The word "bass" perhaps elicits a Freudian dichotomy of sorts. Am I referring to fish or music?
Left free to guess without context, I'll assume the audience is split 50-50.
Within the context of this PCT blog, more than 50% might assume I'm tying together a piece about fish. But surprisingly enough, I'm not.
As an aside, I Googled the origin of the pronunciation "base" for the word "bass". Though there are many explanations floating around the Internet, my bullshit detector felt oddly satisfied by this incomplete answer from an Internet poster "Joe" on the forum "talkbass.com":
"Former music history professor here. Way back in the Medieval period (say, the 12th-14th century AD), music was developing, going from monophony (chant - one melody at a time, think monks chanting in a monastery), to polyphony (more than one melody at a time). Chords hadn't been invented yet.
Early music with two parts (called "organum") sometimes had a singer sing a faster melody, while another singer or a group of singers sang a slower line consisting of held notes. This line became know as the tenor, since "tenor" means "to hold" in Latin (or "tenore" in Italian).
Later, a third, lower part was added, which was called "contratenor bassus," which means "against the tenor low" (bassus = low). Later yet, this was shortened to "bassus."
Presumably, this spelling was carried into English during the transition to the Renaissance (15th-16th century, or a little before), when polyphonic music became very popular and highly developed in England.
Now, as for why the English pronunciation rhymes with "face" instead of "grass," I don't know. The Latin pronunciation for "bassus" is pronounced more like "boss," (think Bruce Springsteen). So, is this all Bruce Springsteen's fault in the end?
P.S. - for my life's quest, maybe I'll try to figure out why it's not "Springstein" or "Springstene," or…."
Joe didn't fully answer the question but I'll buy it. I'll rest my speculation as to the real answer with a poster on the same site (who perhaps could be layering this answer with loads of bull shit. Wink, wink.), "rcarraher":
"This is an easy one. Way back in the dark ages when music was first being discovered and defined. There was this famous singer in Italy, Leonardo L. Bassus (that became Basso, once the italiand stopped speaking latin). He had a voice that the likes of most Europeans had never heard He could cover the E flat in the lower stave all the way up through the F above middle C. his voice was so deep, and so hip that a guitar maker, Luthier something, probably Fender, but I wouldn't swear to it, built an instrument to duplicate Leonardo's voice. By the way, he went by L.L. Bassus or LL Basso ( I think thats where that Cool-J guy got it) on all his records.
Well, this strange new instrument became so popular, that it eventulally founds its way to English speaking countries where it was renamed the Bass, the English speakers having a tendancy to drop the ending "O" in words they adopted from the Italians, sort of like we did with Spaghetti which in Italian was Spaghetti-O's.
That my friend, is why we call it a bass."
On Friday evening, around dinner time, I hear this bass thumping about 4 miles from the particularly small town of Belden, California (population 22, down from 26 in year 2000). This was no pick-up truck, and it certainly was no fish.
Eventually winding down directly to the heart of Belden, I realize quickly I've just walked in the back door of the "Stilldream Music Festival".
The bass I heard was coming from multiple stages blasting out techno and electronic dance music for the long running, all day/all night dance party.
Apparently this is at least a decade long tradition in Belden, and multiple festivals of this type are held each year in this tiny town.
Whether it's beyond their control, or they welcome PCT hikers with open arms, those that run the festival have come to accept the fact that the PCT runs, quite literally, through the festival.
Quickly I recognized a dozen familiar faces amongst a crowd of concert go-ers, who for the most part, were about as dirty as PCT hikers.
Not one to typically pass on a unique experience like unknowingly stumbling into a rave, I passed anyway.
Although many of the faces I recognized (thru-hikers) did set up camp amongst the concert go-ers, my gut told me not to stay longer than a beer or two. As this was just exactly the type of vortex to consume a couple hiking days, and perhaps steal my belongings to boot.
Though I hiked on after about 2 hours and a couple beers, I didn't have enough energy to escape the reach of the bass. What I thought was loud at 6 PM turned up a notch by midnight. And the music ran til 8 AM.
God bless the locals Belden.