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#1
The Stave

The stave is the 5 lines that all the music is written on. At the start of the stave you first get the clef. For bass this usually the bass clef (well duh) but occasionally if a piece stays in the high register a lot it is written in treble or alto clef, but for this guide we’ll stick with the bass clef. Then usually the key signature comes next. The key signature generally shows the overall tonality of the piece and prevents the need to keep adding accidentals in the piece. For example if the key signature had one sharp, it would mean that the key is G, and that all notes notated as F in the part are F#/ After the key signature comes the time signature. The number on the bottom of the time signature indicates which note is taken as the beat. A 2 on the bottom means that the minim or half-note is the beat, a 4 means that the crochet or quarter note is the beat, and an 8 means that a dotted crochet or dotted quarter note is the beat.



Position of the notes:
The open strings:
E –
A –
D –
G –

The other notes:
On the lines


In the spaces


Notes that are above or below the main 5 lines of the stave come on ledger lines. These are just a continuation of the stave.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


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Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 20, 2007,
#2
Notes – Their names, values and their rest.
All values are with the crochet or quarter note beat. A rest is exactly what the name suggests, period where you don’t play anything.

Breve or double whole note – worth 8 beats, rarely used.

Semibreve or whole note – worth 4 beats

Minim or half note – worth 2 beats

Crochet or quarter note – worth 1 beat

Quaver or eighth note – worth half a beat

Semiquaver or sixteenth note – worth quarter of a beat

Demisemiquaver or thirty-second note – worth one eighth of a beat

Hemidemisemiquaver or sixty-fourth note – worth one sixteenth of a beat
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


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Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 19, 2007,
#3
A dot after a note mean that the note is 1.5x its original length, eg a dotted minim is 3 beats; a dotted quaver is ¾ of a beat etc. You also get double and triple dots. Double means you add half then half of that half ie it becomes 1.75x, then for triple dots the note becomes 1.875x its length with no dots.

A tie is a line between two notes which are the same and means that you play it as one, ie you don’t hit the note again. A tie looks like this:


Accidentals
A sharp or # means to raise the pitch of a note by a semitone.
A double sharp looks like so:

This means to raise the pitch by a whole tone.

A flat looks like so:

And a double flat here:


And finally a natural:

A natural means that any accidentals are cancelled, ie if there’s an F with a natural in front of it you play F.

An accidental carries on through the whole bar, until there is a different accidental for that note. However the accidental doesn’t carry on into the next bar.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


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Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 19, 2007,
#4
Appoggiatura
The long appoggiatura is important melodically and often suspend the principal note by taking away the time-value of the appoggiatura prefixed to it (generally half the time value of the note, though in triple time, for example, it might receive two thirds of the time). The added note (the unessential note) is one degree higher or lower than the principal note, this is an example from wikipedia:

would be played

Acciaccatura
The acciaccatura (sometimes called short appoggiatura) is perhaps best thought of as a shorter, less melodically significant, variant of the long appoggiatura, where the delay of the principal note is scarcely perceptible – theoretically subtracting no time at all. It is written using a grace note (often a quaver, or eighth note), with an oblique stroke through the stem. Again examples from wiki

could be played as

But interpretation depends on the style of the piece and the performers own preference.

Tremolo
Tremolo is the rapid repetition of a single note. It is notated as so:

Vibrato
Vibrato is a regular pulsating change of pitch usually done on a fretted bass through “shaking” the string, and on a fretless but rocking your finger. It is notated as so:
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 19, 2007,
#5
Articulation

Regular accent:
You hit the note harder than normal accenting it.

Marcato
Often seen as shorter and louder than a regular accent, but generally not as short as a staccato.

Staccato
The shortening of the note, usually to around half it’s value.

Staccatissimo
Often seen as shorter than a staccato, but classical composers did use both staccato and staccatissimo interchangeably.

Tenuto
Play the note for its full value and don’t cut even a tiny bit off the end.

Slur
A slur means to play the notes all together smoothly, generally on a bass you’d do this by hammering or pulling off. However if you play upright with a bow it means that it’s played all in one bow stroke. A slur would be something like this:

Fermata
These are basically a pause on the note and you hold it on until someone say that’s enough. The symbol is shown as so:
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 19, 2007,
#6
Dynamics
The two basic dynamic indications in music are:
• p or piano, meaning "soft" and
• f or forte, meaning "loud" or "strong".
More subtle degrees of loudness or softness are indicated by:
• mp, standing for mezzo-piano, and meaning "medium-quiet" or "moderately-quiet" and
• mf, standing for mezzo-forte, and meaning "medium-loud" or "moderately-loud".
Beyond f and p, there are also
• ff, standing for "fortissimo", and meaning "very loud" and
• pp, standing for "pianissimo", and meaning "very quiet".
To indicate even more extreme degrees of intensity, more ps or fs are added as required. fff and ppp are found in sheet music quite frequently. No standard names for fff and ppp exist, but musicians have invented a variety of neologisms for these designations, including fortississimo/pianississimo, fortissimento/pianissimento, forte fortissimo/piano pianissimo, and more simply triple forte/triple piano or molto fortissimo/molto pianissimo. ppp has also been designated "pianissimo possibile".
Sforzando (or forzando), indicates a strong, sudden accent and is abbreviated as sf, sfz or fz. The notation fp (or sfp) indicates a sforzando followed immediately by piano.


Gradual changes are either shown with the words crescendo (getting louder) or diminuendo (gradually getting slowly) or with these symbols:
Crescendo:
Diminuendo:
Trills
Trills are where you rapidly alternate between two notes. It is normally notated which two notes that you trill between, if not I usually go with the note that is one semitone up. It is notated like so:

Musical navigation

Repeats
The first type of repeat is shown with the repeat bars as shown:

You repeat any music between the two lines. If there is only an ending repeat bar, you repeat from the start of the piece. Repeats can also have alternate endings, these are shown as so:
1st time:
2nd time:
Etc.

DS al Coda, DC al Coda and DC al Fine
DS = dal segno, that means you return to this sign:

Then play through the piece until it says To Coda somewhere or where this sign comes:
Then you jump to the coda of the piece. The end of the coda is the end of the piece.

A DC repeat is the same except instead of going to a sign you go right back to the start then play until the coda sign, etc. An al fine ending means you play through the piece until you get to where it says Fine above the piece. Where it says fine becomes the end of the piece on the repeat.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 19, 2007,
#7
From fastest to slowest, the common tempo markings are:

* Prestissimo - extremely fast (200 - 208 bpm)
* Vivacissimo - Very fast and lively
* Presto - very fast (168 - 200 bpm)
* Allegrissimo - very fast
* Vivo - lively and fast
* Vivace - lively and fast (~140 bpm)
* Allegro - fast and bright (120 - 168 bpm)
* Allegro Moderato - Moderately cheerful and quick
* Allegretto - moderately fast (but less so than Allegro)
* Moderato - moderately (90 - 115 bpm)
* Andantino - Alternatively faster or slower than Andante.
* Andante - at a walking pace (76 - 108 bpm)
* Adagietto - Rather slow (70-80 bpm)
* Adagio - slow and stately (literally, at ease) (66 - 76 bpm)
* Grave - slow and solemn
* Larghetto - rather broadly (60 - 66 bpm)
* Lento - very slow (60 - 40 bpm)
* Largamente/Largo - "broadly", very slow (40 bpm and below)
* Tempo commodo - at a comfortable speed
* Tempo giusto - at a consistent speed
* L'istesso tempo - at the same speed
* Non troppo - not too much (e.g allegro ma non troppo, fast but not too much)
* Assai - rather, very, enough as is needed (e.g Adagio assai)
* Con - with (e.g andante con moto, at a walking pace with motion)
* Molto - much, very (e.g molto allegro)
* Poco - a little (e.g poco allegro)
* Quasi - as if (e.g piu allegro quasi presto, faster, as if presto)
* tempo di... - the speed of a ...(e.g tempo di valse (speed of a waltz), tempo di marzo/marcia (speed of a march))

All of these markings are based on a few root words such as 'allegro', 'largo', 'adagio', 'vivace', 'presto' 'andante' and 'lento'. By adding the -issimo ending the word is amplified, by adding the -ino ending the word is diminished, and by adding the -etto ending the word is endeared. Many tempos also can be translated with the same meaning, and it is up to the player to interpret the speed that best suits the period, composer, and individual work.

N.B. Metronome markings are a guide only and depending on the time signature and the piece itself these figures may not be appropriate in every circumstance

Changes in tempo
Composers may use expressive marks to adjust the tempo:

* Accelerando - speeding up (abbreviation: accel.)
* Allargando - growing broader; decreasing tempo, usually near the end of a piece
* Meno Mosso - less movement or slower
* Mosso - movement, more lively, or quicker, much like 'Più Mosso', but not as extreme
* Più Mosso - more movement or faster
* Rallentando - slowing down, especially near the end of a section (abbreviation: rall.)
* Ritardando - delaying (abbreviation: rit. or more specifically, ritard.)
* Ritenuto - slightly slower; temporarily holding back. (Note that the abbreviation for ritardando can also be rit. Thus a more specific abbreviation is riten.)
* Rubato - free adjustment of tempo for expressive purposes
* Stretto - rushing ahead; temporarily speeding up
* Stringendo - pressing on faster

Qualifiers
* Poco a poco - bit by bit, gradually
* poco - a little
* subito - suddenly
* molto - a lot

EG something I see quite often is "Molto Rit". This means to slow down a lot ansd usually quickly as well.


Say if anything more needs to be added.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 19, 2007,
#9
Jesus Christ. It's times like this I feel really really stupid

One thing, possibly make the images smaller? You don't need that huge white around them.
The will to neither strive nor cry,
The power to feel with others give.
Calm, calm me more; nor let me die
Before I have begun to live.

-Matthew Arnold

Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
#10
It'll be up with smaller pics in a few hours, it's going to take a while to crop them all.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#11
Wow. Nice work, sinan! Maybe because of this I'll some day finally get off my lazy ass and learn to read notation... maybe
#12
Good to see a new totm.
Though you forgot to put the one Sharp symbol (#), and the natural symbol.

Aside from that, great work.
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.


Ben Hamelech
#13
I put a sharp in Gal, I just didn't see the need to but the symbol on notation seeing it's already on the keyboard, but I do need to put in a natural sign.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#14
^ Good logic there.
Again, great lesson.
I'm off for now, see ya .
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.


Ben Hamelech
#15
Great article...I really need to brush up on my reading...Tabs have made me so lazy with it
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+1
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EDIT: Sammcl pretty much got it dead on.
#17
Thanks for that.

*Goes to change*
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#18
I would rather have seen 'poco a poco' as 'little by little' other than that well done.
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#20
Quote by John Swift
I would rather have seen 'poco a poco' as 'little by little' other than that well done.


Bit by bit = little by little in my book.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#23
Quote by sinan90
Bit by bit = little by little in my book.


Not being picky but if you'r going to call this a theory lesson you have to stick by the internationaly used terms this is how you communicate with other musicians via this universal language.
Poco a poco is 'Little by little' and not Drill by Drill, bit being another term for drill.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
#24
Bit by bit suffices as a layman's term, it is clear by context that it has nothing to do with drills. And usually when you communicate with musicians the universal language is the Italian (usually) written on the score. The bit by bit is just there to help people understand what it means, both bit by bit and little by little convey the meaning of the Italian equally well. If they both mean teh same thign why does it matter which I used?
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#26
Quote by sinan90
Bit by bit suffices as a layman's term, it is clear by context that it has nothing to do with drills. And usually when you communicate with musicians the universal language is the Italian (usually) written on the score. The bit by bit is just there to help people understand what it means, both bit by bit and little by little convey the meaning of the Italian equally well. If they both mean teh same thign why does it matter which I used?


It matters because if you are using an international/universal language it is better to start with the recognised terms/translations and not what you decide.
I don't know where you studied but I studied at an internationaly acclaimed school of music in London with students from all around the world. The only translations allowed both in exams and studies were the correct/recognised versions and not those of similar meaning. It is just the same as saying Ab in the key of G major when it should be G#, we know they both sound the same but G# is the correct term.
Therefore when you attempt to teach someone you should teach them the correct method and not you own version.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
#27
But most people here will not take exams in music that will involve knowing the correct terms, therefore all terms are equally applicable as long as the meaning is the same. I don't see the difference in meaning between bit by bit and little by little, they aren't similar, but the same.

And there is no G# in G major.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#28
Quote by sinan90
But most people here will not take exams in music that will involve knowing the correct terms, therefore all terms are equally applicable as long as the meaning is the same.

And there is no G# in G major.


The G# in G major is perfectly acceptable it; would be an accidental, some people would call it Ab which would be wrong just as bit by bit is wrong, that is why if you are going to post lessons accept when someone with more in depth knowledge offers you advice.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
#29
I misunderstood your point with the G# and G as I though you meant in the key signature rather than what it should be written as if it came up in a piece in the key of G. Although the name of the note would depend upon the chord as well.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


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Last edited by sinan90 at Aug 19, 2007,
#31
Interchangeable terms.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
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#32
Okay, first off stop with semantics. I like them as much as the next guy but to be perfectly honest this just doesn't matter. No one is going to use this to study for an internationally acclaimed exam by the lessons on UG. They will use their textbooks, and official internet sources.

Secondly, is Canada the only place that does not use crochet, quaver etc. and uses quarter note, eigth note etc.?
#34
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Secondly, is Canada the only place that does not use crochet, quaver etc. and uses quarter note, eigth note etc.?


The crochet etc is referred to as the British or classical version.
The quarter notes etc system is called the Germanic or American system.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#35
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Okay, first off stop with semantics. I like them as much as the next guy but to be perfectly honest this just doesn't matter. No one is going to use this to study for an internationally acclaimed exam by the lessons on UG. They will use their textbooks, and official internet sources.

Secondly, is Canada the only place that does not use crochet, quaver etc. and uses quarter note, eigth note etc.?


just so you don't feel so left out i use quarter and eigth notes


and sin very nice i should go back and read the whole thing i could probably learn something

love

dan xxx
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Dan

Don't stop being you <3


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I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#36
So the majority of the world uses Crochet then? If I went to India and said quarter note, they'd be all like WTF?!

Oh an\d also I would like more of an explanation of Appoggiatura and the other thing. I didn't really understand.
#37
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
So the majority of the world uses Crochet then? If I went to India and said quarter note, they'd be all like WTF?!

Oh an\d also I would like more of an explanation of Appoggiatura and the other thing. I didn't really understand.



I think any good musician would know the equivalent names in both systems. I don't know whether ones use is more prevalent world wide or not, but I do believe Italians use the classical system, and the French and Spanish have another separate one. Not too sure on that though.

For the appo, the note played before is given half the value of the second and the two notes are slurred.

For the other treat it as you would a grace note, giving it minimal time of the note to which it is attached to. Look at the two examples for an idea of how to share the rhythms.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
#39
For the record--I learned both sets of terms. The "North Americanized" terms that Bales refers to and the more European terms that have appeared in Sinan's lesson, since I had both American and Russian teachers at some point.

Good lesson Sinan, and it reminds me how much I need to resurrect the knowledge that was crammed in my brain in 4 years of HS and 3 yrs of college music.!
#40
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Alriight so the Accia thing is just a grace note, and the Approthingummywhat seems superfluous as isn't it just two quarter notes slurred?



No, it's a longer grace, that's why sometimes the appo is referred to as a long appo, and the accio is referred to as the short appo.
Founder of Jaco society

[22:08:23] <Confusius> I wish I was a bassist
[22:08:26] <Confusius> you fuckers look cool


Want to know how to play bass in jazz? Read this.
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