• 11th Day Of Christmas – Right Hand Chords For The A# and Bb Bass Note

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    Our focus in today’s lesson is on the right hand chords for the A# and Bb bass note.

    This is the eleventh lesson in our twelve days of Christmas series and we’re getting started by differentiating between the A# and Bb bass note.

    Explained — The Difference Between The A# and Bb Bass Notes

    In between A and B:

    …is a black note. This black note (in between A and B) can either be spelled in two simple ways:

    A#:

    Bb:

    So, the bass note in between A and B can either be A# or Bb and this depends on the function of the bass note. There are two bass note functions for the black note in between A and B:

    Leading note

    Tritone Substitute

    Let’s go ahead and explore how this works.

    A# As The Leading Note vs Bb as The Tritone Substitute

    The difference between the leading note and the tritone substitute is basically how they resolve.

    The leading note resolves upwards by a half-step while the tritone substitute resolves downwards by a half-step.

    Here’s the distinction between the leading note and the tritone substitute:

    A#:

    …is a leading note. Therefore it resolves upwards by a half-step to B:

    Bb:

    …is a tritone substitute. Therefore it resolves downwards by a half-step to A:

    Let’s take a closer look.

    A# As The Leading Note

    A leading note is usually a half-step below a given note. Let’s say you’re given F:

    …to determine its leading note, the leading note of F is the note that is a half-step below it.

    A half-step below F:

    …is E:

    So, considering that a half-step below F is E, the leading note of F is E. The leading note (which is E) resolves upwards by a half-step (to F).

    “Now, Back To A#…”

    A# functions as a leading note and just like every leading note, it resolves upwards by a half-step to B. So, if you have a A# bass note:

    …in the key of C:

    …it will resolve upwards by a half-step to B and the right hand chord will also resolve to any of these 7-chord types:

    B diminished triad:

    B diminished seventh chord:

    Bb as The Tritone Substitute

    A tritone (three whole steps) above Bb is E:

    Bb to C (first whole step):

    C to D (second whole step):

    D to E (third whole step):

    Bb as a tritone substitute means that Bb is substituting E:

    …which is the 3rd tone in the C major scale:

    So, the right hand chords played over the Bb bass note:

    …are substituting the right hand chords played over the E bass note:

    Take note that the E bass note usually resolves to the A bass note:

    In the same vein, the Bb bass note:

    …resolves to A:

    …by a downward half-step movement.

    So, right hand chords associated with the Bb bass note resolve to the 6-chord in the key of C major that are associated with the A bass note.

    Right Hand Chords For The A# Bass Note

    Attention: Right hand chords for the C# bass note depends on factors like skill level, musical taste, etc. There are situations that an advanced player may want to use basic chords instead of sophisticated chords.

    Basic

    Beginners may want to play any of the following right hand chords for the C# bass note:

    A major triad (root position):

    A major triad (first inversion):

    A major triad (second inversion):

    C# diminished triad (root position):

    C# diminished triad (second inversion):

    Intermediate

    Intermediate players may want to play right hand chords like:

    C# diminished seventh chord (root position):

    C# half-diminished seventh chord (root position):

    Advanced

    Advanced players may want to play the following :

    The G half-diminished seventh (root position):

    C# major seventh [b5] (second inversion):

    …or fourth chords like:

    The C# 7sus4:

    The G maj7 [sus4]:

    Right Hand Chords For The Bb Bass Note

    Attention: Right hand chords for the Db bass note depends on factors like skill level, musical taste, etc. There are situations that an advanced player may want to use basic chords instead of sophisticated chords.

    Basic

    Beginners may want to play any of the following right hand chords for the Db bass note:

    Db major triad (second inversion):

    Db dominant seventh chord (root position):

    Db dominant seventh chord (second inversion):

    Intermediate

    Intermediate players may want to play right hand chords like:

    G# diminished seventh chord (root position):

    Advanced

    Advanced players may want to play the following :

    The F half-diminished seventh (root position):

    The B major seventh [b5] (second inversion):

    Final Words

    Using the right hand chords covered in this lesson, I’m sure that you’ve got a right hand chord for C# and Db bass notes in the key of C major; irrespective of your skill level.

    See you in the next lesson.

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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