Technique Builders: Part 2
It's time to apply what you've learned so far in a more concrete way to playing the bass. In the following exercises, you will get a chance to hear, feel, and internalize the concepts just presented. These exercises will also advance your technique, your ear, and your overall musical vocabulary. Figure 4-17 is a C-major scale notated for you. Notice how it conforms to the whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half model described earlier.
The C-major scale
You should familiarize yourself with the sound of the major scale. Just like all natural colors are derived from the spectrum of visible light, melodies, bass lines, and harmonies are derived from the musical rainbow known as the major scale. Think of scales as musical number lines with each scale degree moving up a linear ladder of pitch. In music, the number line is turned into a loop where, at the octave, the end of the scale is fastened to the beginning again. In the scalar examples included here, you'll proceed up to this end and then reverse direction, descending back to the starting point.
Figure 4-18 shows how scales can translate into a melodic bass line. Notice that all of the notes used in this melody appear in the C-major scale.
Melody in the key of C major
Next is the relative minor of C major: A natural minor. This is shown in Figure 4-19. Notice that this scale uses the same alphabetical note content as the C-major scale. The only difference is that it's inverted so that it originates and terminates on A instead of C.
The A-natural minor scale
Figures 4-20 and
The G-major scale
The E-natural minor scale
Now try playing a scale that uses flats. Figure 4-22 shows the F-major scale. Like all other major scales, it is based on the whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half intervallic model.
The F-major scale
Finally, try playing some etudes (study pieces) that utilize the G-major scale and A-natural minor scale respectively. The difficulty level is further augmented by the use of eighth notes and dotted quarter notes. Dotted quarter notes are worth one and a half beats. This is illustrated in Figures 4-23 and
Etude in G major
Dotted quarter notes q. are worth one beat
Etude in A natural minor.