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Music Theory Archives - Page 2

The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Substitutions

For those of you who haven’t noticed, I enjoy learning about food almost as much as I enjoy exploring the bass. Lucky for me, there are plenty of parallels between the world of food and the world of music. Both rely on unique combinations of ingredients in order to make a final product. Both can be traced back to a...

Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords
Ask Damian Erskine

Melodic Minor vs. Diminished Scales Over Dominant Chords

Q: You know, jazz theory can be really, really confusing! I know that you can use a melodic minor a half step above a dominant chord as a substitution before resolving to the I-chord to emphasize tension notes (creating an out-sound). But, apparently, you can also use a whole-half diminished scale a half step up from the same dominant chord....

Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales
Ask Damian Erskine

Relative vs. Parallel Minor Scales

Q: What is the difference between “relative” and “parallel” when talking about jazz theory? I hear “relative minor” a lot, but I recently heard someone at school talk about “parallel minor.” A: Good question! First, I’ll take a look at this column I wrote in 2014 concerning modes (and the relative minor). The term “relative minor” refers to the modes....

Talking Technique: Talking Double Stops
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Talking Double Stops

Looking for ways to spice up your grooves? Double stops are a great option. In their most basic form, double stops are when we play two notes together at the same time. They can sound muddy in some registers of the bass, but we’ll go over some tricks to make them sound like gold. This is another all-in-one lesson as...

The Lightbulb Moment: Major? Minor? Why Bother?
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Major? Minor? Why Bother?

Being a bass player is awesome. Not only do you get to hang in the back and groove, but you get to skate by on all of that “theory” stuff that guitar players have to deal with. You know… like chords and whatnot. We only have to play one note at a time! That’s like… way easier. I wouldn’t want...

Talking Technique: Pedalling
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Pedalling

There are only so many hours in the day, so it’s always great to figure out ways to make the best use of your practice time. One way to get the biggest use of your practice is to combine different topics to bolster your understanding: music theory with song learning, rhythmic accuracy with slapping, phrasing with fretboard knowledge, and so...

Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales
Ask Damian Erskine

Where to Use Whole Tone and Other Scales

Q: So, do you play whole tone scales over the ?5, and altered scales over the dominant chords. Major chords – do use use whole tone? Minor scales – do use use dorian? or a jazz minor? A: Much of what goes into deciding what scale to use over any given chord is all about the context (what chords are...

Advanced Bass: The Tritone Substitution Matrix
Advanced Bass

Advanced Bass: The Tritone Substitution Matrix

When learning to play your bass, an overkill of theory can often paralyze your results while performing. Many musicians have learned the theory of Tritone Substitution, but when trying to apply this information, they often end up short-changed. In this bass lesson, we’ll cover a simple but direct concept for the immediate application for Tritone Substitution based on the presence...

Ariane Cap Releases Music Theory Book for Bassists
Sheet Music & Instruction

Ariane Cap Releases Music Theory Book for Bassists

Bassist, pianist, composer and educator Ariane Cap has decided to make understanding music theory easier to understand for bassists in her book, Music Theory for the Bass Player: A Comprehensive and Hands-on Guide to Playing with More Confidence and Freedom. The theory in the book is designed to be approachable, and can even be used by players who can’t read...

Developing a Solo Over Chord Changes
Ask Damian Erskine

Developing a Solo Over Chord Changes

Q: I have a question about improvising. If one browses the internet for learning how to improvise on the bass guitar, one can easily find lots of great tips: learn familiar melodies and expand them, learn solos from other instruments and be inspired by others. I would like to know about how to approach improvising using musical theory. In this...