Played in a musical ensemble such as through electronic music, rap or 'drum and bass' on a computer, or via an orchestra, such notes are frequently used to provide a counterpoint or counter-melody, in a 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 most often provides harmonic and rhythmic support, usually playing the root or fifth of the chord and stressing the strong beats. "The bass differs from other voices because of the particular role it plays in supporting and defining harmonic motion. It does so at levels ranging from immediate, chord-by-chord events to the larger harmonic organization of a entire work."
In classical music, different forms of bass are: basso concertante, or basso recitante, the bass of the little chorus, the bass which accompanies the softer passages of a composition, as well as those passages which employ the whole power of the ensemble, generally played by the violoncellos in orchestral music; contrabass (“under bass”), is described as that part which, when there are two bass lines in a composition, is performed by the double basses, the violoncellos taking the upper bass or basso concertante; basso ripieno, the bass of the grand chorus, that bass which joins in the full passages of a composition, and, by its depth of tone and energy of stroke, affords a powerful contrast to the lighter and softer passages or movements.