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 ?
A bass fiddle solo sounded very natural, with good body and string/fingerboard sound and amazing presence.
On another selection a bass fiddle overloaded the room with midbass and Johnny-one-note resonance--I think they're trying to do too much with too little.
The first selection included a bass fiddle that had too little body, a piano that sounded very far away, and a drum kit that was all highs and no body.
The LSi9 ($1,040), a D'Appolito bookshelf, sounded very natural on female vocal; bass fiddle had a full-bodied sound; but standing waves muddied things on a Paquito D'Rivera CD.
com> The MM de Capo-i bookshelf ($2,500) had a very natural sound; extended highs that were not edgy; bass fiddle very natural with no bass standing waves.
Sound on a Gospel quartet was very natural, but the tenor got hard on loud parts (maybe his voice did); bass fiddle was loud but loose; piano and drums (played too loud) were tizzy.
An electric bass on another cut brought out the standing waves; but a real bass fiddle produced loud bass without room modes.
Pipe organ was very natural, including the low bass notes, and a bowed bass fiddle was sumptuously real.
The bass fiddle/organ version of the Adagio by Albinoni (Firebird K32Y236), one of the popular cuts this year, was not as sumptuous here as on the Avalon Symbol (see item 42 above): the bass fiddle sounded like a cello, and the pipe organ was too low in volume.
Female vocal and jazz organ were natural except when she got loud (which was probably her voice), but bass fiddle was very quiet and a rock selection had little impact.
Bass fiddle lacked the palpability I was hearing yesterday on the best systems; full orchestra had a lovely timbre on solo violin but some compression on tutti.
Sound on an orchestral cut was veiled and distant, but also lean and piercing; Patricia Barber with a bass fiddle was beautiful, not cool but neutrally natural.