Double Bass

The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, bass fiddle, bass violin, doghouse bass, contrabass, bass viol, stand-up bass or bull fiddle, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2 (see standard tuning). The double bass is a standard member of the string section of the symphony orchestra and smaller string ensembles in Western classical music. In addition, it is used in other genres such as jazz, 1950s-style blues and rock and roll, rockabilly/psychobilly, traditional country music, bluegrass, tango and many types of folk music. A person who plays the double bass is usually referred to as a bassist.

The double bass stands around 180 cm (six feet) from scroll to endpin, and is typically constructed from several types of wood, including maple for the back, spruce for the top, and ebony for the fingerboard. It is uncertain whether the instrument is a descendant of the viola da gamba or of the violin, but it is traditionally aligned with the violin family. While the double bass is nearly identical in construction to other violin family instruments, it also embodies features found in the older viol family.

Like many other string instruments, the double bass is played either with a bow (arco) or by plucking the strings (pizzicato). In orchestral repertoire and tango music, both arco and pizzicato are employed. In jazz, blues, and rockabilly, pizzicato is the norm, except for some solos and also occasional written parts in modern jazz that call for bowing.

When playing the double bass, the bassist either stands or sits on a high stool and leans the instrument against the bassist's body with the bass turned slightly inwards in order to more easily reach the strings. This stance is also a key reason for the bass's sloped shoulders, which mark it apart from the other members of the violin family, as the narrower shoulders facilitate playing of the strings in their higher registers.

The double bass is a transposing instrument and sounds one octave lower than notated.

Read more about Double BassHistory, Terminology, Design, Pitch, Tuning, Use in Jazz, Use in Bluegrass and Related Genres, Use in Popular Music, Modern Playing Styles, Pedagogy and Training, Careers

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