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 ?
Yesterday, friends and teachers described the double-bassist as 'one of the most talented musicians of his generation'.
They are joined by double-bassist Josh Elliot and the greatly influential Scots singer Archie Fisher.
For example, passages written for the addition of a fourth lowly horn would intimidate the most accomplished principal player, and it's generally believed that no double-bassist, beyond the BSO's legendary Edwin Barker, could actually play every note written for that instrument on the final page of the symphony.
Double-bassist Harald Johnsen has the gloriously woody tone we have come to expect from Scandinavian bassists, but there is an almost vocal quality to the way he phrases his notes.
Just as impressive is the work of double-bassist Console in ``Contrabajisimo,'' which makes this sometimes unwieldy instrument sound lithe and suave.
But the band have soldiered on under the leadership of pint-sized double-bassist Ian Jennings, releasing Roll The Dice to mark the 20th anniversary of their formation in the Wyre Forest in 1984.
Former Northern Sinfonia double-bassist and guitarist Roberto Carrillo-Garcia, now with the HallA Orchestra, returns to the region for Sizzling Siesta on Sunday, September 19 at 3.
Emanuel Ax (well-loved by CBSO audiences) is the pianist, collaborating with members of the illustrious Guarneri Quartet and double-bassist Julius Levine.
Each time jazz double-bassist Dave Holland tours, his audiences have to live with the fact that his output is so prolific they'll always be hearing the contents of future albums rather than the one on the record racks right now.