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bass_dinger

Your Love Keeps Lifting me Higher - why does one riff work over the whole song?

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Listening to this song, I heard that the chords were changing throughout the song - D, G, Em.  However, each chord gets the same bass riff . 

Is there a musical explanation for why this static one-bar bassline works over three different chords?  

 

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You can use different chords over a constant bass line if and when the chords ‘contain’ the same notes that the bass line is using.

I’d have to talk to or write the the book for you to explain better...sorry but I couldn’t clarify it in print here. It isn’t complicated and its all part of harmony and theory of music.

Edited by mybass
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Things become a bit clearer (well, hopefully) if you 'add together' the harmony from the bass and the guitar at each point in the progression:

D major with a D in the bass is pretty obvious.

G major with D in the bass (the A and B notes fit nicely with the G chord as they're the major 2nd and major 3rd, giving a sort of major pentatonic flavour) = G/D, a G major chord in 2nd inversion.

E minor with D in the bass (the A and B work because they're the 4th and 5th of the E minor chord, totally allowable notes to play) = Em/D, and Em7 chord in 3rd inversion.

Everything here is still very much inside the home key of D major - the last chord gives some interesting intervals but our ears accept it because of the nice resolution when the progession moves back to D major.

This trick of static bass notes under changing chords crops up all over the place, off the top of my head Ozzy Osbourne's 'Crazy Train', Free 'Alright Now', Van Halen 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love' and AC/DC 'Highway To Hell' all contain examples of this.

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11 hours ago, TKenrick said:

Things become a bit clearer (well, hopefully) if you 'add together' the harmony from the bass and the guitar at each point in the progression:

 

Thank you.  It makes more sense now. 

I also see that there are only two major chords - D and G.  The C chord is missing (perhaps substituted by the Em, which might be considered as an altered C maj 7 chord?).  Maybe the C chord would have worked less well with the riff? 


 

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54 minutes ago, bass_dinger said:

Thank you.  It makes more sense now. 

I also see that there are only two major chords - D and G.  The C chord is missing (perhaps substituted by the Em, which might be considered as an altered C maj 7 chord?).  Maybe the C chord would have worked less well with the riff? 


 

Its also to do with the notes in the melody line being sung.

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Having done this live it's really tricky to  keep the line solid and in the pocket while also getting the fills in the right places. But a fun one to play.

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I found it impossible to play whilst singing the backing vocals.

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I find it (almost) impossible to play whilst singing backing vocals for anything!

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On 31/12/2020 at 10:43, bass_dinger said:

Thank you.  It makes more sense now. 

I also see that there are only two major chords - D and G.  The C chord is missing (perhaps substituted by the Em, which might be considered as an altered C maj 7 chord?).  Maybe the C chord would have worked less well with the riff? 


 

A C chord would have sounded rather odd with the riff. As we're in the key of D major, there wouldn't normally be a C major chord; you might expect to see A major, as that's the only other possible major chord that can be built from the D major scale.

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6 hours ago, Kirky said:

I found it impossible to play whilst singing the backing vocals.

Yes! Our singer gave it the heave ho from our set, because it really needs that bv line and I couldn't get it. 

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