In keep­ing with this is­sue’s theme, this month’s Easy Guide is de­signed to help you carve out more ef­fec­tive basslines

Computer Music - - Contents -

Tune up your bassline’s notes with some mu­sic the­ory

As an es­sen­tial part of the rhythm sec­tion, to­gether with the drums, your track’s bassline is the com­po­nent that forms the cru­cial link be­tween the rhyth­mic and mu­si­cal el­e­ments of the tune, yet it’s of­ten the thing that gets the least at­ten­tion when it comes to choos­ing the ac­tual notes it plays.

An awe­some bassline can eas­ily be iden­ti­fied by whether or not it makes you do a ‘bass face’ – if you can’t stop your­self from purs­ing your lips and thrust­ing your chin back and forth like a chicken, then you know you’ve got a win­ning bassline on your hands. From the sim­ple, rootsy funk plod­ding of Daft Punk’s Da Funk to the al­most baroque, dis­torted flail­ings of Muse’s Hys­te­ria, a great bassline can be the mak­ing of your track, and although a lot of bass part cre­ation is largely in­stinc­tive, there are a few the­ory-based tricks that can help you out along the way.

There are loads of dif­fer­ent types of bassline you can adopt, de­pend­ing on the style or genre of mu­sic you’re go­ing for, but from a com­puter mu­si­cian’s per­spec­tive, things will mainly fall into two camps: us­ing bass gui­tar sam­ples to em­u­late the play­ing of a real bass player, or work­ing with a synth sound to pro­duce a synth bassline. So over these two pages, I’ve gath­ered to­gether a few tips on how to cre­ate an ef­fec­tive bassline us­ing both ap­proaches.

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