Well, the bigger your band, the less everyone should play and the better everyone has to be at listening and taking turns with one another. Is that what you expected to hear?
Smaller bands don’t have to take turns as much. They still need to take turns, and they still need to listen, but the simple fact is this: if there are less musicians, there are less instruments competing for the finite amount of sonic space.
It really is the same spectrum allocation problem the FCC is contending with, as only a limited amount of signal can fit in a given frequency spectrum.
When I play, my ideal band is:
- A front man, center front on acoustic guitar
- Drum kit in the back center
- Bassist next to the drummer
- Two backing vocals, in back opposite the bassist
- Electric guitarist on one side, front
- Me on piano and keyboards on the other side
What this means is that the electric guitarist and I share most of the space and we can look across the stage to coordinate, and together we work to stay out of the way of the vocals.