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  #1  
Old 08-09-2004, 10:04 PM
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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how do harmony/melody, rhythm/lead play together?

I've learned a good deal of theory concerning modes, scales, and chords, but I am not sure how it all comes together when you're playing with other people in a band.

Is this true:

Pretty much you have one instrument (or vocals) leading/soloing at a time and the rest of the instruments are rhythm. Now suppose the song is in C Major. That means if the lead guitar is soloing then he will play any notes he wants to in the C major scale, and if you have a rhythm guitar then he will play chords from the C major key. (Do the chords have to correspond to the notes the lead guitar is playing in any way? I figure as long as it's all in C major it should be good.) Now as for the bass (and this is the part I really need to know since I'm a bass player, not guitar player) the bass is sort of like another rhythm guitar. Unless the bass has a solo, he will play the individual notes of the chords the rhythm guitar is playing. So that's why it's important that the band define what the chord progression is going to be beforehand so that the rhythm guitar and bass will be on the same page. When the bass solos it's the same as the lead guitar soloing...he can play whatever he wants to out of the C major scale.

Is that pretty much the basics of how the different parts of a song come together?
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  #2  
Old 08-09-2004, 11:08 PM
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sum1 sum1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrahamB
I've learned a good deal of theory concerning modes, scales, and chords, but I am not sure how it all comes together when you're playing with other people in a band.

Is this true:

Pretty much you have one instrument (or vocals) leading/soloing at a time and the rest of the instruments are rhythm. Now suppose the song is in C Major. That means if the lead guitar is soloing then he will play any notes he wants to in the C major scale, and if you have a rhythm guitar then he will play chords from the C major key. (Do the chords have to correspond to the notes the lead guitar is playing in any way? I figure as long as it's all in C major it should be good.) Now as for the bass (and this is the part I really need to know since I'm a bass player, not guitar player) the bass is sort of like another rhythm guitar. Unless the bass has a solo, he will play the individual notes of the chords the rhythm guitar is playing. So that's why it's important that the band define what the chord progression is going to be beforehand so that the rhythm guitar and bass will be on the same page. When the bass solos it's the same as the lead guitar soloing...he can play whatever he wants to out of the C major scale.

Is that pretty much the basics of how the different parts of a song come together?

yes thats the pretty basic idea of it.. the rythm guitar would play a chord progression (or something like it) that resolves to the tonic, but as we know normal chords dont always sound good in some genres like hard rock or metal.. so they will play one note continuosly (shred the open string) and that will make the tonal centre whatever that note they are shredding, and thats what its all about.. making the tonal centre so you can get a specific sound out of it.. thats why you can solo over a rythm piece like that of "blackened" by metallica (the first hard one) because even though hes not strumming or anything.. hes playing octaves (the 7th fret is an E and so is the open string) with only a few notes besides the E, again the overal purpose is to have mostly the one type of note you want, or a chord progression which resolves on one note that you want..

im not much of a bass player either but it works similiar to guitar to yeah that would make sense..


but of course you have more complicated things like harmonized leads.. and all that
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  #3  
Old 08-10-2004, 11:18 AM
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55'gibby 55'gibby is offline
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just remember what you discribed is a guidline and not a rule. there are hundreds of ways to change things up. some bass players will play the melody line while rhythm and lead can play their parts. some bass line will vary wildly from playing harmony lines (to the lead or rhythm) to playing a seperate line all together (ala stanley clarke or bobby sheane). if you have a good bit of theory down (and it sounds like you do), now is the time to start learning a bit of composition (I call it applied theory). if you listen to a bunch of different genres of music you'll see how by resolving on something other than the tonic you can create some cool feel. think about theory as your guidlines and see how other composers "break" the rules to get to a different feel. don't be afraid to experiment with stuff, music isn't a game of follow the leader.
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Old 08-10-2004, 01:24 PM
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Malcolm Malcolm is offline
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Your comment --- (Do the chords have to correspond to the notes the lead guitar is playing in any way? I figure as long as it's all in C major it should be good.)

Right at first -- backup rhythm 101 -- not really. The chords being played form the harmonic rhythm, as such they need not follow the lead's melody or lick. I think in chord progression Pick a progression you like and you work with the chords and let the lead work with his scale notes. Now you are correct any chord within the Key is OK and will fit, however, right at first, it's not necessary that the lead and you get that involved.

Now as for the bass (and this is the part I really need to know since I'm a bass player, not guitar player) the bass is sort of like another rhythm guitar. Unless the bass has a solo, he will play the individual notes of the chords the rhythm guitar is playing.

Yes -- if the chord progression is I-IV-V the bass plays Root I note, IV note , V note and then back to Root note. Can be one note per measure or whatever fits the tempo.
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  #5  
Old 08-10-2004, 05:43 PM
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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This is all helpful. One more question. In a lot of jazz I hear, the bass sounds like it's just walking up and down the scale...not restraining itself to just the notes in the chords the rest of the band is playing. In all the cases I've heard the bass wasn't soloing, it was in the background, and there were so many non-chord notes that it doesn't seem probably that they were just used as stepping stones between two chord-notes. Since so much of the jazz I hear has this type of walking bassline it leads me to believe that this is a certain style of jazz bass rather than just a few artists experimenting. Do you guys come across this a lot, where the bass is in the background yet still uses the full scale?

I wonder how a band would put together a song like that...whatever instrument you have leading at the time you'd have to coordinate his part with the bass part because the bass would also be leading in a way since he's using the full scale and not just chords. It's not like you could just sit down for a jam session and have say the guitar or trumpet solo over the bass without talking it over first.
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  #6  
Old 08-10-2004, 08:57 PM
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55'gibby 55'gibby is offline
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sometimes in Jazz the bass will be playing a "harmonic lead" (my phrase), and not just following a chord progression. this isn't as simple as it seems. while it's true that the bassist is playing in a certain key, he/she won't necessarily remain locked into using the same scale as the lead instument. this can get rather deep and a bit confusing. what the bassist can do is play off of the other instruments in the song and can be the one who will add the musical pathos, in effect bringing the band with them, as opposed to the other way around (bass following the band). try listening to stanley clarke for a feel of what I'm taking about. because jazz is a more complex (sometimes) arrangement than rock it can give "room" for more diverse set of musical lines to be applied at the same time. this is true in part due to the fact that jazz is based (sometime loosely) on one or more concurrent melody lines. add to this the fact that jazz can and will apply convergent musical styles within the same "song", this allows any instrument to use a series of mixed modes within one or several musical phrases.

I know that didn't clear up anything... sorry
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2004, 10:25 PM
GrahamB GrahamB is offline
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ah, so I guess that's what sum1 was talking about when he also mentioned harmonized leads. thanks, it is clearer now.
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  #8  
Old 08-11-2004, 12:35 AM
stratmansky stratmansky is offline
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i remember feeling this way. its like, if everything has to be so tight and structured, how are you going to just feel it and go for it?

well, the others have covered the guitar part so just remember, as the bass player, your job is to provide a link between what the drummer is doing and what the guitar player is doing. you are a drum with melody. so if the drummer is going thump thumpity thump thump, then find the key and play what the kick drum is doing with your right hand. also try switching between 4 chords and have the guitar stay on the same two notes throughout.
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