Repository logo

African rhythm as the foundation of contemporary bass performance

Faculty Advisor




bass playing, West African music, performance

Abstract (summary)

Jazz and contemporary bass playing is a varied and deeply elaborate landscape. If jazz, American popular music, Caribbean, and Latin musical genres are taken into consideration, the breadth of bass styles is too broad to encompass in one lifetime. However, when the roots and traditions of these styles are examined, many common musical devices appear. With even more examination, these musical qualities can be seen and linked to West African ancestry. In this thesis, I outline several of these qualities and demonstrate these concepts from the perspective of modern bass performance. As well, I discuss the core rhythms in contemporary bass playing that have been retained from West African music. In conclusion, I present a handful of practical practice exercise to aid the bassist in internalizing some of the concepts discussed in the thesis. With such a broad topic it is clear to me that, while I present a unique perspective on contemporary bass performance, the study of African retention in bass performance goes far beyond the scope of a master’s thesis. It is my goal to open a gateway to a new awareness on the roots of contemporary bass playing and aid the bassist to build an authentic and profound connection to the ancestry of the art form.

Publication Information

de Toledo, R. (2018). African rhythm as the foundation of contemporary bass performance (Master's thesis). University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



Item Type





All Rights Reserved