If you play bass then you are used to being treated like the most UNimportant member of the band! We normally assume that this is because other members of the band are driven by their egos and not what the music is capable of accomplishing for the audience. However, it turns out that it is so much more than that. In fact, a new study that was conducted at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario explains WHY bass is the most important instrument for the audience to listen to! They say that the low-frequency information that only bassists provide are important to the listeners for these reasons:
The most vital rhythmic information comes from the bass.
The study indicates that listeners can more easily detect these low-pitched tones better than the higher-pitched ones. This is why the timing is most often encoded into this sound because it is present in these lower tones.
These-lower pitched tones is why rhythm is assigned to bass playing.
This complements any high-pitched tones produced by singers and guitarists. Without it, all you hear is wailing!
Listeners groove to the bass more so than they do to the guitar riffs and vocals.
That’s because the auditory spectrum is multi-voiced and although the most important melodic information is carried by the highest voice (vocals and guitar), the most rhythmic information is supplied by the lowest voice (bass).
With that said, it’s important that bassists in any band feel good about their contributions to the music because we all know that they are rarely given the accolades that they deserve. In fact, the bassist is usually the most “replaceable” member and yet, those who get rid of a great bassist soon learn to miss the groove that they provided and often notice that their audience participation is sacrificed by constantly replacing this member of the band.