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The stopping of several or all the strings of a fretted string instrument at the same point, by the fingers ( see Barré ) or artificially ( see Capo tasto ).

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Barré  

In the playing of certain fretted plucked string instruments, particularly the lute, guitar and banjo, the term used to describe the technique of stopping all or several of the strings at the same point by holding a finger across them. Although the form of the word is adjectival the term is also used in writings in English as a noun; some English-speaking writers use ‘bar’ or ‘barring’, but the French forms ...

Article

Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume

A piano played automatically by a pinned barrel or cylinder. In the form made in London by William Rolfe (from 1829) and others, an ordinary piano was augmented by a pinned wooden cylinder placed inside the case under the keyboard. This barrel was provided with a mechanical keyframe and a series of linkages or stickers which extend behind the soundboard to the top of the piano and operate an additional set of hammers which strike the strings through a gap in the soundboard. The barrel is turned by a clockwork motor driven by a heavy weight which is wound up to the top of the case. (For an illustration ...

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Baschet  

Hugh Davies and Laura Maes

French sound sculptors and instrument inventors. Bernard (b Paris, France, 24 Aug 1917) and his brother François (b Paris, France, 30 March 1920) developed a variety of sound sculptures and new instruments under the generic name Structures sonores. Bernard Baschet trained and originally worked as an engineer, and then (...

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Basedla  

Arvydas Karaška

Folk bass fiddle of Lithuania. It is shaped like a double bass and varies in size from that of a cello to a double bass. The body is assembled from pieces of fir and maple, or sometimes ash or birch wood. The tuning mechanism is a system of cogwheels and metal pegs as on a double bass, or occasionally wooden pegs as on a cello. The ...

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Inna D. Nazina

Bass fiddle of Belarus and Ukraine. Some are the size of a cello; others are as large as a conventional double bass. The three or four strings are tuned in 5ths and 4ths. The three-string type is commonly used in the southwest of Belarus, while four-string basses are endemic to parts of the west, central, and northern regions. Both are used in folk instrumental ensembles that perform mainly dance music and wedding marches. In southern ensembles the ...

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Basoi  

Patricia Matusky

Musical bow of the Iban people of central Sarawak, Malaysia. The single string is attached to the ends of the wooden bow. The bow rests on a wooden disc, which in turn rests on a ceramic or metal bowl that serves as a resonator. The string is tapped or plucked with a plectrum....

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A contraction of Double bass or Electric bass guitar.

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See Acoustic bass guitar and Electric bass guitar.

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Frederick R. Selch

A bowed string instrument. Although in modern usage the term refers to a six- or seven-string instrument of the Viol family often called Viola da gamba , in the 18th and 19th centuries in the USA and occasionally in Britain ‘bass viol’ meant a four-string instrument tuned in 5ths like a cello. It was probably a shortened version of the term ‘bass violin’. Such instruments were of two kinds: the first like a cello except for certain local constructional details, the second of larger body size but with the same string length and fingerboard as a cello, with a short neck (accommodating playing only up to the second position without recourse to thumb positions). Instruments of both kinds were occasionally made with five strings, but no contemporary instruction book refers to the practice or indicates the tuning. The large-sized instruments are called ‘church basses’. Certain archaisms in construction reflect earlier European building techniques, the commonest being an f-hole in which small connecting bridges of wood are left at the turns, a groove or channel routed in the wood of the back and belly into which the ribs were fitted and glued, and the use of a foot-like extension of the neck block (almost always integral with the neck itself) projecting into the body and fixed to the wood of the back by a butted glue joint and a screw. A peculiarly American feature is the use of plank-sawn wood in the belly and back, giving the instruments a curious florid appearance; but the best makers used quarter-sawn wood according to traditional European practice....

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Lucy Robinson and Peter Holman

The bass of the violin family in the 16th and 17th centuries. It originally had three gut strings tuned F–c–g. By constructing large bass violins with a string length of about 74 cm, it became possible to obtain lower notes, and in the mid-16th century a fourth string was added at the bottom, producing the ...

Article

John Dilworth

In bowed string instruments, a strip of wood glued to the underside of the belly beneath the bass foot of the bridge. It is of vital importance to the acoustical function of the instrument, and is complemented by the soundpost which is placed close to the treble bridge-foot. In modern practice, the bass-bar runs for three-quarters of the length of the belly, and is made from spruce carefully matched to that of the belly. It is fitted slightly within the outer edge of the bridge foot, and set at a slight angle to the centre line of the instrument, determined by the proportions of the upper and lower bouts. It is deepest at the centre, generally about 12 mm in a violin, and tapers towards the ends, being on average 265 mm long and 6 mm wide. The glued surface is fitted to the curves of the belly, although some luthiers shape it to a slightly tighter radius than the belly itself, known as ‘springing’, providing a certain amount of stress within the structure when glued in place. An undersized or badly positioned bar cannot provide sufficient stiffness to the front of the instrument and results in a dull, unfocussed sound (particularly in the bass register) and, in extreme cases, deformation and eventual collapse of the arching. Conversely, an oversized bar can stifle the sound, making the instrument unresponsive....

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Basy  

Jan Stęszewski

Bass fiddle of Poland. It can be from 100 to 140 cm long; the body is sometimes carved from one piece of wood, apart from the top. It has two to four strings tuned usually in 5ths, or 4ths and 5ths. For example, in the Tatra mountains the tuning is ...

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(b Naumburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, Jan 1, 1805; d Leipzig, Germany, May 26, 1871). German bow maker. He studied violin making with J.B. Fritsche in Dresden and set up his own shop there in the 1820s. About 1830 he moved to Dessau where he remained until ...

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Bawa  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Mouth bow of the Aïmeri people of the Watsa Gombari region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The string is sometimes coupled (braced) to the bow stave by a cord that divides the string into two unequal segments, thus obtaining two different pitches when the segments are plucked by the fingers; the bracing cord itself can also be plucked....

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Bayi  

Musical bow of the Negrito people of the northern Philippines.

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Bazin  

Philip J. Kass

Family of French bow makers. François Bazin (b Mirecourt, France, 10 May 1824; d Mirecourt, 1 Aug 1865) worked primarily for the trade in a style much influenced by Peccatte and Maire. His son Charles Nicolas (b Mirecourt, 24 April 1847; d...

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Beare  

Charles Beare and Margaret Campbell

English family of violin dealers and restorers. John Beare (1847–1928) became an instrument dealer in 1865. He was a friend of Elgar and published some of his early music in the 1880s. In 1892 he divided his business into two parts: Beare & Son, with his elder son Walter, at 32 Rathbone Place, London, and Beare, Goodwin & Co. at 186 Wardour Street. Beare & Son, later came under the direction of Walter’s son Richard Barrington Beare (...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Coleman County, TX, March 18, 1899; d at sea nr Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 1941). American inventor of musical instruments. He was co-founder of the National Stringed Instrument Corporation and the Rickenbacker guitar company. He played the violin and the lap steel (‘Hawaiian’) guitar in vaudeville before settling in Los Angeles, where he worked with John and Rudy Dopyera to develop an acoustically amplified guitar, probably inspired by Stroh models. An early model with a Victrola horn failed, but trials using conical aluminium resonators within a metal guitar body (a prototype of the three-cone Dobro guitar) proved successful and attracted investors. Production of metal-body guitars under the name National soon involved Adolph Rickenbacker’s nearby tool and die shop....

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Charles Beare and Philip J. Kass

American family of violin makers. Carl G. Becker (b Chicago, Sept 20, 1887; d Chicago, Aug 6, 1975) was the son of a prominent violinist and teacher, and his maternal grandfather, Herman Macklett, had been a violin maker. He began as a craftsman in ...