Large bowed four-stringed (sometimes five-stringed) musical instrument, the bass of the violin family. It is descended from the bass viol or violone. Until 1950, after which it was increasingly superseded by the electric bass, it also provided bass support (plucked) for jazz and dance bands. Performers include Domenico Dragonetti, composer of eight concertos, the Russian-born US conductor Serge Koussevitsky (1874–1951), and the US virtuoso Gary Karr. The double bass features in the well-loved “Elephants” solo, No 5 of Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals 1897.
The double bass is tuned in fourths (E1, A1, D2, G2).