Double bass [bass, contrabass, stand-up bass, string bass, upright bass] (Fr. contrebasse; Ger. Kontrabass; It. contrabasso, contrabbasso; Sp. contrabajo)
- Rodney Slatford
- and Alyn Shipton
The largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in use. It has four or (less often) five strings tuned in 4ths and sounds an octave lower than the cello. In western art music it is best known for its contribution to the orchestra, where it supplies not only the power and weight but the basic rhythmic foundation, and has also been used as a continuo instrument. More rarely the bass is heard as a soloist, in which field its surprisingly large repertory includes over 200 concertos. The instrument, normally played pizzicato, is an essential member of jazz and dance bands; in many countries it is used in military and concert bands....