Improvisation Over a Pedal Point Bass

Before Starting

  1. You should have read about pedal point basslines here.
  2. Listen to the student examples at the bottom of this page. Be careful, though. The assignment changes every year. These examples may be a different length or in a different key.

Objectives

In this assignment you will improvise melodically over a beat and a pedal point bass line.

Procedures

  1. Start a new empty project and name it “8-1.Last.First.PedalPoint”
    1. File -> Save as -> 8-1.Last.First.PedalPoint
  2. Add a “Beat” loop from the loop library. Loop your beat to last exactly 16 measures. Label this track “Beat
  3. Add two additional tracks and label them “Improv” and “Bass Line
  4. Pick patches/instruments for the melody/improv and bass. Piano is a good starting point.
    1. A bass instrument could be bass guitar, string bass, bass synthesizers, tuba, etc.
    2. A melodic instrument for the improv track could be piano, guitar, violin, lead synthesizer, etc.
  5. Compose a pedal point bass line in the key of A minor
    1. In A minor use a low A only.
    2. Use any rhythm or sustain a long note.
    3. Play for 4 measures.
    4. Quantize your bass line region (likely 1/8 or 1/4).
    5. Loop your bass line to last exactly 16 measures.
  6. Practice improvising melodies over your pedal point bass line.
    1. Press the record button.
    2. Start on the home note (A).
    3. Only use ♮ notes only (no ♯ or ♭keys)
    4. Play a single note at a time (try using one finger)
    5. End on the home note (we’re in the key of A minor so this is the note A)
    6. Quantize your recording.
    7. Listen to your recording.
    8. Go back and record another improv.

Here are some more suggestions for improvising.

Sample Improvisation Over a Pedal Point Bassline

Improvisation Over a Pedal Point Bassline (click to enlarger)
Improvisation Over a Pedal Point Bassline (click to enlarger)
Labeled Keyboard (click to enlarge)
Labeled Keyboard (click to enlarge)

Examples (2018)

F.C.

J.D.

Z.K.

S.K.

F.K.

K.M.

S.P.

S.S.

G.S.

D.X.

J.C.

R.M.

B.N.

D.R.

E.S.

H.W.

W.D.

A.F.

E.M.

N.S.