Bass is in our biology.

Nobody needs to tell us that we love bass in our music, but a new scientific study has explained just why we love it so damn much.

A study published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (typically abbreviated as PNAS), makes the case that “superior time perception for lower musical pitch explains why bass-ranged instruments lay down musical rhythms”.

In other words, bass is so important to us because our brains are wired to recognize rhythms better when they’re played at lower tones. More than guitar, or even drums, bass-ranged instruments are what makes you nod your head, dance and follow the beat of a song.

“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,” the study says, explaining that even when the bass isn’t front and center, it’s enhancing everything around it. [via i>NME]

For a great recent example, watch the video for ‘Them Changes’ from bass virtuoso Thundercat’s new album Drunk.

Read next: The Sound of Fear: Lawrence English recounts the history of noise as a weapon

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