Bass is such an important part of music even though most people simply never talk about it enough.
One of the key functions of bass is to provide general direction to the entire track. But perhaps the most important function of bass is to provide the much needed low end frequencies that become the meat of a record.
Without bass we would simply end up with tracks that sounded light with no low end grit.
You may then wonder why bass is so overlooked. This is a valid thing to think about and this post will explore why bass is genrally overlooked by most.
With that said, let’s get right into it..
Why is bass overlooked?
Bass in a song lays the foundation on which other layers are built and drives the song. It is often overlooked because it is a low frequency instrument and not a lead instrument. The first thing people pay attention to when listening to any song are the mid to high frequency sounds like lead instruments which are usually the loudest.
Without the right sound system, most bass is not even audible but other mid to high frequency sounds can be easily heard. Which is why it is often times overlooked by many.
It takes a true musician to appreciate bass and know the importance of it.
Let’s get into the depths of why bass is overlooked..
Below are some of the reasons why bass is an overlooked instrument.
Its A Low Frequency sound
Bass is a low frequency instrument which means it only covers the low part of the frequency spectrum, as such, it has very little notable melodic properties.
It is for this reason that most people over look it because they focus too much on the higher frequency sounds of a record.
If you have come across a lead instrument, you obviously know that it is either an upper mid or high frequency instrument.
What makes it the leading instrument is its ability to stand out. Making it the most notable sound in the composition.
Bass being a low instrument isn’t really paid much attention to by the average listener because they’re too busy focusing on the leading instrument.
Therefore, bass is often overlooked because it is not a lead and it is not always meant to be catchy or as loud as other instruments.
Only a musician that understands the process of creating music and the importance of each and every instrument would truly appreciate a good bass.
Rarely the first priority in composition
In most composing work, bass is rarely the first priority. People often times begin their compositions with more mid or high range frequency sounds.
For example, a person making a song may start with a simple chord progression first in order to get the key right and the basics from which the whole song will be composed.
Bass is usually what will be recorded last because all it will do is just tie all elements together while following notes and keys already set out by the piano or keyboard melody or chord progression
This is one of the reasons why people overlook it.
The lead singer syndrome
Any band out there will always be remembered by their lead singer because they’re pretty much the voice of the band. This is another reason why bass players are overlooked as well as the instrument they play.
Only musicians take notice to things like bass. For the average listener, the song sounded great because of the lead singer.
With this kind of thought process, musicians have to therefore stay focused on the more notable elements like the drums, the vocals and the lead instruments like pianos and guitars.
Because they know that the average listener will barely catch the nuance that’s in the bass.
It is for this reason and others that bass is overlooked.
People pay more attention to the lead guitarist hitting a guitar solo because it’s more audible, entertaining and in front of other instruments.
The guy playing bass will simply be the guy playing bass and it’s rare that the average listener will acknowledge them.
Bass is hard to play
Bass is by far one of the most difficult instruments to play which is why there are few bass players out there.
It requires skill to master the sophistication that comes with bass.
This is why most people over look this instrument and simply stick to playing the root notes of the chord progression to make things easy.
The fact that there’s a shortage of people that actually know how to play bass is good indication that people know the time and effort it takes to learn how to play bas and just aren’t willing to put in the time to learn.
808’s are the new bass
808 bass has simply over taken traditional bass. Most modern music nowadays is characterised by heavy 808s.
For example, the sub genre of hiphop called trap mainly relies on the use of 808s..
This is one of the reasons why traditional bass players are overlooked In today’s music.
Rather than hiring a bass player people would rather use 808s.
The main reason for this is the digitization of music production as a whole.
Now more than ever it’s easy for anyone to get beat making software online and start composing.
808s don’t really demand for a lot of musical knowledge to make them sound good which is why it has become more preferred than traditional bass.