The slap bass in Seinfeld wasn’t recorded on a bass

I don't know what to believe in anymore

Christopher Hooton
Friday 27 May 2016 11:35

Sorry to ruin it for you, but that moustachioed man wearing sunglasses you imagine slapping the bass in between Seinfeld scenes doesn’t exist.

The sitcom theme was composed by Jonathan Wolff, who was also behind the music for Saved by the Bell, Who’s the Boss and more, and recorded on a keyboard using a bass tone.

In a wonderfully dated TV news segment (below), he can be seen playing the pretty avant-garde theme along to the show (at 2:10).

“I used the bass - that slap bass - as the primary melody of sorts for Seinfeld,” he explains. “It’s in an audio range which doesn’t interfere with Jerry and I can use it modularly to wind in and out of his lines.

Seinfeld’s opening centring around Jerry’s stand-up presented a challenge for Wolff, as instrumentation would have been distracting.

“I started with his voice,” he recalls. “I watched a lot of his comedy, I kind of took a metre from his delivery and made that the tempo of the Seinfeld film and I built the rest of the instruments around him.

“Instead of using trumpets and saxophones and guitars to play melodies, which might have interfered with this lead instrument, his voice, I gathered sounds from my mouth and I created this library of weird noises you can make with your tongue and they seemed to play along well with his voice.”

The Seinfeld theme remains iconic, and goes great with Kanye West speeches.

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