Are you stuck thinking about where to get a bass instrument? Come on in, shop online and check out our featured products! The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, bass violin or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. 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 disco, jazz, 1950s-style blues and rock and roll, rockabilly/psychobilly, traditional country music, bluegrass, tango and many types of folk music.
The double bass 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.
The double bass is the only modern bowed string instrument that is tuned in fourths (like a viol), rather than fifths. The issue of the instrument’s exact lineage is still a matter of some debate, and the claim that the double bass is a direct descendant of the viol family is one that has not been entirely resolved. Some scholars argue that the bass is derived from the violin 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, pizzicato is the norm, except for some solos and also occasional written parts in modern jazz that call for bowing. In most other genres, such as blues and rockabilly, the bass is plucked. The double bass is a transposing instrument and sounds one octave lower than notated.
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