Here’s one of the easiest ways to introduce contrary motion into your bass melodies. Your melodies will sound more interesting. And, not a lot of bass players do it.
Make your bass melodies more interesting with contrary motion
Contrary motion, like Counterpoint, occurs when two melodies occur at the same time. These two melodies are also going in opposing directions.
One melody can be ascending. The other can be descending.
One melody can be fluctuating up and down, while the other remains headed in one direction.
When that happens, these melodies dance around each other and sound interesting.
Although this is a technique used by pianists, it can also used on the bass.
What I like is that you don’t have to be complex to get some interesting movement going on.
This works well whenever you are playing a phrase that is scalar in nature.
When you are playing something scalar, you can move in opposing directions on the bass with ease.
In the bass lesson video, I’ll show this using an Eb Minor 6th Diminished Scale. 6th Diminished Scales work really well for contrary motion. This is because there is a natural harmonic balance to the scale when it is being harmonized.
Here is the basic gist on how this works:
- Start out by playing the Eb Minor 6th Diminished Scale ascending, starting on the root.
- Then play the same scale descending starting on the root.
- Now play both melodies at the same time. You may need to work out your fingerings on your bass.
- Repeat steps 1-3, instead starting on a different degree of the scale.
- Explore having one melody go in one direction, while the other changes direction.
- Explore having one melody go in one direction, while the other stays within a range.
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Barry Harris’ concepts with 6th Diminished Scales sound very musical and are easy to apply on the bass. Check out this DVD on Amazon: Barry Harris: The Jazz Master Class Series From NYU