Music Theory – 0025

As you remember last time, I stole the bass part of the song “Duke of Earl”. It was shameless and probably legal because it is for educational purposes and a mere four measures long. Let’s add to those four measures of bass a little rhythmic guitar which fits in with the original but at the same time adds something different:

DukeGuitBass

Above the Electric Bass I added Acoustic Guitar, both of which are under the category of Plucked Strings. You need to create a new project to do this, adding both instrument parts. Already I am getting away with my thievery! I would never confuse the above with “Duke of Earl” but later I might change the bass anyway.

To enter the above you need to use a variety of rhythmic values. Do the notes and rests in order. What I did after entering the first measure including the “Ped” and “*” Articulations, was to copy that first measure, paste it to the next, and then edit it. In the second measure in the Acoustic Guitar part, for example, I moved the two G notes to A. From the note entry menu you need to select the matching rhythmic value and then click on the G and drag it up to A, or click on the G to select it and use the up and down cursor to move it up to A. Remember to select the proper rhythmic note value first!

A real acoustic guitar does not have a sustain pedal like a piano, but this works to let the notes ring out as a real guitar could. On the pedal release symbol the player would mute the strings at that instant.

Note how in the first measure the guitar is playing only notes of the C Major chord in root position, in the second measure is A Minor in first inversion, in the third measure F Major in second inversion and in the fourth measure is G major in second inversion. I did this to have as smooth a transition as possible. If a real guitar player played these chord they would be playing a different version of those chords: same notes but those notes would be positioned and spread out differently. That is beyond our scope.

As you listen to this, note how it in no way sounds like what we copied, even though the bass line is the same and the chords are the same. It is still work and still takes imagination, but this sort of borrowing can help get things done and is an excellent starting point for making your own songs.

The example today stresses the importance of rhythm. Essentially all the bass is doing is repeatedly playing the root note of each chord, but doing so rhythmically. The Acoustic Guitar is simply playing each chord twice, changing along with the bass player for each measure but in a different rhythm. It is important to know that you can have a chord change at any time, measures have nothing necessarily to do with keeping to a single chord. We are keeping things simple to highlight certain fundamentals. Still, keeping a particular chord for one or more complete measures is fairly common.

For next time I will attempt to find a good sound to play above the bass and rhythm guitar, and to write a melody with it that works.

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