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Bass guitar

Bass guitar – noun

An electrically amplified musical instrument having four or more heavy strings, held like a guitar and usually played by plucking or striking the strings with the hand.

Notes: Also called electric bass or simply bass. Will usually come in two different types: jazz bass or precision bass.

With its heavier and longer body, its thicker strings, and low octave, the bass can deliver some very deep sounds perfect for any grooving session. The bass guitar is known for being the background melody of any song but in dance music such as disco, R&B and funk, the bass becomes a main instrument. Many disco bands have their entire sound rooted in their bass lines. These are often characterized by repetitive chords, strong accents on beats of the measures, and playing with octaves in a highly rhythmic fashion. The addictive bass lines were arguably what saved disco in the 70’s, a xenophobic decade for the USA, when it was stigmatized by radio stations who would rather play pop and rock. While pop was popular with radio stations and rock was popular thanks to concerts, disco was only played at nightclubs which were most often frequented by people of colour and LGBT people. The movie Saturday Night Live and artists such as Donna Summer cemented disco as a music genre that would last a long time. Many disco bass lines have inspired new artists such as Bruno Mars or Daft Punk, and even music genres. House music (electronic dance music with a very fast tempo) and hip-hop, for example, both featured heavy samples of disco bass lines in their first worldwide hits, and to this day still rely greatly on bass samples.

Some important disco bass players include Bootsy Collins (P-Funk), Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire), and Bernard Edwards (Chic).

"bass guitar." American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company 29 Oct. 2020 https://www.thefreedictionary.com/bass+guitar (consulted 10/29/20)

https://www.shsu.edu/~lis_fwh/book/hybrid_children_of_rock/Disco2.htm (Consulted 10/29/20)

Music > Music instruments

Written for ‘’Terminologie et mondialisation’’ class given at Concordia University.

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