Skip to main content

Music Theory Archives - Page 3

Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing
Ask Damian Erskine

Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing

Q: I have never studied an instrument aside from bass. In watching countless guitarists pick up my bass and rip out some cool lines (and the left hand of pianists), I’ve realized that I’ve never really found an effective way to internalize “vertical harmony”, and thus my lines lack coherence as a whole. How do you suggest I familiarize myself...

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 3 – Practice Material
Ask Damian Erskine

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 3 – Practice Material

As a follow up to this series on harmonic substitutions, I thought that I would include a few choice pages from my book, The Improvisor’s Path, related directly to what we’ve been discussing. First, here are the pages that relate to my breakdown of some available scaler substitutions. Next is the Wayne Shorter tune, “Nefertiti” with a few scaler options...

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 2
Ask Damian Erskine

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 2

In part 1 of this series, we were experimenting with using substitutions that allowed us to play familiar major and minor scale shapes over various basic chord types. Now, let’s move on to melodic and harmonic minor mode choices. First, let’s make sure that we’re all familiar with these two scales: Harmonic minor = Aeolian (natural minor) with a major...

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 1
Ask Damian Erskine

Breaking Down Harmonic Substitutions: Part 1

Q: What are substitutions and how can I make use of them? A: The first answer is easy: a substitution is using one chord in the place of another. For example: We might assume that a C Major chord symbol (CMaj7 or C?7) would imply a C major scale: C D E F G A B C But what if...

Book Review: Damian Erskine’s “The Improvisor’s Path”
Reviews

Book Review: Damian Erskine’s “The Improvisor’s Path”

There comes a time for every bassist where they feel they’re in a rut or have hit a plateau in their playing and creativity. It happens to the best of us. Bassist and No Treble contributor Damian Erskine’s new book The Improvisor’s Path is a surefire way to get yourself back into high gear. While Erskine’s first instructional book, Right...

Learning the Bass Fretboard by Rocking Out
Bass Lessons

Learning the Bass Fretboard by Rocking Out

Here’s a lesson I’d classify as beginner/intermediate level, but the truth is, it is something I think can benefit all of us. The goal of this lesson is to become comfortable with the entire fretboard, through learning the notes on every fret. Using a simple Rolling Stones-style rock groove backing track, this lesson focuses in on working our way through...

Music Theory – Chords in Minor Keys App Released for Android
Apps

Music Theory – Chords in Minor Keys App Released for Android

Stuart Bahn has just released the second in his Music Theory Toolkit Series of apps for Android devices, entitled Music Theory – Chords in Minor Keys. The app trains you to learn all the minor, major, and diminished chords found in all 12 minor keys. Your theory is tested as the app displays a minor key and a roman numeral,...

App Review: Musicopoulos Music Theory and Practice
Apps

App Review: Musicopoulos Music Theory and Practice

There aren’t many music theory apps I’ve enjoyed using for very long. But Musicopoulos changed that for me on a recent flight home, taking various tests and running their Music Theory and Practice through its paces. This app is fun to use and covers a wide enough variety of content. The thing I enjoyed most about the app is that...

Chord Construction: A Guide for Bassists
Ask Damian Erskine

Chord Construction: A Guide for Bassists

Q: I’ve been playing bass for about four years, and I’ve had difficulty with understanding chord construction on the bass. I know my scales and their modes inside and out, and I know a lot about the fretboard. My technique is good too, but I figured when I was starting out that I really didn’t need to know chords “because...

Pablo Elorza: “Continuum” Lesson and Analysis
Bass Lessons

Pablo Elorza: “Continuum” Lesson and Analysis

Pablo Elorza has published the second video in his “Deep Into Electric Bass Classics” series of bass lessons with an in-depth look at the popular Jaco Pastorius tune “Continuum.” After playing through the tune, Elorza explains the methods and techniques Pastorius used to create his melodies. The lesson is a great one for any music theory buff as well as...