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  • blainepatricksmith

Fathom the Deeps

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

In life, we note the highs. We remember the mountains for their peaks. We are awed by the heights a singer's voice can reach. But it's the deeps that anchor us. We experience the grandeur of the peaks by looking up to them from below in the valleys.

It's the bass line of a song that most often thrums at our inner selves. Would we remember Queen and David Bowie's Under Pressure without that bass riff? (And to a lesser and more guilty-pleasure extent, Ice Ice Baby?) Would Bach's Cello Solo #1 in G Major sound as powerfully mournful and hauntingly lifting on a smaller, higher instrument, a violin or viola even?

The bass clef is what adds gravitas and weight to what would otherwise be soaring above. The heart and head may respond to the highs of the treble clef. But we feel the bass in our bodies. We feel it pound in our chests, thump in our bones, and rumble up from the soles of our feet. Sometimes we don't even notice it, but the bass is the base of the melody. That foundation carries the weight and moves the music forward like a freight train of composition, slowly chugging away.

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