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Composing Archives

Writing Songs with The Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Writing Songs with The Bass

Q: I have a battle going on in my writing and wondered if you had words of wisdom for any that share this with me. I find that I can almost always be a “groove generator” and respond quickly to a drummer’s groove or drum loop – within a style, I am comfortable – with some sort of groove, riff...

Should I Be Afraid of Breaking the Rules of Harmony When Composing?
Ask Damian Erskine

Should I Be Afraid of Breaking the Rules of Harmony When Composing?

Q: I have been playing bass for others for years but when it comes to writing my own music I constantly question myself about the rules. I understand if it sounds good play it but, “what key could this be and, can I play a dominant 7 here, and will it still be in a key?” (In the musical rulebook)...

How To Approach Composing: A Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Approach Composing: A Discussion for Bass Players

Q: I’m in a situation where I’m in a cover band that is wanting to expand into doing original music, but they’re kind of looking to me to be the one to lead the writing as I have the most experience as far as music knowledge goes. Even though I’m well versed in my theory and consider myself an above...

Notion Music Introduces Progression 2.0 Composition Software
Apps

Notion Music Introduces Progression 2.0 Composition Software

Notion Music has released Progression 2.0, the latest version of their composition software for bass, guitar and drums. New features include a more intuitive interface, desktop/iPad compatibility, and real instrument sounds for playback including bass samples by Victor Wooten. Other real samples are provided by guitarist Neil Zaza and drummer Roy “Futureman” Wooten. Progression 2.0’s ability to work on multiple...

Stuck On A Song: How to Finish that Composition
Ask Damian Erskine

Stuck On A Song: How to Finish that Composition

Q: I’m struggling with some new compositions. I have some solid parts I like, but overall I feel that the melody or changes (or both) don’t work everywhere in the tune. It also feels that it may need more movement. How do you approach fine-tuning a tune? A: While I have written and arranged music, most of my experience is...

Lesson: Building an Improvised Composition for Solo Bass with a Looping Device
Bass Lessons

Lesson: Building an Improvised Composition for Solo Bass with a Looping Device

One exciting way of use a looping device with your bass is to enhance a composition. A recorded phrase can become a backbone over which to improvise. For example, a phrase can take the form of a tapped rhythm (e.g. using muted strings), a short rhythmic phrase lasting only one or two bars or a longer phrase dependent on your...

Ask Damian Erskine, Columns

Ask Damian Erskine: Harmony and Composing

Q: How do you approach writing a harmony once a melody has been composed? And how do you make sure the harmonic progression works in the way you like it? I assume it’s not just trial and error! A: Admittedly, I’m a newbie when it comes to real composition and yes, it had largely been trial and error. Half of...