Re: Your opinions, please

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Posted by Kyla on August 25, 2000 at 10:18:55:

In Reply to: Your opinions, please posted by Asbestos Man on August 25, 2000 at 08:44:54:

: I have very little musical theroy knowledge, and I want to improve my improvisational and songwriting skills. What are the best things to learn, and the best ways to learn them?

Hey Asbestos Man,

Being new to bass, I can't offer much in the way of advice pertaining to music theory as it relates specifically to the bass, but having taken many courses in music theory in graduate school, I can tell you what about music theory I found helpful in terms of a general knowledge of, and appreciation for music.

The most basic music theory is all about rhythms. In the first course I took we focused on creating and feeling all types of rhythm. So if you are into particular types of rhythms, listen to lots of stuff in that genre - get the beat, create your own reconstruction of it without the music, and learn to syncopate it as you listen to the beat. In class, we did this by snapping our fingers, clapping, stomping our feet, and just generally makin' noise. :-)

Now, as I listen to more and more music with intricate bass lines, and try to get into a groove as it pertains to my bass, I will tap my fingers on my thigh as I listen to, then syncopate the beats in the songs I hear. I do this without acutally playing, because I'm a beginner, but you could prob. play along and improvise as you go...little variations on the beats you hear.

The second course I took was very helpful in terms of "feeling" a combination of rhythm and pitch. It had to do with charting music. Pick a piece of music you like that's got a bunch of stuff going on in it, and create a chart, using your own *consistant* symbols, of what's going on in the music. You can make marks of a certain type to symbolize a certain instrument and move those up and down to symbolize the pitch you hear, space them closer together or further apart to symbolize the beat...for example.

One of the neat things about making a chart of a piece of music is then comparing your chart to the written score. You can see how good your ear is by matching what you wrote with what the composer wrote, and it helps you learn to read music too.

I hope some of this was in some way helpful.


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