schon's dad Matt played sax in the symphony and co wrote several Journey tunes so no, Neil didn't just pick it up on his own. Some did of course but they had so much talent and great ears they figured it out as they went but that's very rare. Paul McCartney for example grew up in a house where his father was the leader of a big band and had a piano in his living room. What about modern music? Lady Gaga, Nora Jones and Charlie Puth are all classically trained pianists.

All these great players learned all these rules at an early age and probably broke some of them but not until much later. You have to be a master before you have the right to start breaking them because they've been developed over centuries and are there for a very good reason. They work.

Bob


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Just wanted to follow up and say that I finally finished my newbies book, it was a good read and a good start.
I learned a lot from it and would suggest it to anyone who is at my theory level.

I also wanted to thank all those that participated in this discussion, there is a lot of knowledge contained in this thread.

https://www.amazon.com/Music-Theory-Dumm...77858&psc=1


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