Introducing the Baroque Double Bass

Where did the double bass of today come from? Cecelia Bruggemeyer, a double bass player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, introduces its baroque ancestor.

The baroque era - which most of us count as being from 1600 to 1750 - was actually a very transitional time for bass instruments. It was the time when the bass was effectively born, and became part of ensembles on a regular basis.

A major difference between a baroque double bass and a bass of today is its strings. Instead of shiny metal, they look quite a dull brown colour and they're twisted, so they do actually look like a piece of string. This is because they are made of sheep gut. It’s said that that up to 32 sheep could be used to make the lowest string.

Find out more about this remarkable instrument from Bruggemeyer in this video from the OAE.

Introducing the Baroque Double Bass

  

In 1700, in France the double-bass was used for the first time in Paris Opera, where it was used for storms, demons, magicians and choruses
Cecelia Bruggemeyer, of the OAE, on this history of the double-bass

From now until 2023, the OAE is going back to its roots with Six Chapters of Enlightenment, six special seasons exploring the golden age of science and philosophy that gave the Orchestra its name.

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