Re: Real controversy
- From: derek@xxxxxxxxx (Derek Tearne)
- Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 12:20:33 +1200
BW <barrybassist@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
The original (uprights, anyway) had three strings. If I'm not mistaken
and remember my music history correctly, Domenico Dragonetti played
Beethoven violin sonatas on a 3 stringer. Not to throw a monkey wrench
into the discussion or anything...
That's not completely correct - which isn't a criticism - it seems
almost impossible to pin down what *is* correct.
Early basses often had 3 strings, but just as often had 5 - depending on
who made them, where and when. I suspect this has to do with whether
the bass in question was made by viola de gamba luthiers or violin
family luthiers - and there seems to be controversy over exactly which
family upright basses fall into (tuned like a gamba, but with the
smaller number of strings and other features from the violin family,
fish or foul?).
It wasn't until the late 19th/early 20th century that basses
'standardised' to four strings - and a lot of older basses that still
exist will have been converted from 3 string basses - apparently these
were particularly popular in germany and eastern europe.
Ironically, four strings tuned in fourths does not allow for enough
notes to play the classical repertoire - so at least some classical
upright bass players have added low C extension gadgets.
I would suggest ttherefore hat the range of the electric bass should at
least reflect that available to classical players - otherwise we're
having notes stolen from us!!
As for electrics, if it sounds good, it is good. Twenty-seven strings,
or one. (Although anything more than 6 is just silly IMO. I've got a
6er with an inch of dust on her.
Indeed - I don't think that more than 6 strings is 'silly' - but I do
feel that instruments with more than 7 strings are something other than
a 'bass' or a 'guitar'. It seems to me that, regardless of the actual
range of the instrument, a 7+ string will be called either a 'bass' or a
'guitar' depending on the bias of the player rather - I think this is
particularly pertinent to the 8 to 13 string instruments - how can you
call something with the range of a grand piano a 'bass' - that's just
nuts. People call them 'basses' because they don't want to think of
themselves as guitar players - but in fact they are full range
instrumentalists - just like pianists.
If I ever acquire such a multistring instrument I'm not going to call it
an [x] string bass, I'm going to call it a ridiculous guitar.
Derek Tearne - derek@xxxxxxxxx
Vitamin S - improvisation from Aotearoa/New Zealand
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