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  #1  
Old 2004-12-06, 19:25
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powersofterror powersofterror is offline
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Figured bass

Here’s a little something I wrote (yes it's a little vague), it applies to a more advanced musician though. I won’t be using very good visuals so guitar_demon, add as much as you like to this for anyone who might not understand. By the way, hehe sorry John, but most of what I’m going to say is based on 4-part harmony…..piano…

Spelling chords based on the figured bass.

As in all normal keys and modes, minus a-tonal haha, there are 7 different notes, all going up the staff in chronological order. I’ll use a fairly easy chord progression, based on ohh say the key of E major as follows: I vi IV ii6 I6/4 V7 I.
Now, figured bass is just a “short-hand” for writing chord progressions. It’s also called counterpoint. What it looks like on paper is roman numerals with bass notes above them. Each roman numeral is assigned to each scale degree. So if in the first measure, beat 1, has an E in the bass, then the roman numeral beneath it is a “I.” (And lower case roman numerals are for minor, while upper case is for major.)

in the key of E major:
the tonic E is labeled with a “I” beneath it. (spelled E-G#-B)
The 2nd scale degree is a minor chord and has a “ii” beneath it. (spelled F#-A-C#)
The 3rd scale degree has a “iii” beneath it. (spelled G#-B-D#)
The 4th scale degree has a “IV” beneath it. (spelled A-C#-E)
The 5th scale degree has a “V” beneath it. (spelled B-D#-F#)
The 6th scale degree has a “VI” beneath it. (spelled C#-E-G#)
The 7th scale degree has a “viiº” beneath it. (spelled D#-F#-A)

The tonic chord or triad(because normal chords just have 3 notes with a double of one) of scale degree one is a major chord. Scale degree 2 is a minor chord, and so on. The 7 chord is a diminished chord, hence the diminished symbol.

In this progression, the roman numerals to notes are as follows:
I=E in the bass
vi=C# in the bass
IV=A in the bass
ii6=A in the bass
I6/4=B in the bass
V7=B in the bass
I=E in the bass

So the 1st chord in this progression is a major 1 triad. But in 4-part harmony, you need to double one of the notes. Usually, you double the tonic. So we shall spell this chord like, E-G#-B-E (e in the bass, g# in the alto, b in the tenor, and e in the soprano)

The 2nd chord is a minor 6th chord.(vi) and so (normal theory rules apply) spell this chord like C#-G#-C#-E.

The 3rd chord is a major 4 triad, so it can be spelled like A-A-C#-E.

Now for the 4th one. The "ii6" is another way of saying the first inversion of the second scale degree triad. Incidently, the 6 means to invert it once, a 6/4 means to invert it twice. to ex. the first inversion chord, lets look at the tonic triad E-G#-B. the first inversion of that (6) will put the third scale degree in the bass, spelling the chord as G#-B-E. The second iversion is then, B-E-G#. So let's call this chord A-A-C#-F#.

the 5th chord is a I6/4. That's the second inversion of the triad, so spell it like B-G#-B-E.

the 6th chord is a V7 chord. notice I didn't say triad this time. A seven chord is not the same. Such like the inversions of the triads, the sevenths go like this...for an E major chord:
a "7" means that it's a tonic chord with the root in the bass and a 7th scale degree. (E-G#-B-D#)
a 6/5 means a 1st inversion 7th chord (G#-B-D#-E)
a 4/3 means a 2nd inversion 7th chord (B-D#-E-G#)
a 4/2 means a 3rd inversion 7th chord (D#-E-G#-B)
so spell this V7 chord like so B-A-B-D#.

and the last chord as E-G#-B-E.

heh, I hope this made sense....but anyhoo, play this progression on a piano and it is awesome!
about the sevenths, I didn't go very deep in explaining it, but I could later....
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Man, I get real sweaty after I wack my dong. Yeah, cause I headbang while I do, and I can't really "Jump" (haha ) like VanHalen in a dorm room, so I just walk back and forth....haha a couple days ago I was jumping up and down on my bed, with my pants down and my roommate came in when I wasn't looking, hahaha.


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Last edited by powersofterror : 2004-12-06 at 19:29.
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  #2  
Old 2004-12-06, 19:29
andrewc andrewc is offline
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shit, figured bass! thats amazing powersoft, good job!
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  #3  
Old 2004-12-06, 19:30
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I'll drink to that.
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Man, I get real sweaty after I wack my dong. Yeah, cause I headbang while I do, and I can't really "Jump" (haha ) like VanHalen in a dorm room, so I just walk back and forth....haha a couple days ago I was jumping up and down on my bed, with my pants down and my roommate came in when I wasn't looking, hahaha.


This is my band's page
http://www.myspace.com/ferocitydentontx
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  #4  
Old 2004-12-12, 20:34
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LOL. i have NO FUCKING CLUE what any of that means. i quit theory.
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  #5  
Old 2004-12-21, 02:59
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Fuck Powers! I just had a quiz on that and probably failed..couldn't you have posted it a few days earlier! Bastard!

Thanks alot though, that really cleared alot up.
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  #6  
Old 2004-12-21, 04:46
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powersofterror powersofterror is offline
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Eh, just had the quiz? This was posted like 2-3 weeks ago, man.
I just took my final exam and I have no idea how I did. I either did very well, or very bad. *phew*The suspense.....
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Man, I get real sweaty after I wack my dong. Yeah, cause I headbang while I do, and I can't really "Jump" (haha ) like VanHalen in a dorm room, so I just walk back and forth....haha a couple days ago I was jumping up and down on my bed, with my pants down and my roommate came in when I wasn't looking, hahaha.


This is my band's page
http://www.myspace.com/ferocitydentontx
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  #7  
Old 2004-12-23, 17:22
Thrashboy Thrashboy is offline
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Did a great job. Very well written out. I noticed a couple little errors though.

Counterpoint is actually when you have two or more melodies playing at the same time. If they play in harmony(in perfect time with each other) they are creating chords. But when they are not in perfect harmony(time wise, not interval wise), so as to be heard as seperate melodies, thats whats considered counterpoint.

You also forgot to flat your 7th. E7 = E G# B D
B7=B,D#,F#,A


I'm curious about this 6,6/5,4/3,4/2 inversion stuff. I've heard of it before, but I always used the G/B style for inversions.

Are there certain situations you would to use one or the other? Does one have certain advantages or something?

And why does 6 mean first inversion? Why does 6/5 mean second? I don't understand what the numbers are refering too. I allways like to try to learn the "why's" of things.

Oh! Do you know how inversions effect cadence? Like, can I create new cadences with certain inversions? Strengthen normal ones? If I invert the V chord, how's that going to effect the cadence? Are there rules for each inversion on each chord of the scale degrees, as to how cadences get effected?

And actually if there's anything about inversions you want spit out that would be great! I know what they are, but never got around to learning how to use them.
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  #8  
Old 2004-12-24, 09:25
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Quote:
You also forgot to flat your 7th. E7 = E G# B D

....huh?..heh, you'll have to tell me where, because I'm not fluent with [so to speak] guitar chord theory. And this progression was directly from the book, note for note....

...mmm, counterpoint is only a general term for anything that is played together and forms chords basically. Polyphony is the technical term for having two melodies played together simultaneously. Monophony is what we consider to be the plainchants, that which is only one melody alone like singing in the shower. Homophony is generally when two melodies alike are played not simultaneously, which gets you into imitative and non-imitative polyphony and homophony, but those can get confusing.....

What is the "G/B" style? I've never heard of that before. When you see a I6 below a bass note E in C major, that tells you that there is a interval note "6" above that E. Hence, a I6 = E-G-C. (E-C is a minor 6th interval.) So to speak, the numbers that co-exist with the roman numeral just tell you what intervals to put in. When you see a 4/2, you are looking at a 7th chord with a 4th above the bass note, a second above the bass note, and a 6th above the bass note.

because it's kind of a different topic, I'll start a different thread for cadences. John can always merge them back together.....
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Man, I get real sweaty after I wack my dong. Yeah, cause I headbang while I do, and I can't really "Jump" (haha ) like VanHalen in a dorm room, so I just walk back and forth....haha a couple days ago I was jumping up and down on my bed, with my pants down and my roommate came in when I wasn't looking, hahaha.


This is my band's page
http://www.myspace.com/ferocitydentontx
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  #9  
Old 2004-12-26, 03:56
Thrashboy Thrashboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powersofterror
....huh?..heh, you'll have to tell me where, because I'm not fluent with [so to speak] guitar chord theory. And this progression was directly from the book, note for note....

...mmm, counterpoint is only a general term for anything that is played together and forms chords basically. Polyphony is the technical term for having two melodies played together simultaneously. Monophony is what we consider to be the plainchants, that which is only one melody alone like singing in the shower. Homophony is generally when two melodies alike are played not simultaneously, which gets you into imitative and non-imitative polyphony and homophony, but those can get confusing.....

What is the "G/B" style? I've never heard of that before. When you see a I6 below a bass note E in C major, that tells you that there is a interval note "6" above that E. Hence, a I6 = E-G-C. (E-C is a minor 6th interval.) So to speak, the numbers that co-exist with the roman numeral just tell you what intervals to put in. When you see a 4/2, you are looking at a 7th chord with a 4th above the bass note, a second above the bass note, and a 6th above the bass note.

because it's kind of a different topic, I'll start a different thread for cadences. John can always merge them back together.....


hmmm, chord theory is chord theory, there isn't any such thing as guitar chord theory. I assume its just a miscopy with the 7ths chords as you labeled them correctly in your 7th thread.

It looks like you have polychord and counterpoint mixed up. And homophony is when you add accompanyments to a single melody line.

The term counterpoint comes from the latin term "contrapunctum" which means, "against note". And just think about the term counterpoint. The first part is "counter", or against, definetly not implying something that would be in harmony with something else. Look it up.

The G/B style is the most common form of writing inversions. G/B would mean G with a B in the bass. Or, The first inversion of G.
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  #10  
Old 2005-01-01, 15:38
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powersofterror powersofterror is offline
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Right......So how do you write a G6/4 chord? G/D?

I actually meant guitar chord theory ( ) as opposed to regular theory because guitars can't really do all the nomal rules of theory. For example, parallel fifths and octaves, and some resolution differences.

I don't understand how I have counterpoint and polyphony mixed up.....I might have just said them weird but it looks right to me. Counterpoint is a general term for two...melodies..to be played at the same time, but so is polyphony. You might say counterpoint relates to two harmonies played at the same time though. In a way they're synonyms. Polyphony is more related to monophony and homophony (Ooo yeah thanks I messed that one up) though so that's what the difference is.
I think what Iwas trying to say was, if this was a web....counterpoint would be in the middle, and polyphony, monophony, and homophony would be branches off of this center circle.
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Man, I get real sweaty after I wack my dong. Yeah, cause I headbang while I do, and I can't really "Jump" (haha ) like VanHalen in a dorm room, so I just walk back and forth....haha a couple days ago I was jumping up and down on my bed, with my pants down and my roommate came in when I wasn't looking, hahaha.


This is my band's page
http://www.myspace.com/ferocitydentontx

Last edited by powersofterror : 2005-01-01 at 15:43.
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  #11  
Old 2005-01-15, 16:55
Thrashboy Thrashboy is offline
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DOH! It looks like I was confused. When I learned about counterpoint, I was only taught part of it, but the way it was taught made it sound like that was all there was too it, but I recently learned that there was another half to it. So apparently it does seem to be a rather generic term, heh, my bad. :P

Now i'm just confused on the cunterpoint thing. Hopefully i'll get it straightened out soon.
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Old 2005-05-27, 22:54
imperfectCacophony imperfectCacophony is offline
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I was searching google for information on what the notation G6/4 means and arrived here. Thanks powersofterror and Thrashboy for the great thread.

The amazing thing to me is that just last week I was trying find information on the "correct" way to finger some piano chords and I came across a debate between two piano teachers inwhich one them seemed to be saying that the best way to teach adults to learn piano is to have them bring in their favorite songs in and then the teacher shows them how to understand the music based on ideas of counterpoint (this guy didn't like having students practice drills and scales). Anyways, being new to music theory I was wondering what counterpoint is. Based on my limited research I came to an understanding similiar to that of Thrashboy. My understanding is that a Bach fuge is the ultimate example of counterpoint, especially the Crab Cannon where there are two melodys being played at the same time but the second meldoy is the first melody played backwards (although I think the second meldoy might start after a few bars of the first melody and it can come in on a beat other than the downbeat of 1). So I was thinking that counterpoint was different than typical modern "beatle" type music where you are playing chords with the left hand and the meldoy with the right hand. If you played only the chords of the left hand you would not really hear the essence of the song. Although, I understand that the basic melody of the Beatle Song "All you Need Is Love" is the same as the melody of "Three Blind Mice". The big difference is the harmony (ie the left hand chords on the piano). This does not seem to be in agreement with the one piano teacher's assertion that the concept of counterpoint is fundamental in teaching adults to learn piano. I like the idea of the bass part/left hand chords adding "color" to the melody. It seems to me that the chords of a song can "color" the melody and as Paul McCartney said "Take a sad song and make it Better". But perhaps the more enlightened can see "counterpoint" instead of "color" ?
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Old 2005-05-28, 09:11
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If you're really wanting to learn piano seriously, I suggest the book I'm currently being taught with at college; "Keyboard Strategies: A Piano Series for Group or Private Instruction Created For the Older Beginner," by M. Stecher, N. Horowitz, C. Gordon, R. F. Kern, and E. L. Lancaster.

However, it wouldn't be the same for you because one of the authors is my teacher, and you'd be teaching yourself.....
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Man, I get real sweaty after I wack my dong. Yeah, cause I headbang while I do, and I can't really "Jump" (haha ) like VanHalen in a dorm room, so I just walk back and forth....haha a couple days ago I was jumping up and down on my bed, with my pants down and my roommate came in when I wasn't looking, hahaha.


This is my band's page
http://www.myspace.com/ferocitydentontx
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Old 2005-05-29, 23:42
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6/4 are the intervals from the bass to the other voices. if you were going to write a chord in first position it would have a 5/3 next to it, but that is asumed so you dont have to write it everytime.
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Old 2005-06-10, 21:05
imperfectCacophony imperfectCacophony is offline
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Thanks for the feedback (pun? your preference). I may indeed follow the suggestion and get the book "Keyboard Strategies: A Piano Series....for the older beginner". Also, the explanation of figured bass 6/4 helps. I was trying to figure out the first two piano chords to the Beatles song "You Know My Name (Look up the Number)". The Complete Beatles Scores uses one style of notation and the Alan Pollock notes on the web used a different notation. Anways, I liked how the two whole note piano chords sounded against the funky rhytmic A note played on the bass guitar. I was thinking a whole song or at least a riff could be bassed up on these two measures.
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Old 2005-06-10, 21:16
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fuck figured bass is hard. im going to be taking a final on this on monday, i think im done. thanks though powers
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Old 2005-06-14, 08:51
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powersofterror powersofterror is offline
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??...You're still in school?

I didn't even take my theory final....got an A avg. so I was exempt from it.
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Man, I get real sweaty after I wack my dong. Yeah, cause I headbang while I do, and I can't really "Jump" (haha ) like VanHalen in a dorm room, so I just walk back and forth....haha a couple days ago I was jumping up and down on my bed, with my pants down and my roommate came in when I wasn't looking, hahaha.


This is my band's page
http://www.myspace.com/ferocitydentontx
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Old 2005-06-14, 14:26
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yeah man, today was the last day of classes. and i have a week starting tomorrow of final exams. it SUCKS


and i did pretty lousy on that figured bass test.i liked the class and the teacher and the material, but i had a really hard time. i struggled for about a 75 average overall
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