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Writing bass for a melody

Posted by r1937 
Writing bass for a melody
March 02, 2007 03:36AM
If given a melody line how could I write the bass for it?

I can play by ear and write simple melody. What I need is to add left hand bass to it. I am also familiar with chords and those Roman numeral symbols etc. I have gone through many web sites but all they tell is how to analyze a piece written in 4-part harmony etc.

Thanks for anyone how could help me or give a link.

Re: Writing bass for a melody
March 14, 2007 02:45AM
Put chords from the key underneath the melody that support it well. Now just play notes from those chords in a lower register with your left hand.
Re: Writing bass for a melody
March 20, 2007 10:34AM
Thanks for your reply James, but I couldn't understand - "Put chords from the key underneath the melody". The question is which chord to put?

for example,
as in the picture I put in [www.geocities.com] (sorry... I couldn't attach or paste a picture here) which is a melody in C major, how did the composer knew which chord to use?
Re: Writing bass for a melody
March 21, 2007 01:45AM
I play by ear, so that's the only method I can suggest. Presuming you're staying fairly simple and diatonic, finding a progression that works is trial and error using the seven chords from the key of C.

Ie. Cmaj, Fmaj, Gmaj, Amin, Dmin, Emin, Ddim, (Emaj often useful)

See which sound the best under each beat of the melody. Once you have a basic progression that works you can add in various non-diatonic substitutions if you want to become a bit more sophisticated.
Re: Writing bass for a melody
May 21, 2007 02:33PM
If you are just staying basic, a good way to decide on chords is to look at what is in the melody, find the note that seems to be holding it down, or the main note that it seems like the chord should sound right with, and then pick on of the chords listed by james by looking at the notes that are in them, and chosing out of the ones that have the melody note in them. Of course, this is for basic chord work, but it is a very good place to start with.

Colin Thomson
Re: Writing bass for a melody
October 11, 2007 06:07AM

Hey , here it is! nearly all composers already know their chords and stuff . knowing that stuff , and learning about music in general is a prerequisite to being a composer. in my case I was already playing fairly accurately nearly all my favourite popular ballads by ear-on the piano- and had to buy a chord tutor to find out the names of the chords which I was playing!....I am aware that my situation does not help you or anyone in your position, however, the most simple solution I can suggest to you, is to at least buy a selection of tutors on chords and harmony, or, go for music lessons. That is the only way forward for a music student. One final point I wish to stress to any and all students is that besides learning your favourite instrument-- Piano is the easiest instrument to study harmony on. after 60 years of studying music, I have noticed that the guitar is THE most popular instrument- for various reasons- for young people to take up. However It is one of the most difficfult of chord playing instruments- to study harmony on, quickly discourageing anything but the most elementary progress. sorry , but, it is a fact and, music is unfortunately the worse for it
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