Science Says: Bass Players Are More Important Than You Could Know

According to a new study, there are very important and powerful neurological reasons as to why we need bass. Danny passes this on from Mic.com:

Last year, researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, found that there’s a reason why bass lines tend to fill out the background of a song, leaving the theatrics to higher-pitched instruments. Our brains are far better suited to establishing a song’s rhythmic feel if they occur in lower tones.

Laurel Trainor, the study’s lead author, hooked up participants to an EEG to monitor brain activity while they heard simultaneous streams of two piano notes — one high-pitched, the other low-pitched. Every so often researchers played one of the notes fractions of a second too early. Participants were far better at recognizing these errors if they occurred in the bass notes. That same study also found that, if asked to tap their fingers along to this unpredictable stream of notes, subjects were much better at adjusting their tapping when the lower tones began to arrive early than they were if the same thing happened with the higher tones.

This shows just how influential a bass is in setting the whole rhythmic feel of a song. If we didn’t have some stoic individual holding down the low end, we all might be very lost in the music.

Read the whole thing here.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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