What symphony orchestra does without such a significant musical figure as double bass? This bowed stringed musical instrument, with its dull but deep timbre, adorns chamber ensembles and even jazz with its sound. Some manage to replace the bass guitar with them. Since when did the wonderful double bass fascinate and captivate audiences all over the world, representing all the languages of the world at once, and without needing an interpreter?
Contrabass viola. Probably, the double bass is the only musical instrument in the world whose history of creation and its introduction into popular culture is replete with such gaps. The first mention of this stringed instrument dates back to the Renaissance.
Violas are considered the progenitor of the double bass, to whose family the double bass is still included. The double bass viola was first depicted in his painting “Marriage at Cana” by the Venetian painter Paolo Veronese back in 1563. This date is considered the starting point for counting the history of the double bass.
In the 5th century, double-bass viols were first included in the orchestra for Claudio Monteverdi’s opera Orpheus and are mentioned in the amount of two pieces in the score. At that time, a qualitative description of the instrument itself was made by Michael Pretorius, at the same time it turned out that the double bass viola had 6-XNUMX strings.
The formation of the double bass as an independent musical instrument. The double bass in its modern form appeared in the middle of the XNUMXth century. Its inventor was the Italian master Michele Todini. He himself believed that he had created a large cello, but he called it the double bass. An innovation was the four-string system. So the double bass became a “defector” from one family – viols to another – violins, according to the German instrumentalist Kurt Sachs.
The first introduction of the double bass into the orchestra has been documented in Italy. This was done in 1699 by the composer D. Aldrovandini in the opera “Caesar of Alexandria” at the premiere at the theater of Naples.
The most interesting thing is the gradual merging of two concepts – “violone” with “double bass”. For this reason, in Italy the double bass was called “Violone”, in England – Double bass, in Germany – der Kontrabass, and in France – Contrebasse. Only in the 50s of the XNUMXth century did the violone finally become the double bass. Around the same time, European orchestras began to favor the double bass. In the XVIII century, he “grew” to solo performances, but with three strings on the instrument.
In the XNUMXth century, Giovanni Bottzini and Franz Simandl continued to develop this musical direction. And already in the XNUMXth century, their successors were found in the person of Adolf Mishek and Sergei Koussevitzky.
Two centuries of constant struggle for existence have led to the creation of a brilliant musical instrument that can compete with a powerful organ. Through the efforts of great musicians, millions of people are now following with undisguised pleasure the deft movements of the maestro’s hands on the strings.