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How Do I Figure Out The Bass

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How Do I Figure Out The Bass

Post by Darth_Lamp on Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:42 am

Dunno if this is the right forum to post this in.

There is a song I really want to learn, the trouble is I could only find the melody arranged for a flute.

So basically what I want to do is figure out the bass part by myself, and eventually embellishing it with more chords,etc. in the right hand later on. Partially as an exercise to improve my theory, more so since I've given up on finding a proper arrangement for piano.

But first things first, I need to figure out the left hand part.
I have a general idea of what the bass line is supposed to sound like, I just can't seem to find the right chords to line up with the melody.

This is probably what confuses me the most about trying to write my own music as well. I can pound out melodies without much effort, but writing the left hand part always leaves me stumped. (Lack of left hand independence due to lack of practice notwithstanding).

Any tips or links to lessons/book recommendations are appreciated.

Thanks.
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Re: How Do I Figure Out The Bass

Post by jytte on Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:02 am

I assume you mean finding chords to play, along with the melody?

I do this quite often, since I get very bored with playing the easy sheets available out there, and the music I like and want to play is often either not available on sheet, or just too complex for me.

So, I start with a sound file of the tune I need. Listen to it little bit by little bit, and write down the melody (clef) note by note. I use MuseScore for this. It's a slow process, but excellent practice for note theory and the ear. Like you said, the melody is the easiest part.

Then I need to find the chords to go with it. On the piano, watching the keys played in a particular bar gives me an indication what the chord should be (spanning those same keys more or less), then I try out a few options, and I can hear which one fits, it should match or compliment the melody. I don't really see any other way of doing this.

Sometimes you can find a midi of that tune, then you're in luck, as you can import it directly into MuseScore, NotationPlayer or some such software, and get the whole score, including bass, from it. Then you can write your own version from that.

Just my two cents worth. Maybe someone more experiences has other advice?
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Re: How Do I Figure Out The Bass

Post by VictorCS on Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:09 pm

I find it very useful to look at the melody key as a way to determin what the chord should be, sure, this doesnt work all the time, but it gets you closer to the chord used. If the key is a E, I usuall go one octave down, and play A-C-E. And from there I decide whether it'll should be minor/major or in another interversion etc.

Sorta how I do it, hard to explain, it just kinda just happen ^_^

I figured 2 weeks ago that if I hear a song in my head, and wanna try figuring out the melody I cant. But if I whisle the melody out loud I can. That was quit scary. Doesnt help with chords tho Sad
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Re: How Do I Figure Out The Bass

Post by jytte on Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:25 pm

Victor, funny you should mention that with the whistle.

I spent the last two days writing a score from an mp3 (all I had to go by). There were some bars with quick movements that were real hard to figure, maybe my ear is not as good or as trained as i could be. Anyway, I realized that actually whistling the tune softly but out loud while at the piano looking for the correct notes made it a lot easier to find them. Go figure.

Useful tip for anyone else not knowing: Only after I was done did I realize that I can actually slow down a soundfile in WawePad, which would have made the job a lot easier, DUH. But at least now I know for future projects.
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Re: How Do I Figure Out The Bass

Post by Darth_Lamp on Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:29 pm

Thanks for the tips.

I know the piece is in Dm aaaand that's about it. Still stuck on the first couple bars. I've tried slowing down an MP3 in audacity, I've probably listened to the song about 50 times since I last posted >.<. When I think I've got it figured out I go to play it or arrange it in musescore and it just sounds terrible.

Maybe I'm in over my head and should just wait till my ears are a little more developed.

Anyway, here's the song/sheet I'm working with if anyone is interested:

Flute sheet music
Piano arrange - Unfortunately shot from an angle where the keyboard can't be seen
Original Version
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Re: How Do I Figure Out The Bass

Post by jytte on Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:58 am

Pretty song.
Had a look around, and came across this page, unfortunately the "midi" is in mp3 format, and I'm not able to make something very useful out of that.
http://nicosound.anyap.info/sound/sm1759892
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Re: How Do I Figure Out The Bass

Post by Darth_Lamp on Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:32 pm

jytte wrote:Pretty song.
Had a look around, and came across this page, unfortunately the "midi" is in mp3 format, and I'm not able to make something very useful out of that.
http://nicosound.anyap.info/sound/sm1759892

Did a little digging and managed to find a midi version of that. http://page.freett.com/s_yanagi/midi/midi.html

Even if it is a slightly different version from the original. Loading it up in musescore seems to mess up a few of the notes, but at least it gives me a place to start.
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