By Andre Geiger on 14 de Março de 2023
Orchestra instrument: discover the double bass

Each instrument has its particularity and its history. The way each one came about and the sound each one adds can be very different and learning about them is a way to get to know the history of music in general.

With that in mind, today we are going to learn a little more about the double bass, a very important instrument within an orchestra and one that deserves our attention.

What is a contrabass?
First we need to understand that there are two types of instruments called double bass. One of these types resembles a violin, but of much larger dimensions. The other type is the one used in rock bands, for example, which is more commonly just called bass or electric bass.

The instrument itself is one of the largest in the orchestra. As he is usually much bigger than the musician himself, it is common that he needs to be played standing up. It only has four or five strings.

The Sound of the Bass
The bass is the most serious instrument within the timbres present in an orchestra, being easily identified by this characteristic. However, it is possible that its sonority is mistakenly attributed to the cello.

Its sound function within an orchestra is to emit the bass and, very importantly, conduct the harmonies in order to unify the group. That's when used in orchestras of up to 12 instruments, since the double bass is also used alone in jazz and popular music shows, for example.

The Story of the Double Bass
It is believed that this instrument appeared in the 16th century. We have a famous example of an ancient three-string bass, that of Domenico Dragonetti. It was made by Luthier Gasparo da Salò, who lived between the 1500s and 1600s.

From the 18th century onwards, double bassist Domenico spread the instrument across Europe, gaining prominence for having a suitable sound to accompany the expansion of orchestras in the Romantic period.

However, it was only in the 19th century that the double bass as we know it today spread throughout Europe. Already with four or five strings (the first ones had only three), the sonority becomes what we know today and manages to lead and unify an orchestra.

In the 20th century, several musicians already understood and used the double bass as a solo instrument, but the jazz musical genre was largely responsible for definitively popularizing this important instrument within an orchestra that, now, had also become a successful soloist.

Music beyond instruments
Regardless of the instrument or genre, music has enormous power for social transformation. It creates protagonism, develops citizen participation, adds to the capacity for interpersonal relationships, generates discipline and professional focus, in addition to several other benefits.

That said, inserting music into young people's lives is an excellent way to make them more engaged and socially responsible citizens, in addition to preparing them for the professional world through the discipline that music demands.

Our mission is to promote social inclusion and the preservation of Brazilian cultural heritage, free of charge and continuously, with cultural, social and educational actions, offering training, access and integration into the world of work. Visit our website at here to learn more about our work.

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