acoustic/electric bass scoring

• Mar 15, 2018 - 15:27

I'm an organist, but recently I've had the chance to play piano with bass players. Though, so far, ones who don't read music, so I can't ask them this. And I'm wondering if a bass player (electric or double bass), who does read music, can answer a query.
I've attached a sample of how I'd score the bass for organ, placing the bass notes in the usual playing range for an organ. Specifically a single-octave pedalboard. Though a player with a double-octave pedalboard would usually be playing most simple bass accompaniment in the same range, mostly ignoring the next octave up, unless they needed to go into it to do a bass walks, or other fancier bass playing.
Would a bass player expect the bass notes (i.e. the usual bass notes they'd play to accompany common chords) to be written in the same position in the staff as my example, or in a different octave?

Attachment Size
bass-scoring.png 74.72 KB


In reply to by xavierjazz

Yes, I'd looked into that, but not found the bit I was really after, about which part of the instruments range the players would normally use (answered by the respondent, above).
For instance, in my case organ players will normally play chords very close to middle C, likewise for the melody, though the voicing involved may mean that you put your hands elsewhere on the keyboard (e.g. play melody using a voice with its fundamental sounding one octave below piano-pitch middle C, and put your hands one octave up). And we'd play the bass as I scored, but the pedalvoice may use a voice that sounds an octave lower, though probably uses two voices (one as written, plus one lower, together).

In reply to by Anonymous

Thanks, useful information. Would a bass player without a low-enough string just play a higher C on the fly, being used to seeing things like that, or say it's scored wrong?
As an organist who usually only has a single-octave pedalboard, I'm used to having to wrap around, and always play the same F, for instance, whatever octave it's written in the score. C is the only bass note that I can chose to play high or low.
It does mean that if I want to have an ascending or descending bass pattern in part of a tune, that doesn't wrap around, I'll have to transpose the score slightly, so I can get all the notes in.
The bass players that I've been playing with don't read music, and as yet I haven't found out at what point those playing root/fifth alternating bass, or root/third/fifth patterns, will change where in the range they play. Which is obviously going to be different if you go down to the fifth versus up to it (depends on the pattern you're playing).

Mar 16, 2018 - 06:19

In reply to by Tim Seifert

I wouldn't say that it is "scored wrong" except for standard tuned 4-string bass. Besides a 5-string, you can set up a 4-string a fifth below using B-E-A-D. These deeper sounds may open up more organ scores and create some interesting sympathies, or possibly free up the foot to do other things.

In reply to by Anonymous

It has been interesting to play with other musicians, I only ever used to play the organ solo, only a couple of times with a real drummer (which is way better than the mechanical soulless drum units), and a couple of times with a guitarist. I usually did somewhat relatively fancy footwork, but throwing your leg about is a lot harder work than a bassist using their fingers. Some of their playing is just stunning.
But it's been piano that I've been playing with other musos, it's a thing where they only allow acoustic instruments, so I'm having to learn an unfamiliar instrument (you definitely play the two differently)

In reply to by mike320

Although I've read about C extensions, the two double bass players I've played with weren't using one, though I've never thought to ask them about it. I have asked a couple of times about the range of the instrument, and got a quick demo that was a bit to quick to follow in a busy moment, though I gather that some of the highest notes are very awkward to play and very unusual.
It occurred to me, after I'd last posted, that when I started the topic mentioning "acoustic/electric bass," that acoustic bass can mean double bass and the acoustic bass guitars. I've only tried playing with double bass players so far. I've been there when acoustic bass guitar players were doing their thing, but they don't have much loudness.
Their double basses are four string, I can't remember what the acoustic bass guitar was.

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