Home Reply Reply To: Figuring out Horn Lines and Riddims
User AvatarMatt Jenson

Aaron! Great topics. I actually have a growing Finale document (that’s notation software if you don’t know) that has many of the famous riddims on it. It only has the bass line and chord changes as many if not most of them don’t have a little horn line or vocal line. Although, I could be wrong on that! (Many of them do have a horn line and/or vocal line.) I want to transcribe as many of the ‘Riddims’ as there are (probably nearly impossible to get them ALL) and make a One-shot lesson or even a full course on them. But I’m seeing that I have to included the horn lines. Aaaah, more work!

As for learning the horn lines, what’s your specific issue? You have trouble hearing the exact notes? First thing to do is get the top line, often played by trumpet (if it’s a three part line, say with tenor sax and trombone). That’s usually the easiest line to hear. Play it on your keyboard or bass. Then, because we’re talking about pretty basic chords (major and minor triads) you can usually figure out the other lines that are below the top line by toying around with playing a chord tone below the top line. Use your ear to hear if it sounds right. If you’re very unfamiliar with major and minor triads, you’ll need to brush up on them and doing it on a keyboard is the best way. The Basic Theory course will dial you into that well. (I’m working on the tech issue!!)

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