The walking bass / How to play the chords / ​​Applying this to a song

Review

Flavio mentions that the guitar is an instrument that can do several things at the same time. In this class, he shows us how to achieve an effect similar to the double bass pizzicato while maintaining a simultaneous chord accompaniment. He begins by showing different variants for the walking bass, always marking the 4 beats of the measure imitating the ‘Marcato in 4’. Then he clarifies: “The possibilities will change depending on whether the chord is major or minor. It will also change if there are 1 or 2 chords per measure.” He mentions 3 possibilities, which can then be adorned:

About the walking bass, he names 3 possibilities:

  • Successive notes: it consists of going up and down the scale playing a succession of diatonic notes without making jumps
  • Arpeggios: it consists of going up and down making jumps between the notes of the chords.
  • Combining both: it consists of combining both techniques at will.

About how to play the chords, he mentions 3 possibilities:

  • Whole note: the chord is played throughout the entire measure and sometimes even for 2 measures.
  • Syncopation: similar to the previous one, but it starts with an eighth note rest and then we play the chord on the off-beat.
  • Double syncopation: similar to the previous one, but applying syncopation after the 1st beat and the 3rd beat.

Towards the end of the class, Flavio shows us how to apply these tools in the context of a tango, taking “Los Mareados” as an example

Assignment

First, practise each and every one of the examples played by Flavio during class. Have you been able to do well on A and E? So now it’s time to try it on other chords, both major and minor. Here are some options: D and A; E and B; C and G. When you feel ready, apply this same technique to the song “Los Mareados” just as Flavio has done. Finally, choose another tango from the annex of this booklet and try to apply it on your own where you think it might sound nice!

Take it further

These musical resources can be heard in many works by Astor Piazzolla played on guitar, but keep in mind that they are not exclusive to him but are also present in the music of many other artists. We invite you to discover recordings where this occurs and share them in the student forum!

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