Bassline in E Dorian

Bassline in E Dorian

I don’t play bass so I’d appreciate any advice from anyone who does. I play flute & for what I’m asking about I’ll be playing with a bass player; & other melody players. I’d like examples of a few E dorian tunes* which I can play for her so she might be able to hear how a dorian melody sounds, get the tune/the mode/the key in her head, & work up a bassline. Any additional information about the tune(s), such as a particular settings or link to an audio recording, would also be appreciated.

That’s about it for now. I’ll check back when I can. For the sake of full disclosure I do play sessions with the bassist (she also sings & plays whistle).

*Other dorian tunes will work if you want to use any of those … A dorian, C dorian, etc.

Thank you,
Na éisc

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

A lot progress between eminor and d major, for e use e and b, for d major use d and a, but try and work out the chord progressions for each individual tune, Morrisons Jig, Drowsy Maggie.

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oops .. I probably meant D dorian but I’ll take any dorian key if you think the bass play will enjoy hearing it & working up a bass accompaniment.

Na E ;)

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Cheers, John. I don’t know if this makes any difference & that’s why I’m hoping for a few responses from bass players. But I want to do some of this with only the melody & bassline. In other words no one will actually being playing chords. I understand what you’re saying about the chords but wanted to mention that one detail.

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Possibly an over-simplistic answer, but it may help:

Taking Cooley’s Reel as an example E-Dorian tune, if I were backing it on guitar these are the chords which I would use:

|: Em Em | Em Em | D D | D D |
Em Em | Em Em | D D | D Em|
|: Em Em | Em Em | D D | D D|
Em Em | Em Em | D D | D Em :|

Translating this into a bass part, your bassist could follow the above, but instead of playing the chord in each case, just play the first and fifth note of it.

As I said, possibly over-simplistic. But it should work, and could be a starting point for a more adventurous bass line.

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Ben-if you listen to some good guitar backers you’ll here them playing bass lines in many cases. What mix said holds true up to a point, but usually the root -fifth thing sounds better if interrupted with "walking bass" lines eg-from Em to D might go |E D C# B| A F# E D| or something like that. Does your bass player read dots? If so, if you want to PM me with a list of specific tune settings I would be glad to write out some bass parts for you.

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

When I teach "the Dorian sound" I usually use the melody for "Scarborough Fair" as the example.

But if your bass player needs to be spoon-fed chord changes to Cooley’s, you’re probably better off without a bass player!

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

It’s not trad, but this was a terrific explanation of the concept of walking bass lines in a jazz/blues context from Dave Frank:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyRdNAMfYH4


There are several parts to the video. All of Dave’s vids that I’ve seen are great. Loved the "Free at Last: Playing Inside and Outside" video.

Re: Bassline in E Dorian ~ Cooley’s Reel

This is responding to Mixolydian’s post. There were a few incoming messages while I was typing.

For her I’m sure it’s overly simplistic. And I do hope she’ll do a bit of exploring & have some adventure. Which is what my OP is for. But it might help with something rolling around in my head. So, just to see if "I’m" getting the basics

Lately, when I don’t have an instrument handy, I’ve been thinking in solfegio & singing tunes in syllables.
So the Em arpeggio would be
re-fa-la-re
the first & fifth; re-la

D arpeggio
do-mi-so-do
1st & 5th; do-so

Mixolydian if that makes sense would Cooley’s Reel go;

re-la re-la | re-la re-la | do-so do-so | do-so do-so |
re-la re-la | re-la re-la | do-so do-so | do-so re-la|
… ?

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Ben-your solfeggio is correct, however if the bass is playing root-fifth it might sound better w/only two notes per measure i.e half-notes re2-la2|re2-la2|etc

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

5stringfool, cheers & yes she has the root-5 bit & I’m hoping to hear a little more walking bass. Sorry I didn’t make that clear in the O.P. She doesn’t read sheet music but I’d appreciate whatever you might have. I can work with abcs or sheet music in any clef. & I’ll pass along what I can for my bass player.

Jason, the Dave Frank instruction is a good introduction. I watched part one about the stepwise connecting roots & then just the first bit of part two. I’ll watch everything when I have more time. It all makes perfect sense. I thought about Scarborough Fair (& Cooley’s for that matter) but what I’m more interested in for the sake of this discussion are Irish "tunes" in dorian mode which bass players have had fun playing "walking" basslines. The basics are appreciated but I don’t think it should define what I’m expecting from the responses in this discussion or limit what I hope to work on with my bassist.

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"Ben-your solfeggio is correct, however if the bass is playing root-fifth it might sound better w/only two notes per measure i.e half-notes re2-la2|re2-la2|etc"

I was thinking as much. I need to get off the computer & out of this coffee shop to expend some energy. My re-las are multiplying with each cup of java.

😉

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Without being asked for my opinion… I find this dumb 1st - 5th thing a bit unnecessary and annoying… just like the snare drums in ceilidh bands! Seriously though, some walking up and down can be quite nice. As you are asking for dorian lines in particular, I’d suggest to make extensive use of this mode’s special feature, i.e. the leading note to the subtonic.

Wait, I’ll fetch my bass… 😎

Say, the typical |: Em -D :| progression
E,4 B,4 | E,4 B,4 | D4 A4 | D4 A4 :|
could be played like
E,4 B,4 | E,3E BAB^C | D4 A,4 | D3A, DB,^CD :|
… something like this. I’d play it like this anyway. Better bassists would probably slap some funky arpeggios for a change…

Re: Funky, Walkin’ Bassline in Dorian Mode

Thanks for fetching the bass, metapop. That sounded good even w/out the full funk on. It’s looking like we’ll be starting w/Cooley’s.
The responses are great so far. However, if anyone wants to move beyond 2 chord E dorian reels that would be grand too.
😀

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

I found what might be a good reference for my friend if she wants to read a straightforward & simple description of the dorian mode. I’m sure she’ll want more information so I’m thinking about showing her the following link. It relates more to the mode than accompaniment but I think it might be helpful. Especially about things to listen for in dorian (& minor) tunes.

http://www.mandolincafe.com/niles.html
The Modes Made Easy

The modes are really nothing mysterious… Modes are to scales what inversions are to chords. That’s one way of thinking of them; another is to think of them as alterations of either the major or minor scales.
..
Dorian Mode - Natural Minor altered with a raised 6th.

D Dorian = D E F G A B-natural C D.

Dorian mode is often used interchangeably with the minor scale at the musician’s discretion. A characteristic of a tune in dorian is a IV(major) chord. Im - IV- Vm.

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

More and more folk these days are chording Cooley’s with a CC instead of a DD, ie

|: Em Em | Em Em | D D | D D |
Em Em | Em Em | C C | D Em|

instead of :

|: Em Em | Em Em | D D | D D |
Em Em | Em Em | D D | D Em|

Just an observation.

Re: correction ^

One change in my post above,
"I’m sure she’ll want more information so I’m thinking about showing her the following link."
I meant to say,
"I’m thinking about showing her the following link to get her started, though I’m sure she’ll be wanting additional information."

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Jim Dorans, thanks for mentioning that. I was following on with Cooley’s Reel since it was used as example early on & we rarely play it in our session. With that I hadn’t played the reel after it was suggested. When I have my flute with me I’ll sort how we play it.

I am hoping to start off with at least one E dorian tune. We will be working on tunes in other modes, pentatonic, ambiguous, etc. So Cooley’s will get played in any case. I just don’t want to be playing a tune, saying it’s E Dorian, & it’s not.

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Technically, Worldfiddler, playing the C pushes it towards the aeolian mode as there is no Cnat in dorian.
I will use a Cmaj7 chord as a sub for the emin every now and then which always gets a happy look from my fiddlers.
Regarding moving bass lines, listen to the playing of John Doyle backing a tune, you can really hear him playing a bass line melody while moving chords around.

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

How about the reel "Tie the Bonnet" played in E dorian? I’ve been listening to different recordings. I like what I’m hearing & definitely want to learn it as it’s not a tune I’ve played before.

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

"Dorian mode is often used interchangeably with the minor scale at the musician’s discretion. A characteristic of a tune in dorian is a IV(major) chord. Im - IV- Vm."
True enough,but in Irish trad the VII major chord(D Maj in E dorian) is far more common than the IV chord and especially in identifying the mode from the chords . The III major chord is,in my experience also more common in Irish tunes than the IV.
As far as interchanging modes at the musician’s discretion,that’s for melody players. Backers,including bass players have to be a bit more careful and attentive to the melody players in this regard as in all others.
Ben-if you have a specific setting of Tie the Bonnet that you want to learn send me the ABC’s(or dots) and I’ll have a bass line for you in a day or two-Steve

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

5stringfool, there’s the rub, what you’re saying about the choice of chords as described in the mandolincafe link. It’s one of the things I didn’t like about it. Though I’m thinking many accompanists listen in terms of minor & major & if they’re listening particularly for that what might help is this bit ~ "Dorian Mode - Natural Minor altered with a raised 6th."

Thanks for offering a bassline with "Tie the Bonnet". But it’s not necessary as I’m not yet sure how I’ll end up playing the reel, much less coming up with a transcription. I still want/need to listen to a few versions. When searching for recordings I’m finding the reel a.k.a "Upstairs in a Tent" but listed as "recording of a tune by this name".
The one I am searching for is the 3rd one in this Lúnasa set - "Tie The Bonnet"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfIeuJbDKqw&t=1m42s

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

The guy I succeeded in my first ceilidh/barn dance band had no idea about bass-playing, but had the ambition to be a fiddle-player, so he played, or tried to play, the tunes. Not a great idea, most of the time.
I had been a guitar-player for some years, so I was well acquainted with both the chording, and the idea of tonic/5th alternation, with the odd passing or walking note. And was quickly accepted into the band.
Personally I wouldn’t go far to hear a band playing for tune listening with a bass player. On the other hand, in a dance band, I see the point immediately.

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Here’s a bassline that I just put together for Cooley’s-

X: 1
T: Cooley’s
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
Q: 140
K: Emin
||D,2|E,2z2 (B,4 | z8) |D,2F,2 G,2F,2|D,2F,2 G,E,F,D,|
E,4 B,2z2|z2 A,B, D,4|A,2^c,z G,3F,|G,E,F,D, E,2|
|D,2|E,4 B,2 (E,2|z4) B,A,G,E,|D,2F,2 G,2F,2|D,2F,2 G,2F,D,|
E,2zA, B,2 z2|z2 A,B, D,4|A,2^c,z G,3F,|G,E,F,D, E,2|
||d,^c,|B,4 B,^c,d,B,|B,zE,2 B,A,F,E,|D,6 zD,|D,6 ^c,d,|
B,zE,2- E,F,G,A,|B,4 z2F,G,|A,2^c,z G,3F,|G,E,F,D, E,2|
|d,^c,|B,zE,2- E,F,G,A,|B,zE,2 B,A,F,E,|D,3E, D,3A,|D,3E, D,2^c,d,|
B,zE,2- E,G,B,E,|B,4 D,E,F,G,|A,2^c,z G,3F,|G,E,F,D, E,2||

I was thinking that Cooley’s was on John Whelan’s "Celtic Root (Spirit Of Dance)"-

https://thesession.org/recordings/949

But apparently I really did make that up. There’s bass playing on all of the tracks on that one and several are in Dorian.

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

To take my example around again, you might try-

||D,2|E,2z2 B,3E, | B,6 G,F, |D,2F,2 G,2F,2|D,2F,2 G,E,F,D,|
E,2z2 B,4-|B,2 A,B, D,4|A,2^c,z G,3F,|G,E,F,D, E,2|
|D,2|E,2z2 B,3 E,|B,4- B,A,G,E,|D,2F,2 G,2F,2|D,2F,2 G,2F,D,|
E,2zA, B,2 z2|B,2 A,B, D,4|A,2^c,z G,3F,|G,E,F,D, E,2||

With plenty of room for variance all the way through.

(FYI- I’m not a bassplayer, only a virtual bassplayer, so I hope the phrasing isn’t too awkward for those that actually play the thing - what would I do without midi!)

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Cheers, mrkelahan. I did the same to give a virtual listen to your rendition. I ran the MIDI w/acoustic bass
< %%MIDI program 32 > & dropped everything one octave.

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Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Though mostly on piano, a lot of bass on this one, also-

https://thesession.org/recordings/1580

Most of the tunes are played in minor, but great contrast to dorian for Winnie Hayes’ on track 8.

Not sure about Cooley’s and Emin vs. Edor - since Em and Dmaj are there for both, might have put it in Emin to ensure the reader takes note that all the c’s are #? I left it in Emin, but would arrange like it was in Edor.

Hope the bassline sounded alright.

Re: Bassline in E Dorian

Try some recordings with Felix Dolan and listen to his left hand. Similarly, you could listen to Kathleen Collins’ Traditional Music of Ireland recording with piano accompaniment by James Mahon.