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 idea was always to make double basses but you can't just go straight into making something so big.
Hachez admits that the bass is not the most popular instrument, usually providing support to others like the violin, but he said respect for the double bass is growing as some players strive to prove its strength.
Jay soon joined with rhythmic plucking on the double bass. Chapman's flute took over the melody with a series of tremulous, melancholic passages.
Baltacigil has become the first Turkish double bass player to perform in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Martin is a former principal bassist with the London Symphony Orchestra, professor at London's Guildhall School of Music and noted maker of double basses. He describes the sequence of this collection as "progressive in the challenges they present."
MUSIC MAN: Ciaran Brennan plays double bass for delighted customers in Lynham's pub, a far cry from work with star sister Enya, below
The context heavily suggests reference to the double bass, about which American Heritage Dictionary IV observes, in part, "The largest bowed stringed instrument in the modern orchestra, also used frequently in jazz ensembles, especially played pizzicato..."
The Amsterdam District Court has agreed to block publication of 'The Magic Double Bass' by Dmitry Yemets.
The eclectic group has just released "Valet Parking' an ambitious 60-minute tour through brilliant brass, sharp percussion and virtuoso double bass and keyboard.
Siobhan Davies's revival of Sounding, created for the company in 1989, offered constant flowing sculptural movement to Giacinto Scelsi's eclectic "Okanagon" score for harp, double bass, and tam-tam.
The sonic textures are evocative: Sounds from the past (a churchy harmonium, a bowed double bass, a florid, cascading harp) surge and fade amid burbling electro-beats, taped and looped vocals, and computer-manipulated guitar and keyboard riffs.