Music involves the use of instruments to basically provide meaning to the lyrics by adding rhythm and melody which is literally music.
Knowing how each instrument works and its purpose in music is important because it helps us understand music as a whole, as well as the significance of instruments as parts that combine to make music.
This post will discuss the purpose of bass in music so we get a better understanding of the instrument and how it fits into the grand scheme which is music.
With that said, what is the point of bass?
The point of bass is to provide the low frequency foundation on which other instruments are laid. Bass holds the music together and provides support to drum instruments as well as other mid to high frequency sounds in order to complete a composition.
This is why it’s very easy to notice something missing when there’s no bass in a song.
Bass is often overlooked but it’s importance is paramount because of its ability to blend well and hold a track together.
Let’s get into more detail of the significance of bass in music so you get a better understanding of the instrument as well as music in general.
In the creation of music what’s more important than the individual elements that make up the full track is something called Frequency balance.
A song has to have low end, mid range and high range frequency information so that everything is balanced and full.
A song with incomplete frequency often times lacks the proper balance to sound full and you’ll probably notice this within a few listens.
This is is why musicians focus on picking the right instrumentation and building on it to make sure sounds have a place in the frequency spectrum.
Bass is an important instrument because it offers the low frequency energy that is needed to balance the frequency equation.
Which is low + mid + high.
Low frequency information is important because it drives the song as you’ve noticed in the many songs that you’ve listened to.
A song is never complete without bass just like it isn’t complete without mid and high range frequencies.
So the next time you compose. Slap a frequency analyser on the master channel and try to segment instruments into their frequency range.
This will help you understand music better and it will also allow you to know what may be missing.
I’ve found this technique quite useful in melody loop-making where the goal is to create a full composition that needs only a few additions like drums or leads.
In creating melodies, you can compose and leave space for people to add on their own sounds.
All in all, frequency analysis is important.
Bass is also vital in tieing drums together and allowing you to notice what may be missing in the drum elements you’re working with.
Stripping down a song to only leave the bass and the drums playing allows you to spot holes in your drum mix.
This is another reason why bass is so important.
Drum elements usually have to work with the bass. There has to be a blend of both these elements.
Which is why you’ll notice that bass guitarists record bass with drums playing or they may use another method.
Metronome is another way that bass can be recorded. Metronome provides with you tempo information and also allows you to get a general idea of how the drums would fit into the particular tempo.
Understanding this is important because drums and bass are key to each other as well as key to other instruments or musical elements.
Bass also offers or gives completion to a song. Most records cannot even be considered done if they don’t have any bass.
This is not a rule that has to be followed but its something that is easily noticeable.
Which is why almost all music out there has bass in it. if it doesn’t, then it has other instruments that provide the low end frequencies that are needed to hold the song together.
Having a complete song is vital which is why bass is rarely left out in most modern music.
Bass is also important because it provides the necessary grit that is needed to give a song or composition that heavy full feel.
The low end frequency information provided by bass is important because it provides the necessary reference point for all other instruments.
This is why I first talked about bass as the foundation for all other elements.
Bass provides the low frequency foundation which becomes the reference point for all other elements. It also holds and ties musical elements together while providing harmonic meaning to drum instruments as well as other mid to high frequency sounds present in a composition.