Well, um... How should I start this? xD
So, the Bard Class is one of the most poorly worked classes in any RPG. It might end up being kinda controversial, depending on the setting. After analyzing some RPG systems and other sources (MMORPGs, Animes, etc), I came up with a somewhat "new" (alternative is a better word, but not as catching as "new") base for it, being more centered and cohesive.
First things first, let's examine the two most famous Bard/Song-User classes' settings:
Dungeons & Dragons and the Rogue-Like Bard
In D&D's setting, the Bard Class is depicted as an adventurer/wanderer who can evoke the power hidden within the songs or speeches, being a jack-of-all-trades, acessing almost every kind of spell suit (albeith with some limitations) available. Although being arcane in nature, the majority of Bards in D&D are likely to use 1 handed Slashing or Ranged weapons and doing maneuvers (thus the Rogue-like) to defend themselves.
Final Fantasy and the Hidden Supporter
Here, bards are more arcane in nature, but their strenght is limited to the buff/debuffs their weapons cause or their Songs. A true Support-type class. In FFXIV, this class is the specialization of the Archer base class, so here enters the Rogue-Like attribute too. In some games, the Bard can hide himself from battle, so they become invencible. What a shame. xD
Examples in other games will follow one of these 2 archetypes. It's always the same.
Having said that, I want to propose a new bios for this class. It isn't something revolutionary or groundbreaking, just a slightly new way to see Bards.
Bard as an Alternative Mage
Like in Final Fantasy, Bards are arcane in nature. In fact, they are Mages, but unlike their "cousins", Bards can't "access the veil of magic" and produce magical feats like casting a fireball or conjuring a lightning bolt. In order words, they can't materialize things by using mana.
Instead, they discovered a new way to make use of it. Bards can project their inner mana through air vibrations, such as speeches/songs or sounds/noises. Their whole body is a conductor of mana, while the air vibrations are the mediums/means which they can externalize their inner mana by imbuing the tones with it and thus producing fantastic feats.
High notes will become as sharp as an edge and low notes will cause the impact of a hard rock hitting something. While not being able to cast a Fireball, they can make any foe who hears their sounds burn like if they were set on fire.
Standard attacks would be divided in 2 groups: Magical Noises, which are simple noises imbued with mana directed toward an enemy, and simple but effective Instrument bashing/swinging.
Bard's "Spells" are their songs. Just like any other Mage, they use the time mechanic to be "cast" (or in this case, sing/play). Unlike Mages, a Bard don't need to prepare their songs, but instead, their effects will only remain while the Bard is still producing that very song. It means that their songs will have continuous effects (and stackable, if 2 or more Bards are singing different songs.)
OF COURSE, there will be songs that, once successfully sang, will have their effects set until the end of the Battle.
Like real world's singers, Bards are tied to Emotions. This means that the more emotion/inspiration is set in the song, then the more effective it will be.
ALSO, songs are meant to be harmonic in order produce good results. It means that, if the Bard detunes, then the song might end up failing, while if it reaches a certain number of combinations, aditional effects will be bestowed upon their songs.
There are certain scrolls spread around the world with specific lyrics. These, when sang by a normal person, will only produce ordinary vocals. But, if sang by a bard, miracles will occur.
For more Examples of this kind of Bard, check:
Canaria Utara, from the Anime "Qualidea Code" (Episode 1) - www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4pneq…
Rin, from the Anime "Lost Song" (Episode 3) - www.bilibili.com/video/av22266…