making a song

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Acufone, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Acufone

    Acufone Commercial User

    Oct 5, 2017
    I was making a song on my laptop, I have recorded a piano part and wanted to add a bass part, what would I play on bass to make it go with the piano?
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Start with roots of each chord.
    Acufone likes this.
  3. Acufone

    Acufone Commercial User

    Oct 5, 2017
    Well I’m playing F, A, C, E together. Plus I’m a drummer so I don’t know much about bass and piano but thanks
  4. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    As stated, play the roots for a start. Line them up with the kick drum hits. Simple, but effective.

    Next, learn a little music theory and return for more advice. We can't tell you what to do if you don't speak the language.
  5. There is no possible response to your question because it is way to vague. It is exactly like asking this "hey, I have two feet and own a surfboard so what advice would you give me to be a better surfer"
    The only possible possible response is "take some music (or surfing?) lessons and learn basic music theory i.e root, third minor or major, fifth..."
  6. Acufone

    Acufone Commercial User

    Oct 5, 2017
    No it’s not, you just don’t understand what I’m asking is, do you have to play certain notes on the bass to make it go with the piano. I may be saying this wrong but like I said I’m a drummer so I hardly know anything about this stuff
  7. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Well, as has been said, if you are playing F, A, C, and E on the piano you might want to start with F, A, C, and E on the bass. And play those notes when the kick drum plays.
    Acufone likes this.
  8. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Acufone :) welcome to TB!

    Try to think of your drums first.
    Then think: If I could play a melodie on my drumset it would be like...:hyper::hyper::hyper:

    ...and here you go, the perfect bassplayer :bassist:

    have fun and don' t get overwhelmed by theoriesssss...

    like Miles said: there are no wrong notes ;)

    may the bass be with you

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    Acufone and swooch like this.
  9. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I would probably do it like this:

    Dooon dooon, doooooon, doo-dooon. Dooon. Doo-doon doooooooon.
  10. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    If you start playing notes other than the root notes, then you will want to know if the chords you listed are major or minor, and the key you are in. You generally would want to keep the notes you play limited to the notes within the chords, or at least the key you happen to be in. There are all kinds of exceptions to this rule, and genre of music plays into what is usually more or less acceptable by most audiences.
    Acufone likes this.
  11. Mushroo


    Apr 2, 2007
    You mention you are already a drummer. How did you learn to play drums? Did you take lessons? Learn some famous songs/beats? Join a band? Read a book? Watch an instructional video? We all have different learning styles, so my advice is, take whatever method worked for you to learn drums, and then try the same method to learn bass.

    To answer your specific question, a good place to start is by learning other people's songs. Listen to simple, popular songs and imitate the bass lines. Then, "borrow" some of these musical ideas for your own original song. Maybe try playing the same notes in a different rhythm, or the same rhythm with different notes. Try subtracting a few notes from a famous riff, or embellish a lick with a few additional notes that sound good to you. Maybe take a pattern from a song you learned, and move that pattern up (or down) a few frets so it sounds good in the same key as your piano part.
    bfields and Acufone like this.
  12. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    What I do is this:

    First play a bunch of notes. ...or maybe not so many if the mood strikes me.
    Then think about if what I played sounded good.
    If no, then repeat. If yes, try to figure out what I just did.

    Good Luck!
    bmdfla48 and Acufone like this.
  13. Acufone

    Acufone Commercial User

    Oct 5, 2017
    Thanks for your help lads I appreciate it
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    All the notes in the chord being played will sound o.k. under the chord. The root and fifth of the chord, in this case the F and C will provide firm support when played on the right beat. The root is usually played on the one and sometimes the three. The third and seventh, A and E in this case, will provide more color than support.

    Notes that are not in the chords can be played, too. These are referred to as passing tones. They promote movement between the chords. Care is needed in using non-chord tones. All of them will work, depending on what you're doing. But (almost always) none of them will work all the time.

    Chord tones first. Then build movement with passing tones. Don't use the tones that sound bad. Unless that's what you want.
  15. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    This is super basic music theory - And I don't know much more than this, but hope it helps:
    Using C Scale as an example, because there are no sharps (or flats) to contend with.
    12345671(or sometimes referred to as 8)
    My apologies for the alignment. The 1 is supposed to be below the C, the 2 below the D, etc...
    In just nearly all music the 1(C) and the 5 (G) are interchangeable, as far as whether is will sound dissonant or not.
    So, if you play a C chord, which in the triad (means 3) form, consists of C E and G, thumping a C over it will work, as will a G. Make sense?

    Digest these few little sentences I typed for you, they will give you the vocabulary to go learn more. There's much more to it if you want it. for example, the next scale is G (GABCDEF#G). Magically, if you start with G on the bass, rather than starting with C on the bass, putting your fingers in the exact same positions will work. Best easy example if this little gem is to play all the notes on the C scale starting with the 8th fret on the e string. if you go down to the 3rt fret of the E string, the exact same positions will correctly get you all the notes for the G scale. That's (one of the reasons) why people talk in terms of the 1 or the 5 rather than actual note names.

    People that know way more than me have info our there. If your're up for it, a guy name Michael New has a great youtube video on the "Circle of Fifths". His stuff in basically how I know what I know. Super understandable. Never met the guy, but feel like I owe him or something. He's taught me a lot!!
    Michael New
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  16. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Understanding at least some music theory is important here. I'd advise you go through the exercises on and get a good handle on keys and scales. Then if you're still not sure, come back and ask more questions.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  17. The melody line and the bass line should share some like notes for harmony to happen. It need not be rocket science. How many like notes per measure will be needed? One. Yes one shared note will get harmony, two will probably be better and the ole tried and true root-five is what you should/could be shooting for.

    OK you have your melody lets work on getting an accompaniment chord to harmonize that part of the melody. Our main job is to play notes of the harmonizing chord. So, which notes of the melody should I build my chord around? Which note will make a good harmonizing chord?

    Probably the one that is used the most, If your song is in 4/4 time your measure will be four quarter notes long; so within that measure the one used the most would be a good choice for the root of the harmonizing chord. I'm going to leave it at that. Beyond that if you have a shared note, the note that sounds good to you, as it's your song, should work.

    Get that down and then we can go from there. Do a search on TB there are several strings on how to write a song on this forum.

    You've got a melody and a harmonizing chord, now you need some lyrics and a little rhythm and you will have your first song.

    This may help:

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    FenderB likes this.
  18. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Good advice from most so far.

    What style or genre of song are you writing? What kind of bass line is typical for that style? Listen to others who are writing in that style for inspiration. It's certainly OK to do something different, but at first don't re-invent the wheel until you understand the wheel you have.
    MonetBass likes this.
  19. BK bassist

    BK bassist Schroeder Cabinets endorsing artist Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2017
    Brooklyn, NY
    Since you seem to already know how to play piano or you at least know your way around a keyboard, here's a suggestion that has worked for me ...

    When looking for a bass line and you need inspiration, go to the piano and play some lower register accompaniments that you like, when you find the one that fits with the groove, transpose it to a bass.

    I find many bass players / guitar players to often have "go to" runs that we play instinctively, going to a different instrument, like piano, forces you to write in a different manner as you don't have the usual fingerboard patterns on a keyboard.

    Hope that helps and good luck.
  20. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Sounds like you need a quick intro to music theory. Here's a rough attempt:

    In western music, there are 12 notes - A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A (that last A being the octave up). The flats (b) can also be seen as a sharp (#) from the note below - Eb is the same as D#. Going from one note to the next is a "half step," jumping to the second note is a "whole step." Eb to E is a half-step, Eb to F is a whole step. There's no such thing as Fb/E# nor is there a Cb/B#.

    Usually a song is in a "key," which means it doesn't use all 12 notes, but picks seven of them. You figure which seven based on a pattern of whole steps and half steps. So major keys go WWHWWWH, where W is a whole step and H is a half step. Thus, the key of A major is A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#. A minor key goes WHWWWHW

    Within the key, you then can pick out different chords and scales. I won't worry about scales right now - they're basically running through the notes of the key from different starting points. The way chords are constructed is that each has a root note and then usually the third and fifth notes after the root in the key. So for example, in the key of A major I gave above, you have the A chord, which would be A (the root), C# (the third), and E (the fifth). But you could also have a B minor chord, where the root is B, the third is D, and the fifth is F#, or a C#minor where the root is C#, the third is E, and the fifth is G#... etc.

    Any given song will usually have a chord progression, the sequence the chords go through. In blues and genres based on it, the most common progression is I-IV-V, which means is uses chords rooted on the first, fourth, and fifth notes of the key. So in A major, a I-IV-V would mean A major, D major, and E major. There may be different chord progressions for verses and choruses, etc. - it can get as complicated as you like.

    So in the example you gave, you said you're playing F, A, C and E together. A is two whole steps up from F and C is three half-steps up from A. That tells me you're playing an F major chord - WWHW. The E also fits, since it's the major 7th of the key of F, so those four notes together are called Fmaj7. Assuming that's the main or starting chord of the song, the song would be in the key of F, so all the notes you can choose from in the key are F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E.
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