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Ascending Bass Lines


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Ascending Bass Lines

Ascending bass line progressions are a type of moving bass line progression where the bass notes of each chord in the progression move higher typically following the "1-2-3-4," "2-3-4-5," "1-2-4-5", or "1-3-4-5," "1-#1-2-#2," "1-#1-2-5," and "1-2-b3-3" note bass lines. Ascending bass line progressions are popular with songwriters wishing to create a bright sound. Scott Joplin and other Ragtime writers frequently used the "IV-#IVo-V7" progression to brighten their songs. Some great popular music of the last century has been written around ascending bass line progressions such as Ain't She Sweet (1927), Ain't Misbehavin' (1929), Stormy Weather (1933), Oh What A Beautiful Morning (1943), I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair (1949), Like A Rolling Stone (1965), As Tears Go By (1966), I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone (1967), Love Is All Around (1968), Bend Me Shape Me (1968), Lean On Me (1972), Live And Let Die (1973), Slow Dancin' (1977), With A Little Luck (1978), My Life (1979), Key Largo (1982), Have I Told You Lately (1989), and Heart Of The Matter (1990). Three great examples of ascending bass lines are shown below in the key of C.

Ain't Misbehavin' (Fats Waller - 1929) opening A section progression
[1-#1-2-#2 chromatic pattern]

C / C#o7 / Dm7 / D#o7 / C/E / E7#5 / F6 / Fm6 /

Like A Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan - 1965) opening verse progression
[1-2-3-4-5 diatonic pattern]

C / Dm / Em / F / G / / / / / / /

Somewhere Out There (Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram - 1987) opening verse progression
[1-3-4-5 diatonic pattern]

Cadd9 / Cmaj7/E / Fmaj7 / G11 /

The Beatles used this progression to create the verse for their Here, There, and Everywhere. Click below for the best in free Ascending Bass Lines lessons available on the web as well as links to various song examples.


Ascending Augmented I-I+-I6-I7 Progressions (MoneyChords)
Chord Stream - I-ii-iii Progression (Olav Torvund)
Chord Stream - I-ii-iii-IV Progression (Olav Torvund)
Diminished Cliche I-#Io-IV-V Progressions (MoneyChords)
Rock Ballad I-iii-IV-V Progressions (MoneyChords)

Song Examples

Ain't Misbehavin' (MoneyChords)
Don't Get Around Much Anymore (MoneyChords)
Hotel California (MoneyChords)
Like A Rolling Stone (MoneyChords)

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