Double bass

The double bass, also known simply as the bass (or by other names), is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed (or plucked) string instrument[1] in the modern symphony orchestra (excluding unorthodox additions such as the octobass).[2] The Double bass has a similar structure to the cello.

Double bass
Side and front views of a modern double bass with a French-style bow
String instrument
Other namesBass, upright bass, string bass, acoustic bass, acoustic string bass, contrabass, contrabass viol, bass viol, bass violin, standup bass, bull fiddle, doghouse bass, and bass fiddle
Classification String instrument (bowed or plucked)
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322-71
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
Developed15th19th century
Playing range
Related instruments
Musicians
Sound sample
Sample of a double bass playing a walking bassline.

The bass is a standard member of the orchestra's string section,[3] as well as the concert band, and is featured in concertos, solo, and chamber music in Western classical music.[4] The bass is used in a range of other genres, such as jazz, 1950s-style blues and rock and roll, rockabilly, psychobilly, traditional country music, bluegrass, tango and folk music.

The bass is a transposing instrument and is typically notated one octave higher than tuned to avoid excessive ledger lines below the staff. The double bass is the only modern bowed string instrument that is tuned in fourths[5] (like a bass guitar or viol), rather than fifths, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2. In contrast, all other bowed chordophones are tuned to perfect fifths.

The instrument's exact lineage is still a matter of some debate, with scholars divided on whether the bass is derived from the viol or the violin family.

The double bass is played with a bow (arco), or by plucking the strings (pizzicato), or via a variety of extended techniques. In orchestral repertoire and tango music, both arco and pizzicato are employed. In jazz, blues, and rockabilly, pizzicato is the norm. Classical music and jazz use the natural sound produced acoustically by the instrument, as does traditional bluegrass. In funk, blues, reggae, and related genres, the double bass is often amplified.