By Shannon Frost Greenstein

Bass players, you can finally step into the limelight.

Too long have you been relegated to the back of the stage.  Too long have you stood in the shadows of guitarists and singers.  You’ve been saying since the invention of the bass guitar that you’re just as important, that you’re necessary, and now, science has proven that that is indeed the case.

More than that, science has proven that the bass player is actually the most vital member of the entire band!

According to a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencespeople are more perceptive to the lower-pitched notes from a bass, as opposed to the higher-pitched sounds from other instruments.  Additionally, our brains are better at catching mistakes or incorrect notes when the notes are lower.

In lower tones, people are more likely to find the rhythm and tap out the beat with their fingers or feet.  The study finds that our brains are better at detecting timing deviations in the lower-pitched than in the higher-pitched streams.

So what does all this mean?  It means it’s the bass, more than anything else, which conveys the rhythm; it is the backbone of the song.  You think a certain tune is catchy?  It’s likely because of the bass line, to which our ears are more receptive than guitar riffs or vocals.

So, the next time you find yourself overlooking the bass player of your favorite band, remind yourself that your enjoyment of the music rests entirely on his or her shoulders.  No pressure, bassists.


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