New study reveals which band member is the most important
by Jeremy Mersereau
March 1, 2017
Now we finally know which member of your average rock band is punching above their weight.
Thanks to new research from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we now have a definitive answer to the eternal question… at least, the one most debated by most of the world’s long-haired narcissists: which member of your standard rock band is the most crucial?
According to PNAS, it’s the bassist.
“When two streams of tones are presented simultaneously, the brain better detects timing deviations in the lower-pitched than in the higher-pitched stream,” says the study, ensuring that the world’s bassists egos will be stoked by telling them what they already knew: that they’re the essential bedrock of their bands’ sound. Lower frequencies indicate “better timing encoding for lower-pitched compared with higher-pitch tones at the level of auditory cortex.”
Thanks to PNAS, we now know that, more than any other instrument, bass rhythms are more important to getting you to headbang, dance, or nod along. Or, in egghead-speak: “the low-voice superiority effect for encoding timing explains the widespread musical practice of carrying rhythm in bass-ranged instruments and complements previously established high-voice superiority effects for pitch and melody.” Uh huh.
So, the next time you see this guy and want to laugh, just remember: he’s more important than Chick Corea there, and that’s why he’s making that face.