The origins of the Violin
Instruments related to the violin: The contrabass
The origin of the contrabass
The contrabass plays a very important role in providing solid lower register support for the stringed instruments occupying the front of the orchestra. However, there is one aspect in which the contrabass differs significantly from the violin, viola, cello, and other stringed instruments. The contrabass was originally a relative of the viola da gamba, a completely different kind of stringed instrument. Instruments in the viola da gamba family were often in use until the second half of the 18th century. They differ from instruments in the violin family in that fingerboards are fretted and their bows are held differently when playing. The "violone," the largest instrument in the viola da gamba family, was responsible for playing in the lower register. It is also the instrument that the contrabass ultimately developed from.
The history of the contrabass
The contrabass was originally a member of the viola da gamba family, so the number of strings varied from three to six even after the turn of the 19th century, and there were many varieties of these instruments of roughly the same size as a cello. Modern instruments tend to have four or five strings tuned in fourths. When playing the contrabass, either a French bow or a German bow is used. French bows resemble violin bows and are gripped similarly, while German bows (used in Germany and Austria) developed from viola da gamba bows and are held with an underhanded grip.
Musical Instrument Guide : Violin Contents
How to Play
How the Instrument is Made
Choosing an Instrument
Care and Maintenance
- The f-hole used to be a C-hole or S-hole
- Why the f-hole?
- Violinists must bow to the horse
- Steel strings or gut strings? That is the question
- Is the chinrest the unsung hero of the violin?
- Most violin varnishes are also medicines
- Violin masterpieces: Solos I
- Violin masterpieces: Solos II
- Violin masterpieces: Solos III
- Violin masterpieces: Concertos I
- Violin masterpieces: Concertos II
- Viola masterpieces: Chamber music
- Viola masterpieces: Concertos
- Cello masterpieces: Concertos I
- Cello masterpieces: Concertos II
- Cello masterpieces: Solos
- Contrabass masterpieces: Concertos
- Contrabass masterpieces: Chamber music
- Orchestral masterpieces featuring the contrabass
- What do you call the part on the bow that you hold?