Gospel School: Shout Bass Lines: Walking on the I-IV Chord Progression

music notation for a gospel piano shout bass line

Shout Music makes me think of one word: JOY! And learning how to shout requires fluency with a variety of shout bass lines…

Here are some “bread & butter” shout bass lines on the I-IV chord progression in the key of C…

Gospel Shout Bass Line Variation 1


Pattern Appreciation: Don’t try to “memorize” this. Remember: Study first, practice second! That said, the pattern is not at as complicated as it seems. The “target note” C (Do) is always approached with three note chromatic pickups, either ascending or descending. F (Fa) is a bit different: While it can be approached chromatically from below, this just doesn’t sound right approached from above. The smoothest sounding-feeling approach is Mixolydian scale-wise. This is just one of those things you learn by experience and by trusting your ears above all else.


Technique Tip: The proper way to walk is to drop the weight of your arm-hand into each note. Try to sound like a bass player thumping out juicy, round, big, fat notes.

Gospel Shout Bass Line Variation 2

Here we just exchanged the ascending line with the descending line and vice versa…


Rhythmic Conception and Interpretation: Feel each chorus as coherent 2-bar and 4-bar ideas, not as isolated notes or four-note segments that end at the bar lines.

Gospel Shout Bass Line Variation 3

A tasty hybrid of variations 1 and 2…


Can you think of some other ways to connect the chord tones?

learn more… Practice Tracks: Shout Drums

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