This condition is referred to as the Helmholtz motion or "Helmholtz node" after Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894). “Bartók pizzicato” (“snap” pizzicato) The string is lifted with two fingers of the right hand so that it snaps back onto the fingerboard when let go. Until recently, the large size of the bass meant that children were not able to start the bass until their hand size and height would allow them to play a 3/4-size instrument (the most commonly-available size). Most important is the steady beat, whether fast, slow, in 4/4 time, 2/4 or 3/4 time. On older or four-stringed double-basses (lowest note E1) the cello’s lowest notes (to C2) could not be played an octave lower (C1). Therefore the strings are always labelled for either solo or orchestral. The upright bass gives energy and drive to the music with its percussive, woody tone. This condition is referred to as the Helmholtz motion or "Helmholtz node" after Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894). Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra contains a prominent double bass solo. Examples include swing era players such as Jimmy Blanton, who played with Duke Ellington, and Oscar Pettiford, who pioneered the instrument's use in bebop. Apart from the jazz styles of jazz fusion and latin-influenced jazz, the double bass is still widely used in jazz . Every stroke, whether up or down, is ended abruptly, the bow remaining on the string. This produces a very resounding sound which is used for percussive effects. For the double bass, the string tensions of the four strings are essentially equal, implying that the mass per unit length of the strings must be adjusted close to 9/16 ratios for successive strings. String instruments characteristically produce a fundamental resonance plus all the string harmonics. When writing solo passages for the bass, composers typically ensure that the orchestration is light, so it will not cover the bass. Tuning in fifths can also make the instrument louder, because the strings have more common overtones, causing the strings to vibrate sympathetically. Norman Ludwin, bassist and composer, has published with his company Ludwin Music over three hundred pieces for the bass, including many original works as well as transcriptions. Some of the lowest-quality student bows feature synthetic fibreglass "hair". Also, the double bass is an acoustic instrument with a hollow body that selectively amplifies the tone of the plucked or bowed strings. While most bluegrass bassists use the 3/4 size bass, the full and 5/8 size basses are less frequently used. The double-bass usually played these notes an octave higher, in unison with the cello. The standard double bass has four strings and a range from E just over an octave below the bass staff, upwards for nearly three octaves, although some instruments may have five strings in order to extend the range downward. As with most other string instruments, the double bass is played with a bow (arco) or by plucking the strings ( pizzicato). In contrast, bass guitars are often made with a solid wood body, and the sound is produced by electronic amplification of the vibration of the strings, which is "sensed" by magnetic pickups that also add to the characteristic tone. Player and composer Edgar Meyer has written two concertos for solo double bass and a double concerto for double bass and cello for the instrument and had made arrangements of Bach's unaccompanied cello suites. All parts are glued together except the soundpost, bridge, nut and saddle, which are kept in place by string tension. on the bass may be found on the University of New South Wales site. These two bows provide for different ways of moving the arm and distributing force on the strings. In 1951, Leo Fender independently released his Precision Bass, the first commercially successful electric bass guitar. The double bass is also favored over the electric bass guitar in many rockabilly and psychobilly bands. At the base of the double bass is a metal spike called the endpin, which rests on the floor. Many early bassists doubled on both the "brass bass" and "string bass," as the instruments were then often referred to. © 2002 - 2020 Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH. Other pieces written for string quintets with a double bass added onto a string quartet exist by Darius Milhaud, Murray Adaskin, Giovanni Bottesini, Domenico Dragonetti and Edgar Meyer. The bowing style was handed down from the time when the bows of all stringed instruments played had to be held in that fashion (middle three fingers between the stick and the hair) to maintain tension of the hair before screw threads were used. Various styles dictate the curve of the fingers and thumb, as do the style of piece- a more pronounced curve and lighter hold on the bow is used for virtuosic or more delicate pieces, while a flatter curve and sturdier grip on the bow provides more power for rich orchestral passages. This website uses cookies to enable you to place orders and to give you the best browsing experience possible. Jazz musicians often call it the acoustic bass to distinguish it from electric bass guitars. Ray Brown, known for his virtuosic bowing technique, has been called "the Fritz Kreisler of jazz double bass playing." The double bass' proportions are dissimilar to those of the violin; for example, it is deeper (the distance from top to back is proportionally much greater than the violin). Until Beethoven the double-bass and cello played their parts from a shared “bass” part. The double-bass played the same part as the cello, automatically doubling it an octave below. Other composers that have written for solo double bass include Christian Wolff, Salvatore Sciarrino, Hans Werner Henze, Emil Tabakov, Vincent Persichetti, Miloslav Gajdoš, Henrik Hellstenius, Hans Fryba, Ase Hedstrom, Tom Johnson, Arne Nordheim, Luis Jorge Gonzalez, Oliver Knussen, Giacinto Scelsi, Bezhad Ranjbaran, and Asmund Feidje. The fretted bass guitar's strings are stopped with the aid of metal frets and buzzing does not generally occur. Changing from pizzicato to arcoThe change from bowed (arco) to plucked (pizzicato) and back is always written in full. In popular music genres, the instrument is usually played with amplification and almost exclusively played with a form of pizzicato where the sides of the fingers are used in preference to the tips of the fingers. Other terms for the instrument among classical performers are string bass, bass viol, or simply bass. The French bow was not widely popular until its adoption by 19th-century virtuouso Giovanni Bottesini. Less expensive student bows may be constructed of solid fibreglass, or of less valuable varieties of brazilwood. On older or four-stringed double-basses (lowest note E1) the cello’s lowest notes (to C2) could not be played an octave lower (C1). This type of notation, which avoids ledger lines, is generally preferred by composers. The double bass plays the same range as the bass guitar (give or take the high end of the fret/fingerboard). The double bass, also called bass Viol or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched member of the orchestral string section. Unlike the rest of the violin family, the double bass still reflects influence and can be considered partly derived from the viol family of instruments, in particular the violone, the bass member of the viol family. This bridge is fitted with piezoelectric pickups on the bridge to produce an electrical output that can be amplified. The lowest string is tuned to E (the same pitch as the lowest E on a modern piano, approx 41 Hz), nearly 3 octaves below middle C ); and the highest string is tuned to G, an octave and a fourth below middle C (approx 98 Hz). In addition, it is used in other genres such as jazz, blues, rock and roll, psychobilly, rockabilly, and bluegrass. The design of the double bass, in contrast to the instruments in the violin family, has never been fully standardized. Double bass players have contributed to the evolution of jazz. Most playing techniques are possible both sul ponticello and sulla tastiera. Performing on the bass can be physically taxing because the strings of the bass are larger and thicker than those of a smaller stringed instrument. The double bass, also called bass Viol or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched member of the orchestral string section. This is to achieve the musical fourth 4/3 pitch intervals since the string frequency is proportional to the inverse square root of the mass per unit length. The differences in sound come from several sources. The differences between the two, however, are minute for a proficient player trained in using his/her respective bow. The impression given is of a “trembling” sound, which is used especially for dramatic effect and tonal intensification. In the 1960s and 1970s bands were playing at louder volumes and performing in larger venues. Three-fourths and full-sized basses are the most common, with smaller sizes used primarily by children. Because of the string mass and stiffness, a geared arrangement is used to adjust the string tension. For the low frequencies of the bass strings, the frequency of the stick-slip repetition can be equal to the frequency of the string, a condition associated with a full, rich tone for the instrument. The use of natural harmonics (a technique often used by Giovanni Bottesini) and sometimes even "false" harmonics, where the thumb stops the note and the octave or other harmonic is activated by lightly touching the string at the relative node point, extend the double bass' range considerably. In 1905, Serge Koussevitzky (better known as a conductor) wrote a concerto for the instrument. The double bass is generally tuned in fourths, in contrast to the other members of the orchestral string family, which are all tuned in fifths. the number of strokes corresponds exactly to the notated division of the whole note value which determines the length of the tremolo. The large bridge on the bass instrument transfers a component of the string vibration to the top plate of the instrument. The bluegrass bass is responsible for keeping time in the polyrhythmic conditions of the bluegrass tune. It has also been suggested that the name derives from its viol family heritage, in that it is tuned lower than the standard bass viola da gamba. The horsehair sticks to the string and pulls it to the side a certain distance and then releases it in a repetitive stick-slip pattern. In contrast to the bow tremolo, when rapid up and downstrokes produce the tremolo effect, bowing here is smooth and even over the string. As a result, bass parts have relatively fewer fast passages, double stops or large jumps in range. The French bow, because of the angle the hand holds the bow, is touted to be more maneuverable and provide the player with better control of the bow.