#1
she started playing bass recently and i have started teaching her basic theory we went over the major scale and intervals and everything no problem but when we got to major and minor chords she hit an extremely weird roadblock. im a fairly experienced guitar teacher so im pretty good at explaining things to people

basically i was trying to show her how major chords have a "happy upbeat" vibe
and Minor chords have a darker sad vibe. i was firing off chords after i explained the difference between the two and asking her to answer if it was major sounding or minor. basically every chord she hears sounds the same to her (happy as she describes it) its always happy sounding to her and she cant tell the difference in emotion between the two. is this normal for some beginners? i dont remember ever having any trouble distinguishing the difference when i was learning but it was also a very long time ago.


its also strange to me that she relates happy sounding to high pitched notes and sad sounding to low pitched notes. is this normal??

any tips on how to relate this to her better??
#2
I think it's more to do with passive experience rather than something that's taught, I'm pretty sure this is normal for beginners and will start to hear the difference in emotion between major and minor

Hope i helped
#3
The pitch relation is normal. Higher pitched notes tend to sound "happier." for lack of a better term

And the happy/sad thing is sort of an elementary way of explaining really. I stumbled over that because I prefer the sound of minor but I understood what my teacher meant.

The only way I can think of is sheer comparison. When I was learning 7ths I had the hardest time but they are quite easy to distinguish now. Time, practice, major and minor back and forth.
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#4
Some people are just tone-challenged, just like some people have no rhythm. Not much you can do...with A LOT of practice she might be able to get by but if she can't tell the difference between major and minor it is very unlikely for her to ever achieve a very well-trained ear.
#5
Quote by JayLacelle
Some people are just tone-challenged, just like some people have no rhythm. Not much you can do...with A LOT of practice she might be able to get by but if she can't tell the difference between major and minor it is very unlikely for her to ever achieve a very well-trained ear.



I completely disagree with the second half of this statement. The first half, quite true, but anything can be improved with practice and time. The more practice and effort, the more improvement. Understanding major and minor sound differences isn't a huge concept but it's not entirely basic either. Consider that she may never have even thought about the difference between major and minor. Hard to hear something you hardly have an understanding of.

My first theory teacher said basically the same thing you are saying. Well, my second one really worked with me and then I went to college and got 100% on all of my Theory skills tests.
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

Protools HD
Lynx Aurora 16/HD192
Mojave, Sennheiser, AKG, EV etc mics
Focusrite ISA828 pres
Waves Mercury
Random Rack Gear

65 Deluxe Reverb
PRS CE 22
American Standard Strat
Taylor 712
Last edited by Artemis Entreri at Jun 30, 2010,
#6
maybe try showing her on a piano, and making her come up with her own major chords and their relative minors?
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#7
Maybe you were rushing her a little? She could have been tired. Alternatively she might have her own way of telling the difference between the two. Maybe she doesn't care about chords right now when she's trying to learn the fundamentals of the bass and just wants to know how to play some songs first.
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#8
Quote by AlanHB
Maybe you were rushing her a little? She could have been tired. Alternatively she might have her own way of telling the difference between the two. Maybe she doesn't care about chords right now when she's trying to learn the fundamentals of the bass and just wants to know how to play some songs first.



good point.

its easy for me to forget how overwhelming everything can be.. at that stage.
#9
Quote by Coagulation
basically i was trying to show her how major chords have a "happy upbeat" vibe
and Minor chords have a darker sad vibe. i was firing off chords after i explained the difference between the two and asking her to answer if it was major sounding or minor. basically every chord she hears sounds the same to her (happy as she describes it) its always happy sounding to her and she cant tell the difference in emotion between the two. is this normal for some beginners? i dont remember ever having any trouble distinguishing the difference when i was learning but it was also a very long time ago.

You have to remember... to the untrained ear, single chords sound the same. Try playing her a i iv v and then a I IV V. That gives her an actual example.

its also strange to me that she relates happy sounding to high pitched notes and sad sounding to low pitched notes. is this normal??


This is COMPLETELY normal. Lower pitches have a tendency to be used in darker pieces. They're used a lot in horror, or to build suspense or things like that. Whereas higher pitches are "lighter" and have a more airy sound, thus, happier.

Of course, everything Alan said could be right. If this was all one lesson, I'd say that's a lil' too fast. Stick with intervals and the major scale, and when she has those down good move onto chords. That's just me though.
#10
Quote by Coagulation
she started playing bass recently and i have started teaching her basic theory we went over the major scale and intervals and everything no problem but when we got to major and minor chords she hit an extremely weird roadblock. im a fairly experienced guitar teacher so im pretty good at explaining things to people

basically i was trying to show her how major chords have a "happy upbeat" vibe
and Minor chords have a darker sad vibe. i was firing off chords after i explained the difference between the two and asking her to answer if it was major sounding or minor. basically every chord she hears sounds the same to her (happy as she describes it) its always happy sounding to her and she cant tell the difference in emotion between the two. is this normal for some beginners? i dont remember ever having any trouble distinguishing the difference when i was learning but it was also a very long time ago.


its also strange to me that she relates happy sounding to high pitched notes and sad sounding to low pitched notes. is this normal??


any tips on how to relate this to her better??


yes it is, pretty much
#11
Quote by DiminishedFifth
You have to remember... to the untrained ear, single chords sound the same. Try playing her a i iv v and then a I IV V. That gives her an actual example.
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#12
I agree with you all about showing a three chord progresssion while one is in major and the other is in minor. Tone challenged isn't exactly the entire story. Some people follow the rhythm first, then the tone or vice versa.
#13
Quote by DiminishedFifth
You have to remember... to the untrained ear, single chords sound the same. Try playing her a i iv v and then a I IV V. That gives her an actual example


I dont want to jump the 'me-too' bandwagon, but I agree with this.

Also, arpeggiate them too!