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Music Theory Archives

Bass & Creativity: The ii-V-I and Voice Leading
Bass & Creativity

Bass & Creativity: The ii-V-I and Voice Leading

The ii-V-I is one of the most common chord progressions in music. As bassists, we have a horizontal view of the harmonic movement. Today we’ll see how other instruments view the progression and implement voice leading to build interesting lines.

Bass & Creativity: Dorian Mode
Bass & Creativity

Bass & Creativity: Dorian Mode

Olivier Babaz is back with his second entry in his “Bass & Creativity” lesson series. In this video lesson, he’s focusing on exploring the sounds, colors, and options through improvisation within the Dorian mode.

Bass & Creativity: Harmonic Sequences
Bass & Creativity

Bass & Creativity: Harmonic Sequences

In this video lesson, we'll practice and explore the harmonic possibilities of combining bass playing with one or two top notes. Follow along with the video and topic outline.

Where To Start with Music Theory
Ask Damian Erskine

Where To Start with Music Theory

A reader sent Damian one of the most honest questions we've seen, focused on his lack of understanding theory and his desire to change that. Check out what Damian has to say on “Where To Start with Music Theory.”

The Lightbulb Moment: One Song To Learn
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: One Song To Learn

Ryan’s new “Lightbulb Moment” started out with a question: “Is there one song that contains an exemplary amount of bass playing knowledge?” She picked one and broke it down completely. (The tune may come as a surprise!)

Vertical Soloing: Using Minor Pentatonic on Five Chord Types
Vertical Soloing

Vertical Soloing: Using Minor Pentatonic on Five Chord Types

In this lesson, Lorin Cohen illustrates how to use one minor pentatonic scale over five chord types. In this case, using the B minor pentatonic scale to play over a progression. This illustrates what Lorin calls a “vertical” approach to soloing, where we create lines that move swiftly up and across the fingerboard.

How Much Music Theory Do I Really Need To Know?
Ask Damian Erskine

How Much Music Theory Do I Really Need To Know?

A reader emailed Damian describing his struggles with music theory and asked for his thoughts on the importance of it. While there are lots of ways to look at this, Damian breaks describes some paths to take in your musical growth.

Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Modal Arpeggio Patterns for Bass

We’re continuing our exercise series this week with a lesson on modal arpeggio patterns. Learning modes, scales, and patterns help to open the fretboard up in your mind. You learn the connections, intervals, and relationships of the notes. Some of this sounds more complicated than it is. Hang in there and we will work it all out.

Hal Leonard Publishes Music Theory for Bass Players
Sheet Music & Instruction

Hal Leonard Publishes Music Theory for Bass Players

If you’re looking for a new book to bone up on your music theory, Hal Leonard has published a new book on the subject dedicated to bassists. Music Theory for Bass Players is a 160-page book aimed at helping you get the most out of your playing. Written by Steve Gorenberg, it has chapters starting with the musical alphabet and...

Creative Bass Lines: Using the Melodic Minor Scale To Navigate on a Minor ii-V-i Chord Progression
Creative Bass Lines

Creative Bass Lines: Using the Melodic Minor Scale To Navigate on a Minor ii-V-i Chord Progression

Welcome back to another column, and today we’re diving further into jazz-related harmony with a look at starting to get inside two of the most useful modes from the melodic minor scale. The full line is demonstrated right after the opening title credits, with a little backing groove, and then during the video, I dissect and explain it for you....

Talking Technique: Alberti Bass
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Alberti Bass

Do you know what an “Alberti Bass” is? If you play electric bass (rather than cembalo in the 1700’s), you are excused if you don’t. That does not mean that we cannot use this keyboard figure to inspire some heavy duty technique shedding: string crossing, right-hand shedding, and coordination. In this lesson, we’ll go over these Alberti-inspired figures over the...

Talking Technique: Whole Tone Riffin’
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Whole Tone Riffin’

The whole tone scale is a really interesting scale. Unlike our major and pentatonic scales, it’s built out of all whole steps making it sound a little bit eerie and bright. Because the scale is symmetrical, it does not sound like it has a beginning or an end. Another neat fact is that there are only two whole tone scales:...