I am trying to add bass to this melody. A good style of doing bass is the following link - Ennio Morricone’s Once Upon A Time In The West. The first 60 seconds should give a clear demonstration of how that bass line was written. This bass line is simple, effective, very beautiful. One can’t write a simpler bass line than this. I think he basically just plays double octave bass line here. It sounds just fit the melody. Please see the attached score (my composition). I try to do the same, which is a double octave bass line. I used the chord root notes in the score. The result just doesn’t sound like a part of the melody. I think I got the chords right. I also tried to put each other note of the chords at the bass. It just doesn’t sound fit to the melody. I am puzzled. Where do you think I got it wrong? Does this particular style of bass line have a name? (so I can do a research on it) Thanks a lot.

Once Upon A Time In The West

my composition

1 Answer 1


Both of these are simply the root of the chord being played under a melody. The right hand melody implies the harmony by the melodic line and/or the harmonization. This has no specific name that I am aware of.

You have done pretty much the same thing as Morricone except without harmonizing the melody. Your implied harmony is Am G G Em Am Am Am Dm G Em G Am. However it can easily imply something else if you change either the melody or the bass notes in spots. There is really nothing wrong here. You just don’t really like what you came up with.

There are many other ways this melody can be harmonized but that is a subjective compositional choice. Experiment with the harmonic rhythm and different chords in spots. You might try using an E or E7 chord on the next to last bar of each line to give more of a feeling of cadence and resolution. Maybe use a G in bars 5 and 11 instead of going to E. These are subjective suggestions but they are meant to show you that you have options.

Use the melody as a constant and see if you can come up with a few different bass options, or change or embellish the melody if you wish. Composing is a process. Experiment and revise and see what works. Ultimately it is your choice.

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