Listening to the bass notes

Appreciating more intricate forms of music, such as western classical or jazz, requires a trained ear. How does one learn to appreciate more intricate music, with all its melody, harmony and rhythm?

One way is to pay attention to every bass note in a musical piece. The bass is the foundation on which the rest of the instruments and vocals lay.  Bass is subtle, slips into the background and is easily drowned out. But by paying attention to the bass, we understand where the composer comes from. It gives us a means to understand the music from bottom up.

Communication is always more nuanced than whatever is on the surface. Apart from the words people say, there is tone, sentiment, context and body language. Listening merely to their words is analogous to transforming a symphony into elevator music – a hollow, incomplete experience.

A good listener is interested not merely in the words, but where they come from.

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