double bass Largest stringed instrument. It has four strings tuned in fourths (E-A-D-G) and sounds one octave below the musical notation. It resembles a large violin, but has sloping shoulders (it was originally a member of the viol family). The double bass is held vertically. A bow is generally used for classical music, but the strings are usually plucked in jazz.
double bass (or contrabass). Largest and lowest-pitched of bowed string instruments, derived from the violone. Formerly had 3 strings but now generally has 4, usually tuned at the interval of a 4th. Compass from E just over an octave below bass stave upwards for nearly 3 octaves. Some instruments have 5 strings, extra string sounding B below bottom E. Generally an orchestral instrument, but occasionally used in chamber music and very occasionally as solo concerto instrument. Used in jazz and dance bands, mostly pizzicato.
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