Alternate bass

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Oom-pah played by accordion on C major chord with alternate bass
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Oom-pah played by accordion on C major chord with alternate bass Loudspeaker.svg   Play  .

In music, alternate bass is a performance technique on many instruments where the bass alternates between two notes, most often the root and the fifth of a triad or chord. The perfect fifth is often, but not always, played below the root, transposed down an octave creating a fourth interval. The alternation between the root note and the fifth scale degree below it creates the characteristic sound of the alternate bass.

Music form of art using sound

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.

Bass note the lowest note of a chord

In music theory, the bass note of a chord or sonority is the lowest note played or notated. If there are multiple voices it is the note played or notated in the lowest voice

Root (chord) note after which a chord is named

In music theory, the concept of root is the idea that a chord can be represented and named by one of its notes. It is linked to harmonic thinking— the idea that vertical aggregates of notes can form a single unit, a chord. It is in this sense that one speaks of a "C chord" or a "chord on C"—a chord built from "C" and of which the note "C" is the root. When a chord is referred to in Classical music or popular music without a reference to what type of chord it is, it is assumed a major triad, which for C contains the notes C, E and G. The root need not be the bass note, the lowest note of the chord: the concept of root is linked to that of the inversion of chords, which is derived from the notion of invertible counterpoint. In this concept, chords can be inverted while still retaining their root.

On the guitar and bass guitar this is accomplished with the right hand alternating between two or more strings, often the bottom two on the guitar. In the following example in the C major chord C is located on the fifth string while G is located on the adjacent sixth (lowest) string and in the F major chord F is located on the adjacent fourth string:

Guitar fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

Bass guitar Electric bass instrument

The bass guitar is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric guitar, except with a longer neck and scale length, and four to six strings or courses.

Carter Family picking with alternate bass within and walking bass, in blue, between C and F major chords
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Carter Family picking with alternate bass within and walking bass, in blue, between C and F major chords Loudspeaker.svg   Play  .

Alternate bass lines are also used on the double bass in country music, bluegrass music and related genres.

Double bass Acoustic stringed instrument of the violin family

The double bass, or simply the bass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music. It was named by Bill Monroe who named his band The Blue Grass Boys. The 1939–1996 band of Kentucky mandolin player and songwriter Bill Monroe, who is considered "the father of bluegrass". The Blue Grass Boys played a Mountain Music style that Bill learned in Asheville, North Carolina from bands like Wade Mainer's and other popular acts on radio station WWNC. It was further developed by musicians who played with him, including 5-string banjo player Earl Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt. It was then evolved by other musicians who admired the high-energy instrumental and vocal music Monroe's group created, and who carried it on into new bands, some of which created subgenres of bluegrass.

On the Stradella bass system commonly found on accordions, the left-hand bass-note buttons are arranged according to the circle of fifths. The bass button for the fifth is directly above the bass button for the root.

Stradella bass system

The Stradella Bass System is a buttonboard layout equipped on the bass side of many accordions, which uses columns of buttons arranged in a circle of fifths; this places the principal major chords of a key in three adjacent columns. In a typical layout, as pictured, each column contains, in order:

Circle of fifths relationship among the 12 tones of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and the associated major and minor keys;geometrical representation of relationships among the 12 pitch classes of the chromatic scale in pitch class space

In music theory, the circle of fifths is the relationship among the 12 tones of the chromatic scale, their corresponding key signatures, and the associated major and minor keys. More specifically, it is a geometrical representation of relationships among the 12 pitch classes of the chromatic scale in pitch class space.

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Perfect fifth musical interval

In music theory, a perfect fifth is the musical interval corresponding to a pair of pitches with a frequency ratio of 3:2, or very nearly so.

In guitar music, especially electric guitar, a power chord Play  is a colloquial name for a chord that consists of the root note and the fifth. Power chords are commonly played on amplified guitars, especially on electric guitar with distortion. Power chords are a key element of many styles of rock and especially in heavy metal, and punk rock.

Chord (music) harmonic set of three or more notes

A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of pitches consisting of three or more notes that are heard as if sounding simultaneously.


A bassline is the term used in many styles of music, such as jazz, blues, funk, dub and electronic, traditional music, or classical music for the low-pitched instrumental part or line played by a rhythm section instrument such as the electric bass, double bass, cello, tuba or keyboard. In unaccompanied solo performance, basslines may simply be played in the lower register of any instrument such as guitar or piano while melody and/or further accompaniment is provided in the middle or upper register. In solo music for piano and pipe organ, these instruments have an excellent lower register that can be used to play a deep bassline. On organs, the bass line is typically played using the pedal keyboard and massive 16' and 32' bass pipes.

Thirteenth musical interval

In music or music theory, a thirteenth is the interval between the sixth and first scale degrees when the sixth is transposed up an octave, creating a compound sixth, or thirteenth. The thirteenth is most commonly major Play  or minor Play .

Eleventh chord chord that contains the tertian extension of the eleventh, typically found in jazz

In music theory, an eleventh chord is a chord that contains the tertian extension of the eleventh. Typically found in jazz, an eleventh chord also usually includes the seventh and ninth, and elements of the basic triad structure. Variants include the dominant eleventh, minor eleventh, and the major eleventh chord. Symbols include: Caug11, C9aug11, C9+11, C9alt11, Cm9(11), C−9(11). The eleventh in an eleventh chord is, "almost always sharpened, especially in jazz," at least in reference to the third, with CM11 (major eleventh): C–E–G–B–D–F, Cm11 (minor eleventh): C-E-G-B-D-F, and C11 (dominant eleventh): C–E–G–B–D–F.

Comping is the chords, rhythms, and countermelodies that keyboard players, guitar players, or drummers use to support a jazz musician's improvised solo or melody lines. It is also the action of accompanying, and the left-hand part of a solo pianist.

In music theory, a dominant seventh chord, or major minor seventh chord, is a seventh chord composed of a root, major third, perfect fifth, and minor seventh. It can be also viewed as a major triad with an additional minor seventh. When using popular-music symbols, it is denoted by adding a superscript "7" after the letter designating the chord root. For example, the dominant seventh chord built on G, written as G7, has pitches G–B–D–F:

Drop D tuning

Drop D tuning, is an alternative, or scordatura, form of guitar tuning — specifically, a dropped tuning — in which the lowest (sixth) string is tuned down ("dropped") from the usual E of standard tuning by one whole step / a tone to D. Drop D tuning, as well as other lowered altered tunings, are often used with the electric guitar in heavy metal music. It is also used in blues, country, folk, and classical guitar.

Guitar chord

In music, a guitar chord is a set of notes played on a guitar. A chord's notes are often played simultaneously, but they can be played sequentially in an arpeggio. The implementation of guitar chords depends on the guitar tuning. Most guitars used in popular music have six strings with the "standard" tuning of the Spanish classical-guitar, namely E-A-D-G-B-E' ; in standard tuning, the intervals present among adjacent strings are perfect fourths except for the major third (G,B). Standard tuning requires four chord-shapes for the major triads.

Guitar tunings

Guitar tunings assign pitches to the open strings of guitars, including acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and classical guitars. Tunings are described by the particular pitches denoted by notes in Western music. By convention, the notes are ordered from lowest-pitched string to highest-pitched.

Chuck Wayne American jazz guitarist

Chuck Wayne was a jazz guitarist. He came to prominence in the 1940s, and was among the earliest jazz guitarists to play in the bebop style. Wayne was a member of Woody Herman's First Herd, the first guitarist in the George Shearing quintet, and Tony Bennett's music director and accompanist. He developed a systematic method for playing jazz guitar.

In music theory, the word inversion has distinct, but related, meanings when applied to intervals, chords, voices, and melodies. The concept of inversion also plays an important role in musical set theory.

Chord names and symbols (popular music) system

Musicians use various kinds of chord names and symbols in different contexts, to represent musical chords. In most genres of popular music, including jazz, pop, and rock, a chord name and the corresponding symbol are typically composed of one or more of the following parts:

  1. The root note (e.g., C).
  2. The chord quality (e.g., minor or lowercase m, or the symbols ° or + for diminished and augmented chords; quality is usually omitted for major chords).
  3. The number of an interval (e.g., seventh, or 7), or less often, its full name or symbol (e.g., major seventh, maj7, or M7).
  4. The altered fifth (e.g., sharp five, or 5).
  5. An additional interval number (e.g., add 2 or add2), in added tone chords. For instance, the name C augmented seventh, and the corresponding symbol Caug7, or C+7, are both composed of parts 1, 2, and 3.
  6. Often, a bass note other than the root is indicated after a forward slash, following or slightly under the rest of the chord notation--for example, "GM7/B" would indicate a G major seventh chord, with B, not G, as the bass or bottom note.
Major thirds tuning

Among alternative tunings for guitar, a major-thirds tuning is a regular tuning in which each interval between successive open strings is a major third. Other names for major-thirds tuning include major-third tuning, M3 tuning, all-thirds tuning, and augmented tuning. By definition, a major-third interval separates two notes that differ by exactly four semitones.

Regular tuning

Among alternative guitar-tunings, regular tunings have equal musical intervals between the paired notes of their successive open strings.

Overtones tuning

Among alternative tunings for the guitar, an overtones tuning selects its open-string notes from the overtone sequence of a fundamental note. An example is the open tuning constituted by the first six overtones of the fundamental note C, namely C2-C3-G3-C4-E4-G4.