Double bass

Double bass
AGK bass1 full.jpg
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, standup bass, bull fiddle and bass fiddle
ClassificationString instrument (bowed or plucked)
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322-71
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
Developed15th–19th century
Playing range
Range contrabass.png
Related instruments

The double bass, or simply the bass (and numerous other names), is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra.

It is a standard member of the orchestra's string section,[1] as well as the concert band, and is featured in concertos, solo and chamber music in Western classical music.[2] 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 many types of 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 (like a viol), rather than fifths, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2.

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. However the body shape especially where it curves into the neck matches the viol family whereas in the rest of the violin family, the body meets the neck with no blending curve.

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


Ellen Andrea Wang performing at the Oslo Jazz Festival.

The double bass stands around 180 cm (6 feet) from scroll to endpin.[3] However, other sizes are available, such as a ​12 or ​34, which serve to accommodate a player's height and hand size. These sizes do not reflect the size relative to a full size, or ​44 bass; a ​12 bass is not half the length of a bass but is only slightly smaller.[4] It is typically constructed from several types of wood, including maple for the back, spruce for the top, and ebony for the fingerboard. It is uncertain whether the instrument is a descendant of the viola da gamba or of the violin, but it is traditionally aligned with the violin family. While the double bass is nearly identical in construction to other violin family instruments, it also embodies features found in the older viol family.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kontrabas
Alemannisch: Kontrabass
العربية: كمان أجهر
asturianu: Contrabaxu
беларуская: Кантрабас
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Кантрабас
български: Контрабас
bosanski: Kontrabas
català: Contrabaix
Чӑвашла: Контрабас
čeština: Kontrabas
Cymraeg: Bas dwbl
dansk: Kontrabas
Deutsch: Kontrabass
eesti: Kontrabass
Ελληνικά: Κοντραμπάσο
español: Contrabajo
Esperanto: Kontrabaso
euskara: Kontrabaxu
فارسی: کنترباس
français: Contrebasse
Gaeilge: Olldord
galego: Contrabaixo
hrvatski: Kontrabas
íslenska: Kontrabassi
italiano: Contrabbasso
עברית: קונטרבס
ქართული: კონტრაბასი
қазақша: Контрабас
Кыргызча: Контрабас
latviešu: Kontrabass
lietuvių: Kontrabosas
magyar: Nagybőgő
македонски: Контрабас
മലയാളം: ഡബിൾ ബേസ്
მარგალური: კონტრაბასი
Bahasa Melayu: Dabal bes
монгол: Контрабасс
Nederlands: Contrabas
norsk: Kontrabass
norsk nynorsk: Kontrabass
occitan: Contrabassa
polski: Kontrabas
português: Contrabaixo
română: Contrabas
русский: Контрабас
Seeltersk: Kontrabass
shqip: Kontrabasi
sicilianu: Contrabbassu
Simple English: Double bass
slovenčina: Kontrabas
slovenščina: Kontrabas
српски / srpski: Контрабас
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kontrabas
svenska: Kontrabas
Tagalog: Doble baho
тоҷикӣ: Контрабас
Türkçe: Kontrbas
українська: Контрабас
Tiếng Việt: Contrebasse
吴语: 低音提琴
ייִדיש: קאנטראבאס
粵語: 低音提琴
中文: 低音提琴