Bass run


Bass run

A bass run (or "bass break") is a short instrumental break or fill in which the bass instrument, such as an electric bass or a double bass (or instruments, in the case of a marching band) and the bassline are given the forefront (van der Merwe 1989, p.283). The bass part for a bass run often differs from the usual bass accompaniment style, in terms of the register, timbre, or melodic style that is used, or the number of notes per beat which are played.

A bass run may be composed by the performer or by an arranger prior to a performance, or it may be improvised onstage by the performer using scales, arpeggios, and standard licks and riffs. In some cases, a bass run may incorporate a display of virtuoso techniques such as rapid passages or high notes. During a bass run, the main vocal or melody line usually stops, and in some cases, the percussion or drums may also stop.

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Electric bass

In a rock song in which the bassline consists of low-pitched quarter notes played on the electric bass, a bass run may consist of a rapid sequence of sixteenth notes in a higher register, or of a melodic riff played in a higher register. In some cases, the bassist will select a "brighter"-sounding pickup or increase the treble response of the instrument for a bass run, so that it will be easier to hear.

In a pop song in which the bassline consists of notes plucked on the electric bass, a bass run may consist of several bars of percussive slapping and popping.

In a funk song in which the bassline already consists of percussive slapping and popping, a bass run may consist of a virtuostic display of rapid slapping and popping techniques combined with techniques such as glissando, note-bending, and harmonics.

Double bass

In a jump blues tune in which the bassline consists of low-pitched quarter notes played on the double bass in a scalar walking bass style, a bass run may consist of a bar of swung eighth notes played using a percussive slap bass style, in which the right hand strikes the strings against the fingerboard.

In a swing tune in which the bassline consists of low-pitched quarter notes played on the double bass in a scalar walking bass style, a bass run may consist of a descending chromatic scale played in a higher register.

In a bluegrass tune in which the bassline consists of low-pitched quarter notes played on the double bass on the root and fifth of each chord on beats one and three (of a 4/4 tune), a bass run may consist of a walking bass line played for several bars.

Low brass

In a marching band context, a bass run may consist of a several bar unaccompanied passage composed for the tubas and sousaphones which displays either rapid passages of notes or higher-register techniques.

History

The technique seems to have originated in the marches of the "Sousa school", though its resemblance to call and response techniques familiar to African American musicians indicates an earlier origin. (van der Merwe 1989, p.283)

ee also

*Walking bass
*Fill

ource

*van der Merwe, Peter (1989). "Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music". Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-316121-4.


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