Bass (IPA: , rhyming with "face"), when used as an adjective, describes tones of low frequency. Played in an ensemble/orchestra such notes are frequently used to provide a counterpoint or counter-melody, in an harmonic context either to outline or juxtapose the progression of the chords, or with percussion to underline the rhythm. In popular music the bass part usually provides harmonic and rhythmic support, usually playing the root or fifth of the chord and stressing the onbeats.
As a noun, a bass is a musical instrument or singer with a low range. As an instrument, it can be:
- an abbreviated name for double bass (this is usually the instrument referred to as a "bass" in Classical music and jazz. Sometimes called a "string bass" to differentiate it from a "bass horn".)
- an abbreviated name for bass guitar (this is usually the instrument referred to as a "bass" in rock & roll)
- a bass horn, such as a tuba or sousaphone-- a wind instrument that fulfills a role similar to a string bass
- an abbreviated name for bass clarinet, bass trombone, bass saxophone, etc (less common usage)
For the term as it applies to singers, see basso.