I mean music has a lot to do with math. And if you look at a set of four different anythings, say, different colors, or 4 numbers or HEY I KNOW, 4 different musical notes, there is a finite number of ways to combine those anythings in your group of anythings, and that number is based on how many "things" you have. It's not a music thing, its a math thing.
The number of permutations for a set are N!. No that is not an excited consonant, it is math speak for "N Factorial", meaning if you have say, 3 things in your set, the number of possible combinations are obtained by multiplying 1*2*3 = 6. So if you have 4 things in your set, and you want to figure out all the possible ways to combine those things it is 1*2*3*4 or 24 different ways to combine those 4 "things" whatever they may be.
Well, that what todays lick is below, if you take the notes of a C Dominant 7th chord thats "C, E, G, Bb", for a total of 4 things, and you want to play every combination of those four notes, there are 24 possible different ways you can do that. C,E,G,Bb is one, then there is C,E,Bb,G, then E,C,Bb,G like that.
So for every 7th chord there is, there are 24 patterns you can play the notes in.
For every triad there are 6 different ways you can play the notes.
And if you add in doubled notes, and octave displacement, you can get even more options with just 3 and 4 notes.
This is something that is really handy for walking basslines and it comes from the jazz/improv world. Bergonzi has a book about this (well, more than one), Gary Campbell has a book about this, Wayne Krantz has a book about this, Jerry Coker has a book...lots of guys have explored the math of groups of notes in a lot of different ways.
Each measure of the lick below is one of 24 different ways to order the notes in a C7 chord.
Play through em, you will hear some cool, and probably familiar stuff.
bass lick tempo 90 2/4 | C c8 e g bb | C c e bb g | C c g e bb | C c g bb e | C c bb e g | C c bb g e | C e c g bb | C e c bb g | C e g c bb | C e g bb c | C e bb c g | C e bb g c | C g+ c e bb | C g c bb e | C g e c bb | C g e bb c | C g bb c e | C g bb e c | C bb- c e g | C bb c g e | C bb e c g | C bb e g c | C bb g c e | C bb g e c |