Jazz School: Mixolydian Tonality: Walking Bass Lines

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A great way to outline the harmony and keep the time flowing in a swing context is to play a walking bass line

…typically played as a relentless string of quarter notes… where the primary chord tones (1,3,5,b7) tend to fall on strong beats and where these chord tones are connected by diatonic passing tones or approached with a three-note chromatic pickup.

Here are two commonly-used variations for your consideration…

Mixolydian Tonality Walking Bass, Variation #1…

Performance Suggestion: Don’t try to play these lines legato. Give each note a pleasing thump as if you are playing a standup bass!


Mixolydian Tonality Walking Bass, Variation #2…

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As always, do not merely memorize these patterns. Use what you know to internalize them by ear, intellect, eye, and muscle in as many keys as you expect to play in. Enjoy!

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