Is it just a melody, but lower? Sort of, but there’s more to it than that…
Resting on the root note
If you’ve loaded our new MIDI parts for the first walkthrough, the chords sound nice, but they’re not backed up by the bassline, which continues to just play C notes. So what do we do? Since we were sticking to simple three-note major and minor triads when we created those chords, all we have to do is copy the lowest note of each chord (aka the ‘root note’) for our bassline. So where our chords are Cmaj – Gmaj – Amin – Fmaj, our bassline playing underneath them will simply go C–G–A–F. Since, at this point, the chords don’t really change much throughout the track, we can copy the same group of four bass notes throughout the entire project. Once you’ve done the Extensions and
Inversions walkthroughs, come back here and experiment with the bassline – there may be new lowest notes for each chord later on, but it’s
C# C# still the root ( A in an A major chord, in a minor chord, F in an F minor chord) that will be the most solid choice for a bassline.
Considerations when crafting a bassline
The way you program bass notes will change depending on the sound you use. If the character of your bass patch lies in its complex modulation, your notes should often be long and low. If it’s a solid, weighty, subby bassline, the length of the notes you use may change. If a ‘punchier’ bass has higherfrequency transients at the starts of notes, use it to pick out a rhythm, as in the screenshot above.