double bass

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double bass,

bowed stringed musical instrument, the contrabass of the modern orchestral string section. It originated as a double-bass violviol,
family of bowed stringed instruments, the most important ensemble instruments from the 15th to the 17th cent. The viol's early history is indefinite, but it is recognizable in depictions from as early as the 11th cent. During the second half of the 17th cent.
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, an instrument described as early as 1566. A true double-bass violinviolin,
family of stringed musical instruments having wooden bodies whose backs and fronts are slightly convex, the fronts pierced by two f-hole-shaped resonance holes. The instruments of the violin family have been the dominant bowed instruments because of their versatility,
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 appeared during the 18th cent. but was rejected as unwieldy and of poor tonal quality. The present double bass is tuned in fourths and usually has a flat back and sloping shoulders but has never attained a definitive form. The bow, the last to give up its convex shape, was long held palm upward like the viol bow, but the violin style is now customary. Indispensable in the orchestra, it also has a place in the dance band and jazz.

Double Bass


(contrabass), a bowed stringed instrument. It is the largest (nearly 2 m long) and lowest-pitched instrument in the string family. It has four strings tuned in fourths and sounds an octave lower than it is notated. There are also three- and five-string double basses. The player normally stands. Primarily an orchestral and ensemble instrument, the double bass is sometimes played as a solo instrument (outstanding virtuosos include G. Bottesini, Italy, 19th century; S. Koussevitzky, Russia, 20th century; and F. Gertovich, USSR).

The variety of a musical instrument that plays in the lowest registers is also known as a contrabass—for example, the contrabass trombone, contrabass tuba, and contrabass balalaika.

double bass

1. a stringed instrument, the largest and lowest member of the violin family. Range: almost three octaves upwards from E in the space between the fourth and fifth leger lines below the bass staff. It is normally bowed in classical music, but it is very common in a jazz or dance band, where it is practically always played pizzicato
2. of or relating to an instrument whose pitch lies below that regarded as the bass; contrabass
References in periodicals archive ?
The band led by the double bassist, composer and teacher at the Prague Jazz Conservatory, Jaromir Honzak has had a permanent international line-up since the beginning of the 1990s.
Played by Hugo Speer (Guy "The Lunchbox" in The Full Monty), Martin learned to play the sax behind bars, and faced with the dole in his native Liverpool he decides instead to form a swing band and recruits soccer- mad double bassist Buddy (Scott Williams), skinhead drummer Oi (James Hicks) and the black- suited brass section of the local Orangemen, led by menacing Mighty Mac (Alexei Sayle at his best).
With Past Present he has chosen to revive that earlier quartet with double bassist Larry Grenadier in for '90s band members Marc Johnson or Dennis Irwin.
22 at the Cemal ReE-it Rey Concert Hall (CRR), where he will be joined on the stage by Norwegian double bassist Ellen Andrea Wang.
Double bassist Bevan Morris says: "Between the six of us we've played together in all sorts of groups for years, but we came together as Pons Aelius quite naturally just under a year ago and haven't looked back since.
The double bassist and harmonica player has performed alongside Neville Skelly, The Lightning Seeds, Bill Ryder-Jones, The Coral and Ella Guru at Glastonbury, The Greenman and Truckfest.
In 2008 the pair teamed up with violinist Adrian Hart, claw hammer banjo player Colin Derham and double bassist Konrad Liddy to form I Draw Slow.
From 1980, Tony worked extensively with saxophonist Paul Dunmall, double bassist Paul Rogers and pianist Keith Tippett as a member of the jazz quartet Mujician.
STRIKING A CHORD: Double bassist Geoff Lorriman and, clockwise from top left: with Mike Armitage Trio in late 60s, also featuring drummer Armitage and pianist Roy Hilton; with his Orchestra (centre) on Royal Cruise Line and appearing on Opportunity Knocks with Stuart Atkins Orchestra in the late 60s
More well-received were Edinburgh indie-pop group Aberfeldy and Keane side project Mt Desolation, while acoustic duo Turin Brakes (aided by a double bassist and a drum machine) were chilled out enough to suit the romance of the location.