The Building Blocks of Bass Frameworks
|By Amir Said (Sa’id)|
To be sure, Hip hop/rap music is “bottom-heavy.” In most beats, bass tones and colors play a fundamental (if not major) role. But does this mean that most beats contain bass “lines” per se? Actually, no. Thing is, in beatmaking, the concept of using bass passages or phrases is more about bass “frameworks” than traditional notions of bass “lines.” And in beatmaking, bass frameworks are more often than not constructed through the use of individual bass sound-stabs.
Bass sound-stabs—individual bass sounds/tones—typically come from two main sources: (1) synthetic bass sounds, i.e. sound modules, keyboard patches, and/or VSTs; and (2) samples of recorded source material, i.e. vinyl records, CDs, etc. (A very small minority of beatmakers also play bass sounds from a traditional electric bass guitar.) Regardless of each beatmaker’s sonic preference and overall beat style, bass sound-stabs are generally what we use as the building blocks for the bass frameworks of the beats that we create. As such, when it comes to bass, we are not always focused on creating a bass line per se, but a bass “part” that fits the scope and slant of the beat that we’re working on.
In beatmaking, coming up with effective bass frameworks is mostly about accompanying the overall feel and direction of the beat. In some cases, bass frameworks are indeed made up of traditional bass line schemes. But in many more cases, bass frameworks are composed through the use of strategically placed bass “parts.” Thus, in many ways, beatmaking’s bass framework concept is about balancing bass tones with the high and mid textures of a beat. Moreover, bass frameworks are often simply the product of filling “holes” in the arrangement structure of a beat.
For educational purposes…
“Keep It Thoro” – Prodigy (of Mobb Deep), beat by The Alchemist
The Alchemist’s beat for Prodigy’s (of Mobb Deep) “Keep It Thoro” is an excellent example of the bass framework concept in beatmaking.Articles, Beatmaking, BeatTips, Drum Sounds and Drum Programming, Arranging, and Composing, Editor's Choice, Music Education, MusicStudy, Themes, Theories, and Concepts