[Suggestion] Change the default English instrument name "double bass" to "contrabass"

I would prefer it if Violone were an option because that is the most accurate name for the instrument.

Have fun with that. I’m pretty confident that no one will accept Violone as the default name since that is generally meant to be a large, 6 string fretted viol tuned 4ths and a 3rd. Though evolved from that instrument, the current double bass viols used in orchestras are not Violones.

Both Double Bass and Contrabass are generally accepted as is shortening them to DB and CB in parts and scores. I figured this out quickly in my first orchestras back in 1969 and I’ve never heard of the player or student who is confused by this…

Neither will anyone accept the historical precedent of “great dooble bass” as first noted by Orlando Gibbons (generally thought to be a G violone). We’ve moved on.

Great Dooble Bass does sound very cool, though.

1 Like

Sounds like a joke to me.

It is good to know that Double Bass and Contrabass both refer to the pitch of the instrument - which is an octave below the bass.

for me: Vln. 1, Vln. 2, Vla., Vc., Cb.

That’s because it costs many Doobloons to buy one.


You’d think so but not at all.

We know a lot about early music from household accounts. One well known example answers the question about trombones in the first performance of Messiah — it’s not in the score but two players were paid for the performance, probably doubling choral parts but we can only guess.

Anyway, the first reference in English to the contrabass was in such an account where a player was paid for a “great dooble bass” in a work by Gibbons.

Later works by Gibbons include a pair of “Fantazy” (Nos. 2 & 4) ‘for ye great dooble bass’. Imagine putting that in a score nowadays.

Unfortunately, I am retired from playing due to a handicap. I should have sought these pieces out during my playing days.

1 Like