Hearing the Changes Lesson 1-Bass Notes is the start of a series of lessons on developing the ability to figure out the changes to a song by ear. This is not a lesson that will immediately give you perfect pitch or the ability to hear all chords tomorrow, but rather this is a lesson on steering you down the path of improving your ear and getting better at hearing and recognizing changes in the moment.
Lesson 1 & 2 originate from a sax player that I played with many years ago that came on my gig as an additional horn. The band played a standard that he didn’t know at all. After I played the melody and took a solo he came in to solo and played a great solo through the changes. During the break, I talked to him and asked him how he soloed so well on a tune he didn’t know and he responded that during the melody and my solo he was listening and figuring out the bass notes of the tune. Once he had those pretty much down it was pretty easy to figure out the chords. I was blown away! No one had ever taught me to listen to the bass notes to figure out a tune. Before this time I was just hearing a vague cloud of sound and trying to figure out what notes on my sax sounded good against it. It never occurred to me to listen to the bass notes to figure out the roots as common sense as that sounds.
In Hearing the Changes Lesson1-Bass Notes I start you down the road to hearing bass notes and figuring out the chord qualities associated with them. I have included a 25 minute audio file of random bass notes for you to practice matching on your instrument. I also take you through transcribing the chords of a random Aebersold track by first figuring out the root notes played by the bass and then trying to figure out the chord qualities by ear but also by using a bit of theory common sense. In this lesson you will start to learn the process that I go through to try to figure out chords without a chart. (35 Minute Video Lesson, 25 Minute mp3 of bass note exercise)