#1
So I've heard musicians talk about how a chord has a bass note in the upper string area and that just got me worried there's a part to chords I don't know about? What function does it have exactly?
#2
Study a bit of four part harmony (preferably more than a bit. warning: it's dull) and you will understand bass lines and their relation to chords much better.

And upper string area? The bass is the LOWEST note, not the highest. Unless upper string means thicker strings?
Last edited by Elintasokas at Apr 6, 2015,
#3
I'm going to assume you're talking about how some chords have their ROOT note (not bass note, bass is the lowest, root is what the chord is named after eg eminor = E root) anywhere in the chord that isn't the lowest note. These are called inversions, here's a video which hopefully explains it well for a guitar application:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_-I6-MPX0M
Last edited by Jimjambanx at Apr 7, 2015,
#4
jimjam---just a bit of clarification from your post re: inversion names--

..........Root C E G (B) CMA7- systematic close voiced inversions 1 3 5 7
1st Inversion E G B C 3 5 7 1
2nd Inversion G B C E 5 7 1 3
3rd Inversion B C E G 7 1 3 5

there are other configurations of the notes..on different string sets as the vid points out with wider voicings that are used in many progressions

you called the C/E chord a 3rd inversion (yes the third tone is in the bass..but it is called the first inversion of the chord)
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Apr 6, 2015,
#5
Quote by wolflen
jimjam---just a bit of clarification from your post re: inversion names--

..........Root C E G (B) CMA7- systematic close voiced inversions 1 3 5 7
1st Inversion E G B C 3 5 7 1
2nd Inversion G B C E 5 7 1 3
3rd Inversion B C E G 7 1 3 5

there are other configurations of the notes..on different string sets as the vid points out with wider voicings that are used in many progressions

you called the C/E chord a 3rd inversion (yes the third tone is in the bass..but it is called the first inversion of the chord)


LOL must have been tired and wasn't thinking when I wrote that It was 2am when I wrote it so yeah, my bad. I've since edited out my incorrect explanation to avoid further confusion.
Last edited by Jimjambanx at Apr 7, 2015,
#6
Quote by bboyrocker1
So I've heard musicians talk about how a chord has a bass note in the upper string area and that just got me worried there's a part to chords I don't know about? What function does it have exactly?



dunno bruv but i no u need to lay off da weed you get me yeh?
#7
Generally a chord is defined by the lowest note being played, but music is a bit like language, and context is important.

The brain is expecting certain movements to happen and will kind of "fill in" temporarily if the lowest note does not exist in the bass. The stronger the context, in other words the more structure you have before and after a chord is played, the less important the "root bass" becomes.

This is more of an emergent property of music then a direct application of its theory.. People have discovered that it sounds more interesting to build bass lines with "shape," and sticking too closely to theoretical limits gets tiresome. So in order to build a bassline that "walks" or "moves" vs jumping around, songwriters often substitute a 3rd or a 5th, even a 7th in the bass for a moment.

It's a matter of what sounds better versus what is theoretically perfect.
#9
Quote by Elintasokas
^ You know inversions exist and are theoretically completely correct.

Absolutely.

Just generally playing an inversion out in the open makes less harmonic sense then when it occurs as a part of a chord movement, all I'm saying.

Guitaristically it's more of a natural thing to happen. We're often unaccompanied, and we're used to hearing it that way.

What was "odd" or "incorrect" in previous generations, like using tritones, has become an accepted part of music theory as it became standard practice.

At one time it probably wasn't as "correct" to play an inversion all by itself like that. That's according to some intellectuals, though, so who cares, really?

It sounds good.
#10
I mean, why would you just cripple yourself by not learning inversions?

They sound totally fine by themselves.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#11
Music has evolved and as it has the theory has had to adapt to what people are playing. People don't play theory, they play music, and people do their best to figure it out some time later.

To an early student, however, confused by the existence of inversions it may be helpful to think a little more simplistically, or explain it in more concrete fashion. We do the same with physics and chemistry - by introducing the Bohr model as a working means of explaining atomic theory, even though it's entirely inaccurate.

It's from a simpler time and in fact does explain a lot of macroscopic phenomena, like changing states of matter. If we think of molecules as tiny little Mickey Mouse things this makes enough sense for a layperson.
#12
Quote by HorrorfaN
Absolutely.

Just generally playing an inversion out in the open makes less harmonic sense then when it occurs as a part of a chord movement, all I'm saying.

Guitaristically it's more of a natural thing to happen. We're often unaccompanied, and we're used to hearing it that way.

What was "odd" or "incorrect" in previous generations, like using tritones, has become an accepted part of music theory as it became standard practice.

At one time it probably wasn't as "correct" to play an inversion all by itself like that. That's according to some intellectuals, though, so who cares, really?

It sounds good.

Since when have inversions been against the rules?
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

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#13
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Since when have inversions been against the rules?

You may want to reread what I wrote as I used the words "in context" which is key to what I was trying to say here:

If one encounters the following chord:


e|8 C
B|8 G
G|-
D|7 A
A|7 E
E|-


What is that chord? Is the tonal center E? Well, no. The perfect fourth indicates it's an inversion. So it's an Am of some type, right?

Could be...

Unless your tonic is C, in which case this is a C6 in first inversion. Why?

The song the chord is from is in the key of C, not Am or G. Could we use that chord in one of those keys? Sure.

In a different context it might be something different. The chord structure, the shape of the bassline means this makes more sense if we call it a C6, although we could find other names for it if we chose to.

Why do we do that?

We choose the simplest explanation wherever possible. That's true of music, science, philosophy, whatever.

Secondly, what's the very next chord in the piece? EbM7, root form, followed by Dm7, root form.

I never said inversions are against the rules, they are exceptions, less commonly encountered (generally) than root forms.

Root/triad form > 1st inversion > 2nd inversion in terms of common usage.

The message behind that is this:

TS has encountered an inversion, so..
Map the chords around the inverted chord to help determine the most practical name.

This is useful for soloing, too.

Would C Ionian probably be the safest bet for accompaniment? Probably.

Might some form of Bb diminished work? Probably.

Gm? Probably.

Phrygian? Aeolian? Dorian?

That's why this is an art. You might say, "Diminished, ACH! That's a terrible idea!"

I might make that work.

Whatever. At the end of the day this is all about having fun, right?
#14
^ In the key of C major it could be an Am7 chord.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ In the key of C major it could be an Am7 chord.

Absolutely.

Lead sheet says CM7. It's a C6 substitution, part of a jazz chord study I'm working through.

I didn't try A on the bass line, but I'll try and see how that sounds.
#16
It's quartal, ergo there are multiple interpretations. It's not a tertian sonority.

Also, it's worth noting (although I more or less agree with everything you just said) that the simple, and the accurate explanation are not always the same.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp