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 ?
Referred to as a bass fiddle, contrabass, string bass or bull fiddle, the double bass is often confused with its close relative the cello.
He's often spotted cycling or walking around Beirut with the giant double bass in tow.
Known for his unparalleled ability to play the double bass in multiple genres - from classical to bluegrass to jazz - Meyer was awarded the MacArthur Award in 2002.
Miles Barker, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday the performance was a real eye opener as Ballantyne, who used the name David Roberts, played with such "exuberance and enthusiasm" jumping around and spinning his double bass in a way that "clearly belied his incapacity statement.
And now for the rest of the recommended jazz gigs around the region: Vocalist Holly Thomas, now based in London, returns to the city of her student days for a free gig tonight with her Quintet: Lluis Mather on tenor saxophone and clarinet, Andy Bunting on piano, Hamish Livingstone on double bass and Euan Palmer on drums.
Mr Kidd said: "We are trying to trace Buddle's double bass, a valuable instrument which we are sure will have survived the 170 years since his death and hope some publicity might help us find it.
His mother is saxophonist and his singer father bought him a 3/4 double bass for his 10th birthday which he still uses.
The acoustic duo is expandable to five, and the lineup Saturday will also include Dean Foster on double bass, Glenn Aubin on drums and alto-saxophonist John Clark.
The Double Bass Day at the school brought together young bass wizards from Teesside and Tyneside for a mass jamming session.
RAW and exhilarating dance is the order of the day as four young male dancers are joined by a double bass player for the Welsh premiere of Antipode from Retina Dance Company, which takes place at Swansea's Taliesin Arts Centre next week.
MUMFORD And Sons begin their set front of stage singing a four-part harmony over a repeating guitar and double bass riff on the song Sigh No More.
After finishing second in conducting-competition Maestro last year, Goldie has swapped drum 'n' bass for the double bass - but will he pull it off?