Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bass String Instruments

~ at left
~ is the bass member of the viol family

Double Bass
~ at right
~ is the bass member of the violin or string family

Spot the difference


These are a group of bowed, string instruments developed in the Renaissance period ( 14th to 16th centuries ) and then superceded by the violin or string family. However the instruments are revived today for performance of early music.

Viols came in four different sizes, just like the modern string family and were called treble, alto tenor and bass. A group of viols was called a consort or chest which usually consisted of six instruments. A wealthy family often had a chest of viols.

They resembled that of a later violin but had flat back, ridges called frets, and C-shaped soundholes. Notice this difference in the above pictures of the violone and double bass.

They usually had six strings but some had five strings eg french viols.

The bow had a large outward curve and was held above the hand as opposed to the violin where the bow was held below the hand. Fingers controlled the tension of the horse-hair.

All viols were played downwards with the smaller ones resting on the knees and the larger ones resting between the legs. They produced a thin tone.

In the 18th century, the violin took over from the VIOL as people preferred the louder sounds that it produced.

If you are interested in making sounds on the DOUBLE BASS then you need an INSTRUMENT and SHEET MUSIC

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