Songwriting Tip: Start in the Bass-ment

21Jan10

Part of being a great songwriter is to always be on the look out for great ideas. All of us get into ruts. It feels like we are writing the same songs over and over. I do. You probably do too. I seem to start in the same keys, use the same chord inversions, same melody styles, blah blah…. Well one fun way to creat some funky and fun songs is to start with a bass line first. In music theory this is called, figured bass. Instead of harmonizing your song off of your melody line….try coming up with chords that fit to the bass line….THEN work on creating a melody from what you cook up. Make sure the bass line is very interesting and moves the song forward.
I do not know this for sure, but I think back in the late 80’s Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis did this alot with Janet Jackson on her Control album.
If you listen to songs like “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” and “When I Think of You” you hear how the songs work with just the bass and drums. The chords are created from what is happening in the bass-ment….then they created melodies on the first floor. Those songs are still getting played on the dancefloors around the world. Try starting with the bass for your next song. Post a link so we can hear you songs…..
– Chad Sharp
http://www.sharpmusic.com

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2 Responses to “Songwriting Tip: Start in the Bass-ment”

  1. One of my latest songs: was nothing but drums and bass until I layered over them:
    Devils In The Details:

    http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=8284505&q=hi&newref=1

    • 2Loose….very nice electronic production. The synth line is kind of like some older Prince stuff, but with a little more edge.
      Thanks for posting and checking out my blog!


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