Category Archives: Music Theory

How Far Do The “Basics” Go?

I took a somewhat unusual path to bass. I started as a guitarist at a very early age – 51/2! I spent a few years with a cello in elementary school. In high school, the jazz band director asked me … Continue reading

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Practice Tips

Practicing isn’t really a “whatever works for you” type of skill. It is a vital skill that we all need to use more efficiently. I’ve been revisiting the jazz standard Donna Lee (originally attributed to Charlie Parker but seems to … Continue reading

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Slonimsky – First Look

I’ve been digging through the Slonimsky book for a couple of weeks now. It uses several terms that are a bit unusual, so  I recommend anyone trying it to keep a good music dictionary or music theory dictionary at hand. And before we … Continue reading

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Diminished Scales and More: Nicolas Slonimsky

The diminished scale has always fascinated me. I understand the 8 notes, half-step, whole step or whole step, half step variations. Lots of musicians from many different genres have used it such as John Coltrane, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa. But after seeing a post by … Continue reading

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Transcription: A Necessary Process

I received a couple of questions on the sight reading post that bear some further comments. Most of them are answered by transcribing music. Transcription is an important tool for all musicians in all genres. In some genre, all that is … Continue reading

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Sight Reading – Some helpful tips

Sight reading requires 2 major skills and few sub-points to work: You have to know the written language of music – notation, dynamics, rhythm, etc., very well to sight read effectively. 2.  You must know where every single note possible on your … Continue reading

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Reading Music, Tablature and Ear Training

One of the most common questions that I get asked by students is “Do I need to be able to read music?” Unless you intend to do nothing but play cover songs or original music that isn’t written out, then the … Continue reading

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The Chromatic Scale – The Underlying Key to Western Music

The chromatic scale is important due to its very nature. Western music generally has only 12 different pitches. Other music such as Northern Indian Classical and some Middle Eastern music have more. We only need to deal with the 12. … Continue reading

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New Video Link!

This is a new link on the Audio/Video Links page. September 2, 2012, The Blind Tiger, Greensboro NC.

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More on Chord Substitutions

Let’s summarize from the last few posts: Interval – the distance from the root note to the note being named. The list: a)      Unison – the same note, same pitch. Perfect, augmented (½ step up), diminished ( ½ step down) … Continue reading

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