I’ve been re-reading Paul Brun’s book, “A New History of the Double Bass” recently, and what has really struck me is that there seems to be a huge difference between bass playing in the past and the type of playing which takes place in modern historically informed playing. I was wondering whether this the experience of other TalkBassists, and whether it concerns anyone else? In London we are fortunate to have quite a few historically-informed bands (e.g. the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, English Baroque Soloists) which are, I think, usually regarded as being at the top of the game. What strikes me from watching them is how similar their playing styles are to modern techniques: usually four-string basses, tuned in 4th (with perhaps a low D or C), no frets, and a larger version of whichever bow the rest of the strings are using. For example, see this picture of the OAE’s principal Chi-chi Nwanoku: This seems a world away from what is described in Brun’s book as happening in the past, in terms of the instruments, techniques and use of the bass in the orchestra. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a period band with more basses than cellos, which apparently was a regular occurance in 17th and 18th Century Italy. Nor have I seen much simplification which was apparently a big aspect of bass playing into the 19th. Or even just the distribution of basses around the rest of the orchestra with the principle bass and ’cello on the same stand, at the front with the conductor / keyboard player. I suppose many of these techniques might seem unattractive today, particularly late-19th Century English playing, involving Dragonetti bows, fisticuffs, and three-string basses. However, considering some composers such as Elgar seem to have had this specifically in mind, I am surprised that I have never seen it properly explored in concert in the UK. There has been a bit of revival in recent years of the Viennesse technique; I just wonder whether the less fashionable historic styles might be brought back too?