Double Bass vs Contra Bass

• May 23, 2011 - 03:07

So what is the difference between the Double Bass and the Contra Bass?


Comments

There shouldn't be any difference between the two. Wikipedia quote: "The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass..."
Correct me if I am wrong.

They are indeed the same instrument. Some prefer labeling their scores one way, some prefer the other. General MIDI actually lists both "Contrabass" and "Acoustic Bass" (another synonym) separately, so any soundfont that is General MIDI compliant will have both sounds. Typically, the first will be arco and the second pizzicato (bowed & plucked, respectively).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think this also refers to the so-called genre of music that a composer/arranger/performer might be working in. Musicians who play mostly jazz music, might tend to refer to the instrument as a double bass rather than a contrabass.

Remember that double basses/contrabasses can be fitted with a C-extension to produce even lower notes. See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_bass#C_extension

...thus the usual pitch range can be edited as needs be in the Edit Staff/Part Properties window.

Currently, MuseScore shows lowest note on the instrument for a 'professional' player as C1, but this is not necessarily the case. A professional player could be playing a contrabass without a C-extension .

In reply to by Film Composer

I actually suggested that the bottom ranges on different instruments be identified by using different amateur and professional ranges. My logic is that it will give someone unfamiliar with the instrument that some instruments have the capability to play lower than others. This is also true of the Baritone Saxophone and less commonly to other woodwind instruments.

A stated previously, the professional and amateur ranges are not exact in most cases. I know amateur jazz trumpet players capable of surpassing the to of the professional range. I also know trumpet players capable of surpassing the lower end of the professional range. The ranges use by MuseScore are documented ranges and are a good guide for those who do not know the capability of an instrument or its musicians. If you know that your target musicians can or are expected to exceed the guidelines in MuseScore, then by all means feel free to change them if you don't want green or red notes. I do this often when I transcribe classical music or write my own based upon my knowledge.

In reply to by mike320

If you know that your target musicians can or are expected to exceed the guidelines in MuseScore, then by all means feel free to change them if you don't want green or red notes.

At this level of expertise - as an alternative to changing an instrument's pitch range using Staff Properties - the 'coloring-notes-outside-of-usable-pitch-range' feature can be disabled altogether using: Edit -> Preferences, and then unchecking 'Color notes outside of usable pitch range'.

Worth mentioning here because when applying a mid-staff instrument change, MuseScore does not allow access to the usable pitch range of the mid-staff ('changed to') instrument via Staff Properties.
More info. here:
https://musescore.org/en/node/273407

Regards.

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