…And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
And these words are my diary screamin’ out loud…
(“3 a.m.” By Anna Nalick)
It sounds funny, but hear me out:
All of our lives we are conditioned. In school our concert bands require alto and bass instruments. If full instrumentation is lacking, band teachers will move gifted students to cover the missing parts. High school choirs will resort to bribery to get tenors and baritones to join. On the radio we hear nothing but bands with the bass turned up. We hear not a solo singer, but a lead with at least three backup singers. We hear toms and reverb effects and synthesizer, and that’s just in popular music.
In classical music, the majority of pieces are unable to be performed without the full spectrum of strings, horns, and percussion as supporting cast. The majority of classical piano works require the lion’s share of the keyboard.
Jazz musicians would be lost without a full rhythm section (guitar, bass, drums, and keys).
Folk music, especially American bluegrass, is happier with a stand-up bassist and a couple guitars.
We spend much of our lives hearing music that utilizes the entire range of tonalities, rhythms, and auditory effects. We are immersed in it so much that we come to expect it to the point that anything simpler sounds… Thin. Performing with it remains a bit like being naked. You have nowhere to hide, no way to immerse yourself behind guitars and basses or fancy effects. You are out there in your musical skivvies, front and center, and everything shines through over the brilliance of plucked strings.
No barriers between you and your song.
It’s kind of a refreshing feeling…
(I could keep on with the double entendres, but I’ll leave it at that. )