Bass (bās) Research, Analysis, and Recording Project

Creative Commons image Bass by darcyadelaide at Flickr

Top 10 Basslines

Top 10 Rock Bassists


  • Convey knowledge of bass terms and concepts and use this knowledge to build bass lines in GarageBand

Bass Terms

  • Tonality
    • Everything that makes Western music sounds different
      • keys/chords
  • Root / Tonic Note
    • First note of scale/chord
  • Contrary Motion
    • Bass moves opposite of melody
  • Walking Bass
    • Takes steps down the scale
  • Chromatic Scale
    • Scale with every note (half steps)
  • Ground Bass
    • Constantly repeated bass line as the other parts of the music vary
  •  Inversion
    • using a note other than the tonic in the baseline
  • Bass Riff
    • Bass filler/solo, often played as a transition in songs or as an introduction to a song


  • Create a blog post with embedded media from SoundCloud, YouTube, and Flickr of bass.



  • Day 1 – Create Blog Post, Add Section Headings, and Define Terms
    • Talk Talk
    • Watch Queen – Under Pressure
      • Another great bass line
    • What are some great bass lines you like?
    • Create blog post titled, Bass Recording Project
    • Copy and paste the headings below
      • Summary
      • My First Bass Line
      • One of My Favorite Bass Lines
      • Second Bass Line
      • Bass Terms
      • What I Learned and Problems I Solved
    • Under the Bass Terms heading
  • Day 2 – Watch GarageBand Tutorial for Bass Lines

    • Recreate / modifiy Le Duc’s Sample Bass Line MIDI file in GarageBand 10 (zip file)
    • Include under the Lesson Bass Line heading
      • A  screenshot of the tracks; uploaded to Flickr and embedded into your blog post
      • The exported notes of the bass line as an mp3; uploaded to Soundcloud and embedded into your post
      • Answer the questions (use compositional terms in your answer):
        • How was working with the notation editor?
          • What was challenging?
          • What was revealing?
  • Day 3 – Examine One of Your Favorite Song’s Bass Lines
    • Find for MIDI file of one of your favorite bass lines
    • Include under the One of My Favorite Bass Lines heading
      • Embed a YouTube video of your favorite bass line
      • Find a .midi file of the bass line and download it
      • Take a screenshot of the bass line tracks in GarageBand, upload to Flickr and embed into your blog
      • Export the bass line tracks from GarageBand as an .mp3, upload to SoundCloud and embed into your blog post
      • Describe why you like the bass line
      • Answer the questions (use compositional terms in your answer):
        • What did you notice about the note structure and rhythm of the bass line?
        • Where was the tonic note and where are the tension building note(s)?
        • What was revealing?
  • Day 4 to 2nd to Last Day of Project – Create a Theme with Bass
    • Examine the example with bass notes
    • Share How to “speak” in odd time signatures
    • Create a 8 measures theme that has a bass line that builds and releases tension with your melody and/or harmony tracks
      • Remember that the note and chord progression should be in C Major.
      • Use the bass notes that best support you melody line.
      • Feel free to copy and paste the notes from Mr. Le Duc’s bass note progression sample (GarageBand 10).
      • Remember to start on the tonic note/chord (C) and build tension in measures 4 and 5 with the Dominant / Subdominant note/chords (green) and end on the tonic (C) note / chord (red).
      • Remember that rising notes support happiness and falling notes sadness.
      • Remember that increasing tempo support happiness and slowing tempo sadness.
    • Include under the My Bass Line heading
      • Take a  screenshot of the chord track notation; uploaded to Flickr and embedded into your blog post
      • Export the theme as an mp3; uploaded to Soundcloud and embedded into your post
      • Answer the questions (use compositional terms in your answer):
        • How did you structure of the bass line?
        • Where is the tonic note(s) and where are the tension building notes?
        • Are you using Contrast, Repetition, and/or Variation? Which measures?
  • Second to Last Day
    • Create What I Learned heading
      • Explain what you learned and at least one problem you overcame
      • Include a link to a tutorial you used and describe how you used it
  • Last Day
    • Present compositional themes


  • GarageBand
  • YouTube
  • Soundcloud
  • Flickr


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