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4 Progressive Bass Lines for "All The Things You Are"

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Steve Freides, Apr 5, 2018.


  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    For anyone interested, I've created and attached All The Things You Are, as it is in the Real Vocal Fake Book (with, I think perhaps one chord change, otherwise exactly as is).

    I created 4 different bass lines. The bottom one is the first I created, all roots and fifths of chords. The second is all arpeggios. The third is all arpeggio's but with smoother voice leading, and the last one is a sample walk.

    Please comment, please enjoy.

    Admins and readers: the second file, with "MIDI" at the end, isn't actually a PDF, it's a MIDI file - rename the extension to .MID to use that way. It wouldn't let me upload a MIDI file.

    -S-
     

    Attached Files:

  2. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Steve - thanks for posting.
    I'm completely untrained - am I correct that the key is Ab?
     
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  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Thanks, @BobKay.

    Ab major or F minor. Because of how it starts, I think one can argue either way, but most people refer to it by the major key.

    -S-
     
  4. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    Thanks
     
  5. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
  6. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    @Whousedtoplay, good and interesting stuff. Not quite the same, however, as creating a walking bass, IMHO. Certainly many of the principles are the same.

    -S-
     
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  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    No offense taken.

    Line number #3, the "smoothed" arpeggios is an example of how one can create a line solely from chord tones. I'm glad you liked some of that one enough that you'd use it in a walk - I would, too, and I think I did, in places, in Line #4.

    When I play walking bass lines, I try to play something different every time, e.g., something different for each verse or solo. Line 4 was just me making up but one of the many possibilities.

    I'm glad to have your input and I hope others will chime in, too.

    -S-
     
  8. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Hi Steve -
    Regarding Bass 4 Walk:
    m. 21 - why use the D#(beat 3) in that F#min7b5 chord? D natural is a better "fit" to my ears.

    Regarding the Chord in m.32 - that is most often a Bdim7 in the jazz world. Is the F7 in the RV Fake Book? If so, would you name that F7 chord (with a Db in the bassline) an F7aug? Would you specify the "...aug" quality in naming the chord for the pianist?
    Just wondering.
    It would be helpful to see a bassline on the Bdim7 chord that explores (all of/some of) the other notes in a Bdim scale - B, C#, D, E, F, G, G#, A#, B. Many young bassists don't know the rest of the notes associated with a Diminished 7 chord. ( I know that you know...)

    Regarding m.1 of the chord changes - if you were to arrpeggiate the Fmin7 chord "further", and play more upper extensions in that Fmin7 chord voicing - would you use a Dnatural (or a Dflat?)
    I like the sound of "Dnatural" in that chord. (Key Signature Be Damned!) I prefer the D natural in the chord voicing IF there is any "...13" in the chord voicing. i.e. - F, Ab, C, Eb, G, Bb, D, F, or - 1root, m3rd, 5th, min7th, maj9th, natural 13th, 11th, (1.)
    (The use of b13/Db - in the Fmin7 - chord voicing foreshadows the next chord Bbmin7, to my ears.)

    This is a great topic, IMO.
    Thank You for your contribution.
     
  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Hi, Don!

    That is the one note I changed after I played back the walking line for the first time. For me, that measure and the next one are ii - V - I in something like E harmonic minor, but ending with a major I instead of minor.

    No, I don't expect that to make any sense. :) What is makes this even more interesting, IMHO, is the fellow who posted his web page - well, he's got F#m7, but without the b5, which then lets it sound even more like ii - V - I in E major. At the end of the day, I think we chalk this up as one of those notes that I like in a particular spot that other people, perhaps the majority of people, wouldn't choose to use.
    That's the one chord change. Again, call it personal preference, but I've been playing this tune on the piano longer than any other standard (a story for another time) and I've always played it as F9.

    If you look at the whole last 12 bars, _if_ you use an F chord in m.32, you get this almost endless, circle of fifths thing happening. F - Bb - Eb - Ab - Db- Gb (dim 5 descending brings you to) - C (and here they are again) - F - Bb - Eb - Ab. Again, I think we call it personal preference, as in, "I've played that as an F9 chord for 40 years, and if someone wants to ask about it, that's cool."

    I agree with you insofar as, if I'm sitting at the keyboard, and adding those "further" notes one at a time and just listening to the chord, I'm doing this:

    F - Ab - C - Eb
    F - Ab - C - Eb - G
    F - Ab - C - Eb - G - Bb (if it was major, I'd drop the A when adding the 11th. Here I could go either way.)
    F - C - Eb - G - Bb - D (the Ab leaves for me here, too much going on with it in)
    F - Eb - G - Bb - Db


    For my ear, if the D becomes a Db, the C in the octave below has to go. But all this is as I'm just playing a chord at the piano. If I'm doing a walking bass line, and those other notes aren't sounding, I just don't know - would have to play around with it more, might depend on what everyone else was doing, etc.

    Which reminds me to mention - if you or anyone else would like me to add your line, give me a brief description I can use in the left margin, send it to me as MIDI or Sibelius, and I'll add it and post a revised version of the document.
    You're very welcome - we get questions about walking bass lines so often here, I thought a practical example might help everyone. The way I did those first 3 bass lines represents my approach to creating walking bass lines as I teach it. And, not to be snotty, but if anyone reading along couldn't think up and play line #2 in real time with the tune, then I would suggest, if they were my student, that they weren't ready to play walking bass lines in real time, but they certainly could take a week, go home, and figure out a line that I'd look at with them.

    Thanks, Don.

    -S-
     
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  10. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Steve, that was really cool of you to produce and post. I'm forcing myself to sight read every day, so I just played through all of these. I have my patterns and habits with this song, so it was good to play and hear someone else's decisions.
     
  11. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    Don is a very nice person and a highly-knowledgeable/highly-educated musician with tons of experience, but...
    If I were to make a choice between that D# and D, I would go with D# due to two reasons.

    (There is something/some harmonic vertical tension lost with that D).

    1. My ears like that aural sound on Beat 3 - that's the main reason, and
    2. (as an always beginner music theory student), it's related to that "temp" tonicization of E major.

    Those are my layperson's reasons for D#.

    P.S. Here is my addendum.
    As an arrogant layman, I dare to express my arrogant laymanship vision of the bass line for that measure.
    I would not continue with the same direction as in Measure 19, measure 20.
    I would change the direction of the bass line, kind of, catching up with the melody movement in Measure 20.
    at.PNG
     
  12. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    A fine criticism/suggestion.

    As one might expect, I took an "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to line #4. The two-bar descending scale under the G chord wouldn't normally be a first choice on my part, but, hey, I think it sounds OK, perhaps even interesting, and has an outside chance at sounding good :) so I put it in there. I also didn't take a leap of a major 7th anywhere else in the line, I don't think, so this was the place for that (or should that be "that was the place for this?")

    Truth be told, my own main interest in this is as a teaching - in answering, "How do you come up with a walking bass line?" There isn't a whole lot of connection between my line #3 and #4, and deeper delve into this might find a line or two in between those two.

    In the last 8 days, I've played two rehearsals and a performance of Guys and Dolls, and the bass part is clearly a walking style in a few spots - I just took a pic of one, and it's a lot more like my line #3 than my #4.

    IMG_0867.JPG

    In another number later in the show, there's a part with some measures like the above, again in a walking style, but also places where it just repeats the root of the chord for 4 quarter notes, or does some other, simple thing like root-root-fifth-fifth, or root-root-third-root.

    -S-
     
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  13. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Hi Steve, WUTP, (and others?)
    In the examples of the first 2 measures of ATTYA below, I've written an example of 2 possible voicings for the Fmin - Bbmin chords.
    In ex.#1 - I like how the inclusion of Dnatural in the Fmin7 chord differentiates that chord from the Bbmin7 chord that follows. I can hear a clearer shift from the Fmin chord to the Bbmin chord. ("Key Signature Be Damned!")
    In ex.#2 - I don't like how the inclusion of Db(b13) in the Fmin7 chord obscures the difference between "Fmin/Bbmin". When the Db is included in the Fmin chord, those 2 measures begin to sound like 2 measures of the same tonality, i.e., measure 1 sounds like "Bbmin/F (in the bass)". (Chord Scale folks know that this is because measures 1&2 are now sharing the exact same scale or collection of notes, just starting on different Roots - F,G,Ab,Bb,C,Db,Eb,F // Bb,C,Db,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb.)
    When the bass note moves to "Bb" i m.2, there isn't a perceivable harmonic change, even though there is strong Root Movement in the bass.
    Thanks for your interest.

    IMG_3599.JPG
     
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  14. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    @Don Kasper, your first example sounds interesting to my ears. I like that there's a half-step in each chord - I hear that pair of notes moving. Your second example just sounds wrong to my ears - it loses the feeling of being F anything. I think this is what you're also saying about your second example. I also like the less complicated-sounding pairing of your first example, except make the D natural a C natural, and then you hear it as a common tone over the changing bass line.

    We have, of course, strayed from the topic of writing a walking bass line ...

    -S-
     
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  15. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Hi Steve,
    Yes - I don't like the sound of ex. #2.

    As to substituting a "C" for the D - I am always looking/listening for the "non-common" tones between chords, after identifying the "common" tones.

    As to "strayed" (straying) - I disagree. I think bassline writing/creating IS (and should be) informed by (for example) the "D/Db" issue - In my playing and teaching, I like to approach Melody/horizontal writing and creating with an awareness of, and connection to, the Harmonic/vertical possibilities.
    I believe it opens more doors than it closes.
    Thanks for your time and interest.
     
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  16. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Please say more about this. In my admittedly simple mind, one settles the chord changes and then one goes about creating one's bass line.

    I'm also curious, if you follow my model - no need to if you don't care for it, but "if" - then what sort of quarter-note walks you might use under those first two measures (using example #1). Playing bass, I generally don't play those "odd" notes, anyway. I tend to think of my line as based on roots, fifths, arpeggios of basic triads and sometimes 7th chords, but tend to prefer to hear 9th and up in the higher register instruments.

    E.g., if we had the D natural in your first chord, and I had decided to walk down the scale from F, I'd use Eb then D natural, then C, but if we hadn't agree on the D natural in the chord, then I'd walk down and use Db instead.

    -S-
     
  17. jasonrp

    jasonrp

    Feb 19, 2015
    vt
    Just wanted to let you guys know.. even though this is deeper than I usually go into the pool it's very interesting and helpful just to see your processes for writing out lines.

    Plus, I can print it for some new sheets to sight read with :thumbsup:
     
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  18. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Thanks, @jasonrp - that was my hope in making the bass lines and starting the thread.

    -S-
     
  19. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Banned

    Oh, man. I cannot wait to sit and really read yours and Don' s exchange/analyses. It's extra cool and reassuring when two bona fide knowledgeable dudes see things differently and support their ideas!

    Some future dialogues from you two:

    Flats vs rounds
    Tort vs no tort
    P BASS vs any other
    Best anything for metal
    Cats vs dogs

    Sincere thanks, dudes/maestros!
     
  20. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    @Ant Illington

    I haven't read anything from Don in this thread I'd say I disagree with.

    Half-rounds.

    Tort - huh? Some kind of legal thing?

    Who's playing matters way more than what they're playing, so play what you like.

    Metal - that's what they make car engines and frying pans from, right?

    There is no cats vs dogs - both are wonderful, each in their own way. Cats are easier to take care of; cats are masters of zen quietude. Dogs are more work; dogs interact with you in ways cats can't.

    -S-
     
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