- Feb 5, 2020
- Oxford, England
I don't know if you see a lot of live concerts, but most classical and at least our folk music has bass. It's not always present in recordings, but it's there live. A contrabass goes low, as low as an electric bass goes and a classical pipe organ goes way lower than any string based bass, or even most synths can. And there are also tuba's and bassoons that play bass parts also in a classica orchestra... Bass does not have to be real low subbass to make people dance, but lower subbass works the best.
In our Belgian folk it's mostly (traditionally) a bombardon (in the US called a Helicon and the orignial of a sousaphone) or a tuba and it's ancestors that gives the bass. Since the 1930's a contrabass is also used a lot in it's place, as it's easier to use. Other folk music is probally similar, certainly in Europe.
And carribean music has bass, even the old mento, nyabinghi and calypso records from the 1940's and 1950's that i have have it, mostly done with a contrabass (standing bass), a tuba or a bombardon or sousaphone. And if there are drums but no bass, the kickdrum (or equivalent) is what the people dance to. Son, bata and cuban rumba orchestra's always have a contrabass in their line up. percussion (drum or others) and contrabass are the base of those orchestra, while the other instruments can be a lot (whatever was availeble probally). In traditional african music they also got bass instruments. A kora (used by the mande and fula people in west africa) can go very low. And you also got dedicated bass instruments like the karindula (Congo/Zambia), the bass molo (Ghana), bass akonting (Senegal/Gambia), ...
And i was actually talking about more modern music, that is played by dj's in clubs, parties and festivals where dances are not traditonal rituals but a personal and free expression on the music played.
I understand that. But dance music is not just disco/club music. There's people dancing to traditional music on town-halls and cultural centres and even traditional dance music festivals.
Some of it is played on a single violin, sometimes a tambourine is the only percussion instrument.
The study tests the effect of sub-bass (<40Hz). And most recordings of non-electronic music don't have any information below 30Hz.
Bass instruments are now more readily available and you see gipsy bands playing electric bass or fado accompanied by a double-bass. In my view it's not really necessary or necessarily good. I see it a bit like adding ketchup to a langoustes thermidor dish... But it makes it more palatable to the masses who grew up to the electronic boom-boom, and that is important in a profit-driven world.