notating slap bass?

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by tbassist4, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. Hi, can anyone tell me the standard format for notating upright slap bass. I can think of ways to do it but I want it to be the way that's professionally accepted. I know theres two different slaps sounds to notate, first the pulled string slap that has the pitch, but then there's the click when your hand comes back down to hit the strings. I can't use "x" headed notes for both. Do I say something like "slapped" at the beginning of the section of slapped notes, so then I use regular noteheads to indicated pulled string slaps and then do something like have "x" headed notes on the E, A, D, and G lines on the same beat for the click sound? How should I go about this?
  2. I would think the notation would be similar to the notation for slapping on slab bass, with a "p" over the plucked note, and the X for the slapped note.
  3. jb6884


    Jan 30, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    The way I do it, the slap that actually produces a note is on the beat, and the non tonal, hand coming down click, is a grace note to the next.. Kind of a swing/ broken wheel rhythm if you will. The way I visualize it on paper is just that - a grace note with an X to indicate no tone leading to the next.. I've never actually written it out. There are many ways to slap, so this may not work for you.
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    slap is a rhythmic figure. either single slap (the note) double slap (the note plus the palm-slap) or triple slap (the note plus two palm-slaps). there is also the triplet ending with the note (slap-slap-note). the first three are the most common. I remember seeing a "V" over notes in a Bartok piece, which meant the note was a single slap, or "Bartok pizz" in the legit vocabulary. I don't see why you couldn't use this "V" notation over the staff lines, then a bar carried over the grace/slapped notes on the staff reading "x" or "x x", etc.

    in what musical context are you trying to notate slap, anyway?
  5. I was talking about in standard sheet music. I have nothing in particular to notate currently, it was just a question that popped into my head one day.