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THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE DOUBLE BASS

by Siemers, Brian J

Abstract (Summary)
The double bass has the longest history of any of the string instruments that make up the modern symphony orchestra. Reference to large bass viols in writings as well as iconographic evidence point to the fact that the double bass has been in existence since the late fifteenth century. This precedes the emergence of the violin as the predominant bowed string instrument by over one hundred years. Much recent discussion and debate has focused on the double bass and its affiliation with the viol family of instruments as well as the violin family. This thesis traces the history of the double bass back to its beginnings as a member of the Renaissance viol family and follows its development through historical periods in music including the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and the Modern Eras. The goal of this thesis is to show all of the influences on the double bass from both the viol and violin families and to demonstrate how the physical characteristics of the double bass as well as its place in musical literature have changed to meet the demands of different types of music. This paper will trace the physical metamorphosis the double bass has experienced in design and tuning. Included will be discussions of performance practice, the role of the double bass in musical literature, virtuoso performers and composers who have had an impact on the development of the double bass, and the role of the double bass in jazz and genres outside of the classical world.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:double bass string viol music history

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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