2 – Root Rhythm
Here the the bass generally sticks to the root note, but plays a more complex rhythmic pattern. This provides the low-end with movement, but nudges into more perceptively melodic territory.
It’s another traditional trance stalwart, but has seen many uses elsewhere.
Check out Lane 8’s ‘Be Mine’, where the bass plays the root note of the chord at the same time as most of the kick drum hits, but with a small rhythmic flourish at the end of each bar:
Adding some rhythmic interest and using MIDI velocity to alter filter cutoff:
We can get a little busier and embrace some chord changes:
And again adding delay…
Note how the delay repeats have little low-frequency content. This allows the effect to be used with a bass part without creating a low-end mess.
A classic example of this type of bass can be found in Inner City’s ‘Good Life’. There’s plenty of rhythmic movement, the notes generally follow the chords, and it does the same thing all the way through:
Of course, rules are there to be broken. Take Nathan Fake’s – ‘The Sky Was Pink’:
This follows the root much of the time, but sometimes changes the bass note early, so it holds off before making a change, creating tension and extra interest.
Another curio is Jamie Principle’s ‘Your Love’, introduced to the world by Frankie Knuckles. It starts with a repeating (ostinato) pattern and then for the chorus switches to 8th-note pulses tracking the root – a pattern more normally associated with stadium rock bass players (see ‘With Or Without You’ by U2 for a typical example):