Double bass (USA)
- Brian J. Siemers
The double bass is the lowest pitched instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. It is frequently used in jazz, popular music, and folk music. The bass is a hybrid instrument, showing influences from both the gamba and violin family of instruments. It is normally tuned E’ A’ D G. The range can be extended downward to C’ with a fifth string or use of a C extension, a mechanical device used to extend the length of the lowest string. The double bass is notated one octave higher than its sounding pitch. It is played with two types of bows. The French bow is played with an overhand grip and is similar to a violin bow. The German bow utilizes an underhand grip and has its origins in the bows used with instruments of the gamba family. Modern double basses show a much larger variation in size and design than the other string instruments of the symphony orchestra. The two primary types are gamba and violin form, although other designs, such as the busetto form, are frequently used. In the early 19th century, the American ...