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A Musical Life

A Musical Life: William Mitchell

courtesy photo

William Mitchell is a Wichita-based bassist who performs with Keeper, ICTrio and Douglas Creek. He also plays tuba and cello.

“The low end speaks to me for sure. I definitely like the bass frequencies. When I first picked out cello, I wanted to play violin because it’s the rock star thing. My mom wanted me to play bass because of all the scholarship opportunities. Both of those, on the instrument try-out date, were taken up, so I had to take up the cello. When you have it vibrate up against you, you’re, like, ‘OK, this is pretty cool.’ I got to play tuba during senior year and kept it on through college. There’s something about having a catchy bassline that keeps the harmonic rhythm together. It makes sure the band knows where transitions are going. Along with the drums, obviously, keep the time. Setting the groove is a really fun thing. I like to dance around when I play a lot. Finding that groove is a lot of fun.

There’s something about the low frequencies that you feel more than you hear. Especially with low frequencies they sit in the lower parts of the air and it’s more air pressure being moved, versus your high frequencies which carry further. You’ll be able to hear them over longer distances but I don’t think they resonate as well. That’s why you have all of it together, obviously. The bass frequencies really penetrate the body more just because of where they naturally sit. That’s what’s so fun about playing bass.