Songs & Basslines - Music theory for bassists #03 (the diatonic triads of the C major scale)

The song "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" by Procol Harum is a wonderful example for the relationship between a major scale and it's diatonic chords. While the bassline is moving stepwise up and down through the C major scale the organ and guitar play almost all of the diatonic chords of the C major scale:


Songs & Basslines - Music theory for bassists #02 (the major scale, part 2)

Here's the second installment of the "Songs & Basslines" series.
The good thing about doing something like this on a blog is, that you can ask or comment if you have any questions, annotations or additions, so feel free to do so :-)


Songs & Basslines - Music theory for bassists #01 (the major scale)

My philosophy in learning and teaching bass guitar was always to teach overall musicianship from the perspective of a bassplayer rather than focussing only on bass. For a good bass player it is essential to be well versed in all aspects of music. This will help you to develop and play ideas in all styles of music. My new series "Songs & Basslines" is designed to give you a thorough understanding of musical theory as it relates to playing the bass.

So let's start!

Here's a little "Etude in C major" played with the standard fingering from page 9:

This famous bassline is derived from the A major scale:


Kings Of Leon - Cold Desert & Arizona (Pedal Tone Basslines, part 3)

Here are two very nice real world examples of "pedal tone basslines" by Kings Of Leon:

But first we have to discuss another concept: the so-called "inverted pedal point":
This is when a note is sustained in the top part of the music (rather than the bass note).

A good example for this are the verses to “Cold Desert” by Kings Of Leon:


Bass Creative - Pedal Tone Basslines (Part 2)

Continuing last weeks column about "Pedal Tone Basslines".

Here's another progression with non-diatonic chords. This time in the key of E major. Try to find your own basslines too.

Here’s another example with the main chords ( I - IV - V) in D major:

Here are some examples of some well-known songs utilizing bass pedal points:

The key is G minor and the bass plays a tonic pedal (G) against the diatonic chords of the i. , iii. & iv. Degree of the G minor scale. The Db chord is just a passing chord.

The chorus and the verses of Van Halens "Running with the Devil" are utilizing different pedal tones.

There are plenty of songs with pedal tone basslines: