Tip #228 – Dressing-Up the Walking Bass

For people looking to write out a walking bass line, today’s tip might be useful.

Regularly, you don’t want to write out note-for-note the bass line. Most bassists prefer a chord chard and they will construct a line from there. However, if you want to be specific on what notes to hit when, then do write it out.

You might have some personal “rules” as to making a walking bass line… such as having each chord change play the root first and then the rest of the chord members. Or maybe the direction or pattern of it. That’s a great start, but it can become too formulaic.

To dress it up and make it a bit more interesting, try adding some chromatic approaches. So, before hitting the root of the next chord, play a note a half-step above or below. You can even make this a string of chromatic notes (or a diatonic scalar run) for a bit of added emphasis to the root you want to hit.

Try it out and see!

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Tip #170 – Incorporating a Chromatic Approach/Passing Chord

We are going to be talking about different kinds of passing chords.

Today is about the chromatic passing chord (although I prefer to call it a chromatic approach chord – and you will see why shortly).

Take a simple pop chord progression like the example below:

To create this passing chord, you approach to destination chord with a chord the same shape/structure/voicing a m2 higher or lower. While you are using to pass in-between two chord, the structure of this passing chord is based on the chord you want to approach onto.

It would look like this, going from above and from below, respectively:

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Tip #78 – Trying Some Chromatic Approach in Harmonization

How would you harmonize the melody below?:

It can most certainly be done it a multitude of ways, but for today’s tip, let’s talk about using 4-way close harmonization. That would look like as such for the chord tones:

However, we have one note left out. The non-chord tone in a passing motion.

Because this non-chord tone is approaching the next note (which is a chord tone) by a half-step, we can consider using a chromatic approach technique to the harmonization.

Simply, have the entire harmonization be an approach by half-step to the landing chord tones. It would look like as such:

Sure, this may go against some principles of avoiding parallel harmony, but…

  1. It sounds good.
  2. You are the composer; so do what YOU want


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