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 double bass, however, measures in at about twice the size of a cello and reaches an octave below it.
Benefits cheat David Ballantyne astride his double bass that he played with band Chuck Wagon
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.
TALENTED: Kurtis McCreath with the double bass his dad bought him at 10 Picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD
Vocalist Maureen Hall will be leading the group, accompanied by six musicians - Alan Smith on the trumpet, Barry Soulsby on the clarinet, Iain McAulay playing the trombone, Mac Smith on the keyboard, John Robinson playing double bass and Jim McKeown on the drums.
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?
Dubliner O'Duill, who has the distinct advantage of playing double bass when it comes to comedy, is the main patter man in an act which mixes classical music with slapstick.
He and multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Steve Knightley will be joined by singer and double bass player Miranda Sykes.
With two sax players and a double bass they sound a bit jazz.
Cool Out and Coexist," the double bass drum one, that has the extended outro.
The Kingsville Competitions has been reorganized and this year will offer competitions for violin, viola, violoncello and double bass.
This refereed journal fosters "original scholarly research pertaining to the history, development, function and features of the double bass and other related bowed bass instruments, their players, and repertoires" and disseminates "critical reviews of recently published books and articles in these subject areas.