When we speak of “bass”, we think mainly of the double bass, the bass player in a band, or perhaps the thudding and occasionally breath-taking boom-boom that’s so common in pop music. Bass is a topic that’s long been sung about: by musicians ranging from Ella Fitzgerald in Slap that Bass (“If I can only get me / someone to slap that bass / happiness is not a riddle / when I‘m listening to that / big bass fiddle”) to the Beastie Boys in Body Movin’ (“And if you ask me to turn up the bass”) and on to US pop singer Meghan Trainor in her hit All about that bass.
But on the following pages, we’ll show you how bass is actually so much more—for example as a key element in composition, as a type of sound that can represent power or make us feel secure, and as the range inhabited by a staggering number of (frequently little-known) instruments. We’ve also included a portrait of the important double bassist Ludwig Streicher and his central influence on double bass playing. Expansive as this topic might be, it’s the succinct words of German rapper Das Bo that sum it up best: “Wir brauchen Bass!” [We need bass!]
Articles from this special