Songs with varied subdivisions - bass phrasing

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Lakland1008, Sep 6, 2021.


  1. Lakland1008

    Lakland1008

    Jul 8, 2021
    Hey talkbass, what are some songs you recommend learning where the bassist is using a wide variety of subdivisions in each phrase. Looking at blues, funk, and rock but open to any genre.

    I've been doing lots of metronome work around this lately and want to put together a list of songs where I can apply what I'm practicing.

    For example, playing in 4/4 where bassline is playing a quarter note on beat 1, a triplet on beat 2, four 16th notes on beat 30, two eighth notes on beat 4, a quintuplet on the first beat of the next bar, and so on
     
  2. I'll be damned if I can think of any such song. There are songs where a triplet might be thrown in occasionally amongst the twos, (LZ's "Black Dog" comes to mind) but to move frequently back and forth from twos to threes to fives might be awkward to listen to. I tried playing the rhythm you suggested (1, 3, 4, 2|5...) and I have yet to make it to the sixth beat.... :) I would speculate that it might sound to the listener like the band was drunk and keeping poor time.. Dunno. Maybe I'll throw it in the DAW as an experiment. Looking forward to hear what the more experienced players have to say about this.
     
  3. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Easiest/most accessible example would probably be the main melodic theme to Frank Zappa's "Peaches En Regalia" which has a measure of a quarter note on beat one, five 16th-note quintuplets on beat two, three 8th-note triplets on beat three, and two 8th-notes on beat four.

    Lots of Zappa's "serious" [sic] music makes use of similar atypical (and asymmetrical) subdivisions. Also check out the music of Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, Donald Martino, Milton Babbitt... admittedly most of those fun polyrhythms happen in the melodic instruments rather than the bass section.
     

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