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Baroque violone / double bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Paging all historians out there..Is there a difference between the two? Or was the violone the "grandfather" of today's double bass? I am also interested to hear about the "frets"?, refer image below, and why they existed in the first place and why they got replaced, eventually.


    Regards to all
  2. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    The name violone has been used for number of diferent instruments, first of the viol family. It has also been used for upright basses and in that case there is no difference.
  3. paulunger

    paulunger Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2002
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Your photo looks more like a Viola da Gamba to me. Similar in pitch range to a cello. The Viola da Gamba instrument family predates the Violin family instruments and they were held between the legs and bowed. They were, essentially, guitars turned upright. Hence, the frets, six strings and tuning in 4ths with a 3rd in the middle (same as a guitar).
    The Violone was the largest Viol instrument and corresponded to the pitch range similar to a modern Double Bass. The Violone was the preferred instrument to play the lowest pitches in Germany through the 18th century. The Dittersdorff, Vanhal, Sperger concertos and Mozart's "Per Questo Bella Mano", were written for this instrument, often referred to as the "Viennese Double Bass". There is a website for the Viola da Gamba Society of America that can explain this much better than I can. There's also a website by bassist Jerry Fuller that has great historical information.
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